Photo Courtesy of Erik Cumley
By Erik Cumley
Winter sports are coming to an end as Concordia University men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling head into the postseason.
Men’s and women’s basketball finished their regular season with wins against Doane University, the men won 84-63 and the women won 98-57. Wrestling finished the regular season at the Sioux City Dave Edmonds Open.
Men’s basketball’s postseason started with the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament where they lost to Dakota Wesleyan University 70-58, ending their season.
“Our team motto was ‘Win the Day’ and not taking any day of practice or game for granted. I really felt like we lived up to this motto and this season will be one that none of us will ever forget,” Coach Ben Libmback said.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Tournament’s opening round will start on March 12 with the championship game on March 23. The men’s regular season record finished at 17-9, 14-6 in GPAC.
The women’s basketball team started their GPAC tournament with a 78-50 win against Dakota Wesleyan. The women’s team would go on to beat Northwestern University 83-70, but would lose to Morningside College in the GPAC championship 67-65. Concordia will still play in the NAIA National Tournament.
Coach Drew Olson is happy with the season and how it has gone and said the Bulldogs have gained a lot of confidence this season.
“It’s been a great season so far. I am really proud of the development of our players and the team’s improvement,” Olson said. “Our team has really gained a lot of confidence throughout the year. I am proud of them for finding our identity and embracing it. This is because of their willingness to sacrifice for the team.”
The women’s national tournament will begin on March 12. The Bulldogs are ranked 17th in the nation and second in GPAC.
The NAIA basketball tournament will follow strict protocols due to the virus COVID-19. The host of each game is allowed to fill 20% capacity for each game. Spectators are required to wear masks and social distance.Temperature checks will be required upon entry for all game-day spectators. All other participants including players, coaches, support staff, officials and trainers are required to be screened for temperature checks within six hours of the contest.
Concordia’s wrestling postseason started at the GPAC tournament in Fremont, where the team took sixth and qualified three wrestlers for the national tournament. Senior Gabe Crawford took second place in the GPAC tournament at the weight class 165, this secured his spot for the NAIA tournament. Freshman Jacob Telles also secured his spot for the NAIA tournament by taking first place in the 285-weight class. Junior Mario Ybarra made the national tournament by coaches vote as an at-large qualifier for the weight class 133. Ybarra is ranked sixth in the tournament, while Telles is ranked twelfth.
Coach Levi Calhoun was happy to have had a complete season.
“The fact that we were able to have a full season like we did means that it has gone very well,” Calhoun said. “We have been truly blessed.”
Ybarra and Crawford have been great mentors for Telles. Throughout the year they have helped his nerves.
“Being around those two veterans has helped Jacobs mentally, Calhoun said “Gabe and Mario are so calm, focused, and meticulous about everything they do. Being in that type of environment will help Jacob to calm his nerves and focus on what he needs to do.
The NAIA National Tournament begins March 5-6.The NAIA will not allow spectators at the national wrestling tournament.