SEWARD, Neb. – After opening its 2015-16 season three days ago at the Grand View University Open, the eighth-ranked Concordia University wrestling team is ready to make its home debut. The Bulldogs will welcome No. 11 York College to Walz Arena on Tuesday (Nov. 10) for a matchup set to get underway at 7 p.m.
Fourth-year head coach Dana Vote’s program is coming off a GPAC and NAIA North Qualifying Group championship season. All four of the team’s All-Americans from the 2015 NAIA National Championships return this season and each may find their way into the dual lineup against the in-state Panthers. Nine Bulldogs bring national rankings into the contest.
At the Grand View Open, fourth-ranked 197-pounder Ken Burkhardt Jr. won six of seven matches and recorded four pins on his way to a third-place finish. Burkhardt Jr. was one of three third-place finishers and one of seven top-six finishers for the Bulldogs at the season-opening event. A total of 24 wrestlers represented Concordia with 18 of them registering at least one victory.
In last season’s dual action, the Bulldogs went 9-4 overall and 7-0 in GPAC action. Concordia outscored conference opponents by a combined total of 242-59 over those seven duals. In their most recent meeting with York, the Bulldogs dropped a 20-19 decision on Dec. 5, 2013.
Ranked Concordia wrestlers
125 – Dmitri Smith (2-2) – GPAC: 3rd | NAIA: 14th
125 – Ignace Hakizimana (1-2) – GPAC: 4th | NAIA: 16th
133 – Kodie Cole (1-2) – GPAC: 1st | NAIA: 4th
141 – Foster Bunce (0-0) – GPAC: 2nd | NAIA: 9th
149 – Andrew Schulte (2-2) – GPAC: 1st | NAIA: 5th
157 – Jr Lule (3-2) – GPAC: 2nd | NAIA: 12th
165 – Tommy Bailey (3-3) – GPAC: 3rd | NAIA: T-16th
165 – Austin Starkey (0-0) – GPAC: 6th
174 – Josh Nelsen (3-2) – GPAC: 5th
197 – Ken Burkhardt Jr. (6-1) – GPAC: 1st | NAIA: 4th
285 – Ceron Francisco (2-3) – GPAC: 1st | NAIA: 4th
York, coached by Ramon Diaz, also opened its season over the weekend. Both Robert Ozuna (125) and Jack Murphy (197) won individual titles at the Bethany College Swede Open on Nov. 7. A pair of other Panthers also made fourth-place claims. Diaz’s squad possesses six nationally-ranked grapplers. As a team, York is ranked second in the NAIA’s South Group.
Ranked York wrestlers
125 – Oscar Marin – South: 1st | NAIA: 4th
125 – Robert Ozuna – South: 5th
141 – Joshua Lopez – South: 2nd | NAIA: 8th
141 – Justin Dyer – South: 3rd
149 – Willie Fox – South: 1st | NAIA: 6th
149 – Jimenez Lupe – South: 4th
157 – Chrystian Banuelos – South: 2nd | NAIA: 7th
184 – Bryan Ayala – South: 6th
197 – Jack Murphy – South: 2nd | NAIA: 11th
285 – Jeffery Albers – South: 1st | NAIA: 12th
Concordia will host three more varsity duals this season. The Nov. 18 dual with Wayne State College is junior varsity only.
Remaining home varsity duals: Jan. 21 vs. Doane, Feb. 3 vs. Bethany College (Kan.) and Feb. 11 vs. Morningside.