Seven Bulldogs place in season-opening tournament

By on Nov. 8, 2015 in Wrestling

PLEASANT Hill, Iowa – The defending GPAC and NAIA North champions opened up their 2015-16 season at the Grand View University Open with a combined 41 wins in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, on Saturday. Junior Ken Burkhardt Jr. and freshman Alexander Reimers both turned in third-place finishes in their respective brackets to highlight the efforts of the eighth-ranked Bulldogs, who had seven individuals earn top-six placements.

“It was a tough tournament and really let us know where we are at,” said fourth-year head coach Dana Vote. “I saw a lot of good things out of the freshmen. Tommy Bailey showed a lot of improvement from last year. The biggest thing I saw is we just need to be a little tougher. Overall with the level of competition it wasn’t a bad day for us having seven placers. Where we are as a program, we just expect more.”

Burkhardt Jr., a returning NAIA All-American, capped his day by pinning 10th-ranked Derrick Hawkins of Grand View University in 1:03. The native of Milford, Neb., recorded four wins via fall and triumphed in his final four bouts after dropping a 16-9 decision to Grand View’s Johnathen Dennis in the 197-pound quarterfinal match. Burkhardt Jr. improved to 60-37 overall in three seasons as a collegiate wrestler.

Reimers, a Seward native and product of Aquinas Catholic High School, won five of six matches at the Grand View Open. The former Nebraska state champion won his 197-pound battle by major decision, 8-0, over Jones Kendrick of Iowa Central Community College. Reimers also recorded three pins, including one of Grand View’s Ethan Leighton to advance to the final of the consolation bracket.

Four Bulldogs collected exactly three wins apiece: junior Tommy Bailey (165), freshman Travian Cooke (174), junior Jr Lule (157) and freshman Josh Nelson (174). Cooke placed third, taking a 2-1 win over Nelson (fourth place) in a matchup of teammates at 174 pounds. Another freshman, Demitrius Miller, finished fourth at 184 pounds. Meanwhile, Bailey and heavyweight Ceron Francisco both posted sixth-place claims.

Vote traveled 24 grapplers to Pleasant Hill. Thirteen of them made their Bulldog debuts on Saturday. Of the 24, 18 notched at least one win amidst a field of wrestlers that included representatives from NCAA Division I programs. Concordia was one of four GPAC members to send wrestlers to the Grand View Open.

The Bulldogs will host a dual for the first time in 2015-16 when No. 11 York College visits Walz Arena on Tuesday. Action will get underway at 7 p.m. The dual has been designated as Military Appreciation Night. Military personnel who present an ID will be admitted free of charge.