SEWARD, Neb. – Having already clinched at least a share of the GPAC title, the sixth-ranked Concordia University wrestling team can wrap up a perfect conference dual season and a spot alone atop the league standings with a win over Hastings. Head coach Dana Vote’s squad welcomes the Broncos (5-9, 3-3 GPAC) at 7 p.m. on Thursday for the final dual of the 2014-15 season. The contest will take place in the PE Gymnasium on the Concordia campus.
A live webcast of the dual will be available via the Concordia Sports Network. (Click on channel two).
Last week the Bulldogs remained unbeaten in conference action by thumping Briar Cliff, 29-6, in a matchup of teams that entered the dual with identical 5-0 GPAC records. The match was a continuation of Concordia’s domination inside the conference. The Bulldogs have won each of their six GPAC duals by 10 points or more and have come out on top in 44 of the 60 individual bouts. Vote’s squad has put a halt to significant GPAC win streaks for both Morningside (31) and Briar Cliff (6).
Since wrestling in his first match of the season on Dec. 10, sophomore Kodie Cole has made a big impact for the Bulldogs. Over the weekend, the native of Palmdale, Calif., claimed the 133-pound title by going 4-0 with a trio of pins. He owns an active seven-match win streak that includes five pins.
The top-ranked team in the NAIA’s North Qualifying Group, Concordia possesses six wrestlers with 20 or more victories: Ken Burkhardt Jr. (25-14), Ceron Francisco (24-12), Emilio Rivera (23-7), Enrique Barajas (20-8), DJ McIntyre (20-12) and Austin Starkey (20-14). Burkhardt Jr. leads the way with nine pins. McIntire has claimed seven wins via fall.
Concordia’s impressive rise in 2014-15 is reflected in the latest NAIA rankings released on Wednesday. Ten Bulldogs are ranked individually and Concordia’s team rating of No. 6 equals the highest national placement in program history. Andrew Schulte, No. 1 in the North at 141, has climbed to No. 3 in the NAIA in his weight class. Complete rankings can be viewed HERE.
Meanwhile, Hastings sports a 3-3 conference mark. The Broncos own wins over Doane (27-15), Dakota Wesleyan (33-19) and Midland (24-21). Their GPAC losses have come at the hands of Morningside (29-12), Briar Cliff (29-12) and Northwestern (28-21). No Hastings grapplers appear in the national rankings.
In last year’s meeting in Hastings, the Broncos won five of nine bouts (125 open for both teams) en route to a 21-12 win over the Bulldogs. Concordia got wins from Cole (D, 7-3), Barajas (D, 5-3), Tommy Bailey (D, 8-6) and Francisco (D, 12-8).
Concordia probable lineup
125 – No. 14 Dmitri Smith (10-11)
133 – No. 4 Emilio Rivera (23-7)
141 – No. 3 Andrew Schulte (12-2)
149 – No. 7 Enrique Barajas (20-8) / No. 10 Jr Lule (10-5)
157 – Austin Starkey (20-14)
165 – Tommy Bailey (8-14)
174 – Open
184 – No. 11 Austin Fehlhafer (11-8)
197 – No. 8 Ken Burkhardt Jr. (25-14)
285 – No. 13 DJ McIntyre (20-12)
Hastings probable lineup
125 – Devin Ushio (9-16)
133 – Trey Trujillo (7-5) / Aaron Tarin (3-9)
141 – Alec Chanthapatheth (11-9) / Alex Tarin (6-20)
149 – Connor Blanco (15-12)
157 – Open
165 – Caleb Holt (2-20)
174 – Steadman Wang (6-7)
184 – Nate Westerby (1-2) / Coleman Westerby (1-10)
197 – Joel Hernandez (9-7)
285 – Pedro Garcia (6-20)