SEWARD, Neb. – Junior Mario Ybarra put together a sparkling day near the top of the lineup while starring for the Concordia University Wrestling program, which hosted the Concordia Bulldog Duals on Saturday (Dec. 19). The action took place inside Friedrich Arena and featured eight NAIA teams squaring off in 16 total duals. The Bulldogs earned a 27-24 victory over Oklahoma Wesleyan University to open up the day.
Third-year Head Coach Levi Calhoun’s squad went 1-3 at the Bulldog Duals with the losses coming at the hands of Arizona Christian University, 27-14, No. 15 Montana State University-Northern (MSUN), 41-3, and Texas Wesleyan University, 39-6. Concordia now sports an overall dual record of 3-5 on the season.
Ranked fourth in the NAIA at 133 pounds, Ybarra backed up his lofty rating on Saturday. After a forfeit victory in the morning dual, Ybarra proceeded to defeat Arizona Christian’s Bryce Bernard (major decision), MSUN’s Carl Cronin (decision) and Texas Wesleyan’s Jacob Garcia (pin). Ybarra (12-1) has won 12-straight matches since a loss to begin the 2020-21 campaign.
The Scottsbluff, Neb., native has been on a mission to reach the podium come March. Said Ybarra, “I try not to get too caught up in the win streak and the record and everything. My dad’s really helped me with my mentality. He always says, ‘wrestle the match, not the name.’ It doesn’t matter who you are wrestling, stay true to you. There have been some close ones, but I know I’m always in the match. I feel comfortable and confident even when it’s a close scoring match.”
In the win over Oklahoma Wesleyan, freshmen Jeaven Scdoris (pin at 149), Mason Garcia (decision at 197) and Jacob Telles (pin at 285) each claimed contested victories. Newly minted as the 16th-ranked heavyweight in the NAIA, Telles produced the triumph with bonus points the Bulldog needed to secure the team win. Concordia was spotted 12 points off the bat with two Eagles forfeits.
Telles (18-5) captured wins in two of three matches on Saturday and continues to perform at an exceptional level for a collegiate rookie. The Albuquerque, N.M., native competed in front of his parents this weekend. Telles was one of six freshmen in Saturday’s youthful lineup. The Bulldogs were weakened by the absences of veteran standouts in junior Issiah Burks (reigning GPAC Wrestler of the Week) and senior Gabe Crawford.
In the loss to Arizona Christian, Scdoris (decision at 149), sophomore Tavoris Smith (major decision at 165) and Telles (decision at 285) picked up individual wins. In particular, Smith’s attacking style stood out in a performance that saw him put 18 points on the board. Ybarra and company know there will continue to be growing pains.
Said Ybarra, “It’s a lot of mentality, I feel like. I’m in the room with them all the time. We have the work ethic for sure. It’s another level when you come out here to compete and step on that mat. It’s a lot of growing as a team. We’re never comfortable with where we’re at. There’s a lot to be discussed for sure as a team. They’re giving the effort, but there’s a lot to be improved on.”
Three NAIA top-rated wrestlers were on display at the Bulldog Duals: Doane’s Baagii Boldmaa (141) and MSUN’s Nick Kunz (125) and Isaac Bartel (197). MSUN went 4-0 as a team. Its run included a squeaker, 22-21, over Doane.
Concordia is finished for the calendar year 2020. The Bulldogs are slated to resume action after New Year’s with the Hastings College Cusatis Open on Jan. 9. As Ybarra noted, the team is looking forward to having Coach Calhoun back in the room. Calhoun had spent time away from the team due to the loss of his mother.
The Concordia Bulldog Duals represented the largest collegiate wrestling event on campus since the program hosted the GPAC Championships in 2016. Concordia won the conference title that season in front of the home fans.
Concordia Bulldog Duals Team Scores
1 – Concordia 27, Oklahoma Wesleyan 24
2 – Doane 31, Arizona Christian 15
3 – Montana State-Northern 26, Morningside 18
4 – Texas Wesleyan 34, Williams Baptist 12
5 – Arizona Christian 27, Concordia 14
6 – Montana State-Northern 22, Doane 21
7 – Morningside 36, Texas Wesleyan 12
8 – Williams Baptist 30, Oklahoma Wesleyan 27
9 – Montana State-Northern 41, Concordia 3
10 – Doane 27, Texas Wesleyan 16
11 – Morningside 47, Oklahoma Wesleyan 6
12 – Arizona Christian 39, Williams Baptist 9
13 – Texas Wesleyan 39, Concordia 6
14 – Doane 38, Williams Baptist 10
15 – Morningside 21, Arizona Christian 18
16 – Montana State-Northern 47, Oklahoma Wesleyan 6