Rivera rides undefeated conference mark to GPAC Wrestler of the Year honors

By on Feb. 26, 2014 in Wrestling

Rivera rides undefeated conference mark to GPAC Wrestler of the Year honors

GPAC Release

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s safe to say junior Emilio Rivera made a significant impact in his first season as a Bulldog. On Wednesday the 133-pound North qualifying group champion received Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Wrestler of the Year honors, beating out a group of seven other conference wrestlers that also captured regional titles.

“Emilio has done a great job transitioning from junior college to NAIA,” head coach Dana Vote said. “I cannot speak enough about Emilio he has turned himself into a dominant wrestler in the GPAC. Emilio winning this award is huge for him and the program both.”

Rivera, a transfer from Palomar College (Calif.), really hit his stride late in the season, putting together a 10-match winning streak that he will carry with him to the national championships. He was especially dominant against GPAC opponents, owning them to the tune of an 11-0 mark.

On the season, Rivera stands at 22-6 overall and 8-1 in dual meets with six total pins. Not only has he taken care of business against unranked foes, he has twice defeated Dakota Wesleyan’s ninth-ranked 133-pounder in Richard Rios and he dismantled Midland’s Josh Heinzer, the North’s 125-pound champion, by a 10-1 major decision in a dual on Jan. 30.

A native of Escondido, Calif., Rivera has not lost since Dec. 21 at the Desert Duals in Las Vegas, Nev., where one of his two losses to NAIA opponents came. Against wrestlers from the NAIA only, Rivera is 18-2.

Rivera played a huge role in the transformation of Concordia wrestling. The Bulldogs have gone from a last-place North regional finish, 1-5 GPAC dual record and no national qualifiers last season to a runner-up North finish, 5-2 GPAC mark and five national qualifiers in 2013-14.

“Last year we didn’t have one wrestler receive a conference award and now we have multiple guys receiving awards,” Vote said. “I am so proud of Emilio and the whole team for the hard work they have put into the program.”

Rivera (22-6): 2013-14 match-by-match

Ronald Wells (Colby CC) W-D 4-1 (1-0)

Trey Trujillo (Nebraska-Kearney) L-D 7-3 (1-1)

Alex Calderon (Wayne State) W-Pin 5:47 (1) (2-1)

Sergio Sanchez (York) W-D 5-3 (3-1)

Brandon Brown (York) W-D 6-3 (4-1)

Kodie Cole (Concordia) W-D 3-2 (5-1)

Aspen Kmiec (Midland) W-Pin 2:30 (2) (6-1)

Ronald Wells (Colby CC) W-D 6-3 (7-1)

Geoffrey Alexander (Maryland) L-Pin 1:39 (7-2)

Matthew Katusin (Lindenwood) L-Pin 1:39 (7-3)

Carlos Barreda (Buena Vista) W-Pin 3:37 (3) (8-3)

Brandon Brown (York) W-MD 19-5 (9-3)

Nicholas Drenth (Morningside) W-MD 12-4 (10-3)

Eric Franklin (Ellsworth CC) L-D 7-5 (10-4)

Tyler Hatch (Northwestern) W-MD 15-2 (11-4)

Andrew Clark (Grand View) L-Pin 2:32 (11-5)

Carter Tegeler (Morningside) W-D 8-5 (12-5)

Juan Zorrilla (Menlo) L-D 12-10 (12-6)

Jared Berlinger (Great Falls) W-D 9-4 (13-6)

Shawn Miller (Briar Cliff) W-Pin 4:29 (4) (14-6)

Derrick Hoffman (Doane) W-Pin 4:14 (5) (15-6)

Joshua Heinzer (Midland) W-MD 10-1 (16-6)

Richard Rios (Dakota Wesleyan) W-D 5-2 (17-6)

Tyler Hatch (Northwestern) W-TF 15-0 (18-6)

Matt Chambers (Dickinson State) W-Pin 1:02 (6) (19-6)

Richard Ortiz (Northwestern) W-MD 8-0 (20-6)

Raymond McQueen (Waldorf) W-D 7-4 (21-6)

Richard Rios (Dakota Wesleyan) W-D 6-3 (22-6)