Photo Courtesy of Lyric Allen
By Elisha Meyer
Concordia University won five of its first six matches and seven of ten, including two big upsets, to stay undefeated at home against the Ottawa University Braves 24-15.
Both squads entered the dual as the respective leaders of their conference. The Braves are tied for first in the Kansas Collegiate Athletics Conference with Saint Mary University, boasting a record of 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the KCAC. Concordia, ranked 18th nationally, is also undefeated in conference play and tied for first with Briar Cliff University.
The only ranked match of the evening took place in the 184 weight class between 16th-ranked Darrin Miller and 14th-ranked Santino Gee. Only two scores were recorded throughout the match, but Darrin Miller managed to score bigger. A third-round takedown was all he would need in the 2-1 victory.
Highlighting the night were two major upsets for Concordia. First was Gabriel Crawford, who was all smiles after upsetting tenth-ranked Ryan Delforge in a thrilling comeback effort. Needing an escape to stay in the match, Crawford exploded from the mat to score a reversal. Crawford then completed the comeback with a near fall, holding on for dear life as the seconds ticked off the clock.
“Super proud of his resiliancy, you know,” coach Calhoun said. “When you’re down, it can be tough sometimes.”
The heavyweight matchup, the last match of the night, consisted of upset number two for the Bulldogs. Tanner Farmer would be tasked with preserving a 21-15 Bulldog lead. Farmer was also guaranteed a match with a ranked opponent, as both 20th-ranked Lex Plummer and 16th-ranked Dalton Sikes were listed as options for the matchup. Farmer faced a scenario similar to Crawford. A third-round takedown would give him a 3-2 lead, as he too held on for the last few seconds to clinch the victory for himself and his team.
“Same thing with Tanner,” Calhoun said. “Got taken down early, battled back, stayed after him, and got a good win.”
Despite the match coming down to the wire thanks to a Braves pinfall victory in the 197 class for Jason Watkins, Concordia made things difficult on the Braves all night, winning five of its first six matches and seven of ten overall. Other wrestlers coming away with wins on the night for Concordia was Giencarlo Facio (125), Zach Moistner (141), Cameron Devers (149), Issiah Burks (157), and Darrin Miller (184).
Concordia will get ready to re-enter play against conference opponents for the first time since December 13 against Midland University. Coach Calhoun said that his wrestlers need to continue to focus on the little things.
“We got to get better at the little things, stay in good position, and not give up bonus points,” coach Calhoun said.
Both Concordia and Ottawa will wrestle again this Saturday at the Hastings College Cusaits Open in Hastings, NE.