Photo Courtesy of Lyric Allen
By Elisha Meyer
Concordia wrestling ended its first Vegas trip since 2014 with an even 2-2 dual record on Sunday.
The Bulldogs traveled to compete in the Desert Duals for the first time in five years, bringing in a perfect dual record of 3-0. All three dual wins have come within the heavily packed GPAC conference. The Bulldogs even boasted a 54-(-1) dismantling of Midland University, its biggest margin of victory in a conference dual since November 9 of 2018.
Concordia had trouble waking up for the eight-o-clock starting time of its first match, falling behind 15-0 early to Vanguard University as a result of two falls and a majority. After splitting the next four matches, the Bulldogs would need to win out to have any chance of victory. A majority win from Jason Watkins and a forfeit victory from Darrin Miller brought the match to within six. Michael Stann finished off the comeback with a victory by fall to tie the match at 21-21 and ultimately give the Bulldogs the win 22-21 based off tiebreaker criteria.
Concordia unfortunately ran into the wall that was ninth ranked Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for its second dual. This was the first ranked opponent the Bulldogs had faced all year. The Bulldogs split the first four matches of the dual, including victories from Zachary Moistner and Chris Kimball. The Eagles took control from then on out, winning five of its last six matches. The dual ended on a good note with another victory for Stann, but it was too little, too late in the 25-12 losing effort.
The Bulldogs would face another early deficit against its third opponent of the day, Life Pacific University. Fortunately, the Bulldogs quickly took control, winning seven of ten matches and five of the last six. While three of those victories were the result of forfeits, Bulldog wrestlers delivered at key points in the match. This included an opening major decision win for Mario Ybarra and a fall victory for Issiah Burks, leading to a 31-17 final score in favor of Concordia.
The Bulldogs looked to finish with a winning record in its final dual of the day verses Arizona Christian University. Two fall victories for Burks and DeAndre brought the Bulldogs to a 21-10 lead with three matches to go. Unfortunately, in the same way Concordia won the first match, they lost its last match. With no tiebreaker to fall back on, Arizona Christian University brought home the stunning 22-21 victory.
Concordia will enter Christmas break with a 5-2 dual record, and will host its next matchup against Ottawa University on January 9.