Three grapplers set to represent the Bulldogs at nationals

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 27, 2018 in Wrestling

NAIA wrestling info | Preliminary brackets

SEWARD, Neb. – Three Bulldogs will make their first-ever appearances at the NAIA Wrestling National Championships. Concordia will be represented on the national stage by Giovanni Castillo (125), Deandre Chery (174) and Chris Kimball (141). Each one earned automatic berths to the championship event via their performances at the GPAC championships on Feb. 17.

The 61st annual NAIA Wrestling National Championships will unfold on Friday and Saturday (March 2-3) inside the Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Action will begin at 10 a.m. CST on Friday. The national tournament was held in Topeka, Kan., in each of the previous four years. The 2018 national qualifying field includes 240 individuals from 43 different institutions.

Second-year head coach Andrew Nicola’s squad is coming off a 15th-place national championships finish in 2017 when heavyweight Ceron Francisco placed as the national runner up and 197-pounder Ken Burkhardt Jr. claimed the third All-America award of his career. The Bulldogs have placed inside the top 15 nationally in three-straight years having also taken eighth place in 2016 and 12th place in 2015. The No. 8 finish remains the best in school history.

For details on how to live stream the national championships, click HERE. Saturday’s national title matches will be shown live on Live results will be available via

133 – Giovanni Castillo (11-4) | Sr. | Ontario, Calif.

  • First match at nationals vs. Jordan Pitt, Reinhardt (Ga.) (11-9)
  • Won 133-pound GPAC title
  • First Team All-GPAC
  • Only one loss to an NAIA opponent
  • Career record of 16-6 at Concordia

141 – Chris Kimball (16-17) | Jr. | San Marcos, Calif.

  • First match at nationals vs. Gaige Torres, Indiana Tech (28-7)
  • Placed third in the GPAC at 141 pounds
  • Transfer from Palomar College

174 – Deandre Chery (24-13) | So. | Miami Gardens, Fla.

  • First match at nationals vs. Cody Carson, Missouri Valley (13-5) / Jeremiah Reed, Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) (26-11)
  • Won 174-pound GPAC title
  • Leads Concordia with 13 pins this season
  • Career record of 36-25 (22 pins) as a Bulldog

Concordia all-time All-Americans

Ken Burkhardt Jr. (2015, 2016, 2017)
Kodie Cole (2015, 2016)
Ceron Francisco (2015, ^2017)
Adam Joseph (2012)
Austin Mogg (2014)
Andrew Schulte (2015, *2016)
Julian Silva (2012)
Jacob Williams (2012)
*National champion | ^National runner up