21st annual Cattle Classic to tip off Friday: The Cattle Classic will be played as scheduled this season with the 21st annual event set to unfold Friday and Saturday (Nov. 6-7) with four games both days inside Walz Arena. The event, co-sponsored by Concordia and Cattle Bank & Trust, raises money and food for the Blue Valley Community Action’s Food Pantry. Pac N Save of Seward will match all canned food donations. For more information on the Cattle Classic, including the complete schedule, please click HERE.
Fall GPAC championships update: As a reminder, GPAC postseason tournaments for the sports of men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball have been postponed until the spring 2021 semester (dates to be announced). That means that those sports will be finished with fall competition as soon as their regular seasons are complete. The postponement did not affect GPAC championships for cross country, football or golf. The GPAC Cross Country Championship is coming up Nov. 7 while golf has already completed its fall conference rounds. On the other hand, the GPAC title for football is decided solely by the regular season.
Women’s Basketball opens up 2020-21 season at Cattle Classic: The wait to open the 2020-21 season will end at the Cattle Classic for Head Coach Drew Olson’s women’s basketball program. The Bulldogs enter the new campaign ranked 11th in the NAIA preseason poll (second in the GPAC poll). A new-look roster will be led by the likes of Taylor Cockerill and Mackenzie Koepke. Concordia will also unleash a strong group of newcomers. The schedule for the Cattle Classic is linked above. The regular-season slate includes 25 games (22 GPAC contests).
João’s leap of faith rewarded with rich Concordia relationships: What a difference a few years makes. João Pedro Veríssimo can smile now as he reflects on the journey from Nova Mutum, Brazil, to Seward, Nebraska. Sight unseen, Pedro Veríssimo gave his pledge to Concordia University, located in a state he had never been, inside of a country he had never stepped foot in. Admitted João of his feelings then, “I don’t know where I’m going or how it’s going to be.” João has gotten comfortable in his surroundings and is a respected leader for Concordia Men’s Soccer. For more on João, click HERE.
HomeTown Ticketing and Fan protocols for home events: Fans who plan to attend Concordia Athletics home events are advised to read through our protocols HERE. All fans are expected to self-screen and are required to wear masks while viewing contests in either Bulldog Stadium or Walz Arena. Non-family members are welcome to be present on our campus during these contests. Fans are also encouraged to order advance tickets through HomeTown Ticketing. By purchasing tickets online, fans are guaranteed entrance on game days. Concordia is allowing 75 percent capacity in outdoor venues and 50 percent capacity in indoor venues.
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fifth year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the Max Country app. Throughout the 2020-21 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Evan Jones serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is in his sixth season calling Concordia volleyball.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs at game time. Beginning in 2019-20, Concordia Athletics partnered with PrestoSports for live video and statistical streaming. For more details on this change, click HERE. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
- The win streak has reached five as the Bulldogs have finished their regular-season home slate. In last week’s action, Concordia defeated College of Saint Mary (Oct. 28) and Doane (Oct. 29) in straight sets while earning regular-season sweeps of both opponents. The Bulldogs had this past weekend off. It came after a period that saw them host four matches in a seven-day stretch. Third-year Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad has moved to 12-3 in the GPAC, putting it in third place behind Jamestown (11-0 GPAC) and Northwestern (11-2 GPAC). For more information on Concordia Volleyball, click HERE.
- For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs will finish in the top three of the final GPAC regular-season standings. The two wins last week guaranteed that Concordia could do no worse than the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. That means the Bulldogs are certain to host a match in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals (which will take place in the spring semester). When Concordia placed third in the GPAC in 2019, it marked the program’s best conference finish since a second-place claim in 2001. The program remains in search of its first GPAC title since 2000.
- This week the Bulldogs will have the opportunity to achieve something that has not been done by the program in the era of 16-match conference regular seasons (2002-present). Concordia has never gone unbeaten against its Nebraska GPAC rivals during that timeframe. Currently, the Bulldogs are 7-0 against in-state foes having earned season sweeps of Midland, College of Saint Mary and Doane. Concordia now hopes to do the same versus Hastings, a team it defeated at home in three sets on Sept. 19.
- A victory tonight (Nov. 3) would also give the Bulldogs a new program record for most conference wins in a season with 13. That total would eclipse the standard set by the 2015 national tournament team that went 12-4 within the GPAC. Concordia has had other recent double-figure GPAC win totals in 2014 (10-6) and 2019 (11-5). A member of the ’14 and ’15 teams happened to be inside Walz Arena last week. Alum Claire White now serves as a graduate assistant for the Doane volleyball program.
- The word “balance” has become like broken record for this team. From an attacking perspective, senior Kara Stark led the way with 19 kills over last week’s two victories. Four other Bulldogs had 14 or more kills: Arleigh Costello (17), Gabi Nordaker (16), Camryn Opfer (14) and Kalee Wiltfong (14). Each of the five aforementioned players have more than 115 kills on the season. Their totals are: Nordaker with 135, Stark with 133, Costello with 126, Opfer with 122 and Wiltfong with 116. The highest hitting percentage belongs to Wiltfong (.323).
- It did not take Ben Boldt long to reach the 50-win mark as head coach at Concordia. He is now 52-23 (.693) overall since taking over the program prior to the 2018 campaign. That winning percentage is the highest among head coaches in school history with at least 50 victories. The 25 wins posted by the 2019 squad were the second most for the program during the GPAC era. Current Concordia professor Vicki Boye (167-136) remains the program’s all-time winningest head coach. Next on the list is Rachel Miller (107 wins), a former All-American player for the Bulldogs.
- Concordia continues to own a large advantage in service. In the matchup with College of Saint Mary, the Bulldogs had seven aces compared to four errors while the Flames had no aces compared to three errors. The next evening, Concordia registered eight aces and six errors as Doane notched two aces and five errors. For the season, the Bulldogs have accumulated 108 aces (88 errors) while their opponents have just 43 aces (100 errors). Concordia ranks 17th nationally with 2.16 aces per set.
- A number of Bulldogs rank in the top five on the GPAC individual leaderboards, including Tristin Mason (first in aces per set), Marissa Hoerman (third in aces per set), Tara Callahan (third in aces per set), Nordaker (third in blocks per set) and Wiltfong (fifth in hitting percentage). Callahan ranks fifth nationally in assists per set (11.04). As a team, the Bulldogs lead the GPAC in assists per set (2.2) by a wide margin. The next closest is Midland (1.5).
- The GPAC regular season for Concordia was slated to end tonight (Nov. 3) at Hastings, but that match has been postponed. A makeup date has not yet been determined. Once that match is in the books, the Bulldogs will look ahead to competing in the spring 2021 semester when both the conference and national tournaments will be held.
- The schedule has been ravaged by a series of recent postponements, but the Bulldogs managed to play last Wednesday (Oct. 28) and did not miss a beat. In its first action in more than 10 days, Concordia enjoyed an offensive outburst in blowing out Doane, 7-0. Head Coach Thomas Goines’ squad pushed its win streak to four and now stands at 7-3 overall (7-2 GPAC). The conference race is complicated due to the varying number of league games played. Briar Cliff (6-0-1 GPAC) and Morningside (5-1-1 GPAC) may be in the best shape based on having the fewest number of losses. For more information on Concordia Women’s Soccer, click HERE.
- Based on their sixth-place finish last season, the Bulldogs entered this season off the radar in terms of outsider expectations. However, the league has proven to be wide open. The Bulldogs became a serious conference title contender when they knocked off perennial league power Hastings, 1-0, on Oct. 17. The current win streak also includes triumphs over Jamestown, College of Saint Mary and Doane. Concordia began the conference season with three-straight wins.
- Perhaps the play of the Bulldogs should not be such a surprise. Since the start of the 2014 season, the program has a combined GPAC regular-season record of 51-13-10. Concordia’s respective conference place finishes during that stretch have been sixth, third, first, third, third and second. Prior to last season, the Bulldogs had appeared in the GPAC championship game in five-straight years (tournament titles in 2014 and 2016). Concordia also made some national waves by ranking as high as 16th in the NAIA poll in 2016.
- The Bulldogs were certainly a favorite at home against Doane, but it would have seemed like a stretch to predict seven Concordia goals. The Tigers had just earned a GPAC Defensive Player of the Week award after draws with Midland and Dordt. An own goal in the 13th minute opened up the floodgates. The subsequent goals were supplied by Ellie Eason (17’), Jaiden Beecher (34’), Madeline Haugen (59’ and 62’), Aliyah Aldama (78’) and Jennika Chapman (82’). It made for Doane’s most lopsided defeat this season.
- The goal scoring has been accomplished by committee this season. While the Bulldogs have struggled at times to put the ball in the back of the net, their 26 goals in 2020 have well surpassed their total of 19 (in 19 games) from 2019. Thirteen different Concordia players have contributed at least one goal to that figure. Mikeila Martinez paces the squad with four goals while Chapman has collected three. Nearly half of the Bulldog goal count came in the 12-0 win at Mount Marty.
- It’s fair to say that Concordia is really more of a defensive minded squad that has leaned on stellar veterans like junior center back Cheyenne Smith and senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carley. The Bulldogs have shut out three-straight opponents and now have six clean sheets this fall. Among GPAC teams, Concordia ranks third in terms of fewest goals allowed per game (0.6) behind Briar Cliff (0.25) and Morningside (0.25). The Bulldogs have conceded six goals on the season with three of them coming in a single outing (3-0 loss at Morningside). Carley has 21 career shutouts to her credit.
- Consider this your weekly update on Tori Cera. The senior’s minutes continue to go up as she gets acclimated to game action once again. The Las Vegas native made her season debut in the win over Hastings and then started last week’s victory versus Doane. Cera solidifies the midfield and provides another weapon on the attack (14 career goals). Cera’s return also lends reality to Concordia’s hopes remaining in the GPAC title race until the very end.
- If the Bulldogs have two more wins by this time next week, things will really get serious. Concordia faces a stiff challenge on Wednesday when it will be at defending GPAC champion Midland (3-3-2, 3-3-2 GPAC) for a 5 p.m. CT kickoff. The Warriors (17-2-2 in 2019) lost only twice all of last season. In a rescheduled contest, the Bulldogs will also be at Presentation (0-9-2, 0-7-2 GPAC) at 12 p.m. CT on Sunday. Only one game will remain in the GPAC regular season after Sunday.
- Concordia resumed the season last week by pummeling Doane, 5-1, inside Bulldog Stadium on Oct. 28. Lately, the season has been frequently interrupted by postponements. The Bulldogs had not previously played since the 3-1 home loss to Hastings on Oct. 17. They also were unable to play at Presentation this past weekend. That leaves 13th-year Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad at 7-2-1 overall and at 5-1-1 in GPAC play (16 points; third most in the GPAC standings). For more information on Concordia Men’s Soccer, click HERE.
- The rivalry with Doane had been remarkably competitive (series of overtime affairs) until the past two meetings, which resulted in Bulldog wins by scores of 3-0 in 2019 and 5-1 in 2020. Concordia has not lost any of the past 10 matchups with the Tigers, going 6-0-4 during a stretch that began in 2013. One of the more meaningful meetings in that time was the 2014 GPAC quarterfinal clash that saw the Bulldogs win at Doane, 1-0. The current class of four-year seniors have gone 3-0-1 versus the Tigers.
- Each of Concordia’s first three goals versus Doane were scored by players who got on the board for the first time in 2020. Both Mauro Figueroa and Braden Spath found the back of the net for the first time in their careers. Weides was glad to have junior Daniel Campbell healthy again. He opened up the goal scoring by tucking the ball inside the left post in the ninth minute. It marked Campbell’s first goal this season and fourth of his career. After Doane fought back within 3-1, Isaiah Shaddick (second goal of 2020) and Ryan Wokutch (fourth goal of 2020) put the game to bed with late goals.
- The five goals scored versus Doane represented a team season high. The Bulldogs had also put four goals on the board in wins over Kansas Wesleyan University, Dordt, Northwestern and Jamestown. The most recent time Concordia has accumulated more than five goals in a game occurred in the 9-0 victory at Presentation in 2019. At least to this point, the Bulldogs have shown an improved attack compared to last year. They are currently averaging 2.90 goals per game after averaging 2.11 in 2019.
- Twelve Concordia players have scored at least one goal this season, including seven who have two or more: Moises Jacobo (five), Garrett Perry (five), Wokutch (four), Carlos Orquiz (three), Yessine Bessaies (two), Iker Casanova (two) and Shaddick (two). Such balance is consistent with last year’s team that was led by Jacobo (six) and Perry (five) in the goal scoring department. The Bulldogs have not had a double-digit goal scorer since three individuals accomplished that feat in 2017: Micah Lehenbauer (12), Lewis Rathbone (12) and Marcelo Hernandez (11).
- In a feature that went live on Oct. 30, we spotlighted outside back João Pedro Veríssimo. That story can be read HERE. Pedro Veríssimo won’t typically jump off the page in the box score, but his contributions are obvious to his coaches and teammates. He and Decker Mattimoe serve as the team’s two captains. Pedro Veríssimo played in only three games last season due to injury, but has returned to start each of the first 10 games of 2020. He has been a key figure in the team’s overall solid defensive play.
- Not only has Concordia won at least 10 games in nine-straight seasons, it has also finished at .500 or better in seven-consecutive seasons. The high water mark for GPAC wins during that stretch (and in program history) was seven in 2017. At 5-1-1 in the GPAC, the current team has a shot to equal or perhaps even surpass that total. The final four games of the conference regular season are: at Midland, at Morningside, versus Briar Cliff and at Presentation. The next three opponents were all placed in front of the Bulldogs in the GPAC preseason poll.
- This will be another one-game week. Concordia is preparing to play at Midland (5-2 GPAC) at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday (originally scheduled for Sept. 30). The Warriors have played fewer games than anyone in the GPAC other than Morningside and Presentation. In last season’s meeting at Bulldog Stadium, Concordia and Midland played to a 1-1 draw. The Warriors finished 2019 in second place in the conference standings.
- After a three-week break in the schedule, the Bulldogs returned to action on Oct. 24 at the Mount Marty Invite, which featured 14 teams on the women’s side and 13 teams on the men’s side. The race was held at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton, S.D. The Concordia women placed third while the men finished fifth. The event marked the fifth and final regular-season outing for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s Bulldogs, who had not competed since the Briar Cliff Invite on Oct. 3. For more on Concordia Cross Country, click HERE.
- The Bulldog women have enjoyed a fine regular season that has seen them place no lower than third at any meet in 2020. They have posted placements of third (out of eight) at the Dordt Sunflower Opener, second (out of five) at the Hastings Bronco Stampede, first (out of seven) at the Doane Dean White Invite, second (out of 13) at the Briar Cliff Invite and third (out of 14) at the Mount Marty Invite. The meet title at the Dean White Invite marked the program’s fourth first-place claim since the beginning of the 2019 season.
- As the Concordia women have found out, defending their 2019 GPAC title will not be easy. The Bulldogs have been chasing Dordt all season and also placed behind Morningside (by seven points) last week in Yankton. In the official GPAC rankings, Concordia remains at No. 3. On Oct. 29, the Bulldogs got some good news as they landed at No. 22 in the NAIA coaches’ poll. Concordia earned five national rankings last season and finished at No. 12 (best for the program since 2005).
- At the Mount Marty Invite, the Concordia men placed behind Doane (first), Dordt (second), Northwestern (third) and nonconference foe Dakota State University (fourth). On the other hand, the Bulldogs defeated conference rivals in Morningside (sixth), Midland (seventh), Hastings (10th) and Mount Marty (11th). The Bulldogs were placed at No. 4 once again in the official conference rating released on Oct. 26. That placement was enough for Concordia to receive votes in the NAIA national poll.
- It will be a significant challenge for any women’s team other than Dordt to capture the GPAC title, but the most recent outing showed that Concordia still has a shot at being a top two team in the conference. The Mount Marty Invite also proved that sophomore Kylahn Heritage (2019 GPAC runner up) has some competition at the top of the lineup. Her 5k time of 19:01.22 very narrowly beat out freshman teammate Rylee Haecker (19:01.27) for the title of top Bulldog at the meet. Heritage placed sixth out of 150 runners while Haecker finished sixth. The emergence of Haecker continues to be a cool story for Concordia. Haecker had mostly been focused on preparing for track season before entering the Briar Cliff meet and getting good results there (time of 18:43.22).
- Heritage and current seniors Alyssa Fye and Sydney Clark are each returning all-conference runners from last year’s GPAC championship team. At Mount Marty, Clark was the team’s No. 4 runner while Fye came in at No. 6. Each of the team’s top seven finished the race in under 20 minutes. The next five after Heritage and Haecker were freshman Grace Reiman (19:32.41; 21st), Clark (19:35.59; 22nd), senior Lydia Cook (19:41.42; 24th), Fye (19:58.93; 32nd) and junior Abi DeLoach (19:59.62).
- The men’s team was without two key performers in Yankton with sophomore Camden Sesna and junior Wyatt Lehr sidelined. The healthy return of both will be essential to Concordia’s chances of a possible top three finish in the GPAC. In Sesna’s absence, senior Jordan Lorenz claimed a 20th place finish while completing the 8k race in 26:30.05. The next three Concordia finishers in line were either freshmen or sophomores in freshman Calvin Rohde (26:35.38; 25th), sophomore Antonio Blaine (27:00.66; 36th) and sophomore Owen Dawson (27:09.34; 39th). Junior Ethan Pankow rounded out the team’s top five by placing 57th overall (27:42.48).
- The Bulldog men were crowned champions of the Bronco Stampede back on Sept. 12. They have also turned in place finishes of third (out of eight) at the Sunflower Opener, second (out of six) at the Dean White Invite, sixth (out of 14) at the Briar Cliff Invite and fifth (out of 13) at the Mount Marty Invite. Sesna had been the team’s top individual runner at each meet prior to the Mount Marty Invite.
- Both Concordia teams has last week off from competition as they continued to prepare for the GPAC Cross Country Championships coming up on Saturday. Beisel’s squads will return to the same course in Yankton. The first race is set to go off at 10:45 a.m. CT. In the GPAC era (2000-present), the Bulldog women’s cross country program has claimed four GPAC titles while the men’s program has won three GPAC championships.
- The program has undoubtedly improved since last season, but the Bulldogs still have work to do as far as catching up with the top teams in the GPAC. Concordia has learned that lesson in recent weeks having suffered losses to Northwestern, 31-17, and Dordt, 41-14. Both opponents would likely be carrying top 25 NAIA rankings if there were official polls being released this fall. In a matchup dubbed the NAIA Game of the Week, the Bulldogs fell flat against the Defenders. Fourth-year Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad was idle last week and remains at 4-2. For more information on Bulldog Football, clickHERE.
- Dordt might just have the best team in the history of its program, which played its first season of football in 2008. The fortunes have risen dramatically for the Defenders under the direction of Head Coach Joel Penner. Dordt dominated the first half in building a 20-0 lead while outgaining Concordia, 303-56. The high-powered Defender offense, highlighted by quarterback Noah Clayberg and Levi Jungling, hit the 40-point mark for the fifth-straight game. It was an especially impressive outburst considering the Bulldogs had held three opponents to single-digit point margins this season.
- Junior tight end Garrett Schardt got some well-deserved ink in the Lincoln Journal Star leading up to the Dordt game. In the defeat, Schardt continued to produce while catching three passes for 48 yards. He also drew a defensive pass interference penalty that extended Concordia’s first scoring drive of the game. The former Bruning-Davenport-Shickley High School standout leads all GPAC tight ends this season in receptions (18) and receiving yards (309). Schardt caught two touchdown passes in the loss at Northwestern.
- Another positive was the play of backup running back Lyle Whitney. It took a while for the Bulldogs to get something going offensively, but Whitney provided a spark in the second half. He finished the game with 12 carries for 57 yards. He also caught a swing pass and raced 57 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the season, Whitney has rushed for 261 yards in providing a nice compliment to starter Jonah Weyand.
- Concordia’s defense was hurt by the absences of sack leader Chase Hammons and tackle leader Lane Napier versus Dordt. Both were late scratches due to injuries. Shayne Campbell attempted to pick up the slack by notching a team high 13 tackles from his linebacker spot. Fellow ‘backer Caydren Cox also added seven tackles, including one for loss. The secondary was unable to take advantage of the times when Clayberg did throw the ball up for grabs. Up front, the Bulldogs were held without a sack for the first time this season.
- The passing game was also held in check by Dordt. The combo of Culbert and Ehlers went 10-for-23 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. On the plus side, Culbert made a fine 24-yard touchdown strike to Korrell Koehlmoos on the first possession of the second half. Koehlmoos leads the team with three touchdown catches this season. Koehlmoos was one of eight Bulldgos to catch a pass versus Dordt (and the only one with more than one reception).
- Koehlmoos finished with 226 all-purpose yards versus Dordt after factoring in his 202 kickoff return yards. He had a long of 41 on his seven attempts. At the conclusion of week six, the Pilger, Neb., native topped the NAIA national with 474 kickoff return yards on the season (average of 22.6 yards per return). He also ranked seventh nationally in all-purpose yards per game (146.8). In his career, Koehlmoos has caught 85 passes for 1,273 yards and eight touchdowns.
- The all-time series with Dordt now stands at 9-4 in favor of the Bulldogs. However, Dordt is gaining ground having won three in a row. The Defenders had never before won at Bulldog Stadium – until this season. At 5-2, Dordt looks like a possible playoff team. The Defenders were narrowly beaten by Morningside, 35-30, this past Saturday in a major showdown.
- A daunting stretch in the schedule continues this week with Morningside (6-0) set to invade Bulldog Stadium on Saturday. Based on the league standings, the Mustangs have already dealt with their top challengers for the GPAC title having defeated both Northwestern and Dordt. Morningside has not been beaten by a GPAC opponent since being clipped at Doane, 49-48, on Nov. 15, 2014. Concordia has not defeated the Mustangs since 2003 (34-19 victory in Seward).
- The reigning GPAC tournament champions got their 2020-21 season underway over the weekend at the Hastings College Classic (Oct. 30-31). After tripping up in a 72-69 loss to Tabor College (Kan.) on the first day of the event, the Bulldogs rebounded to defeat Friends University (Kan.), 102-82, the next day. Now in his eighth season as head coach of his alma mater, Ben Limback led Concordia to a 24-10 overall record and berth in the national tournament in 2019-20. For more information on Concordia Men’s Basketball, click HERE.
- There were some unknowns heading into this season as the Bulldogs continue the process of breaking in three new starters. On the plus side, Concordia knows what it has in budding standout juniors Carter Kent and Justin Wiersema. The Bulldogs also return Sam Scarpelli, now the starting point guard, to an experienced backcourt. The question marks come with a frontcourt that lost shot blocker and strong low post defender Chuol Biel. Concordia also said goodbye to Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup, who combined for more than 2,800 points during their collegiate careers.
- In the opening game of the season, Kent, Scarpelli and Wiersema made up the starting backcourt and were joined by forwards Ryan Holt and Gage Smith in the lineup. That gave Limback a very upperclassman-heavy starting five featuring two seniors and three juniors. When Holt was unavailable on Oct. 31, Limback inserted junior Klay Uher into the lineup in his place. The aforementioned three guards figure to play a lot of minutes. All three averaged at least 27.5 minutes per game over the weekend.
- Wiersema enjoyed a big offensive performance at the Hastings Classic. He piled up 38 combined points while shooting 65.0 percent (13-for-20) from the field and 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from 3-point range while making both of his free throw attempts. The native of Loveland, Colo., has improved his game immensely since first arriving on campus. He averaged 10.8 points per game last season and should build upon that figure in 2020-21. In his career, Wiersema owns impressive shooting percentages of 52.0 from the field and 39.3 from beyond the arc. His 22 points in the win over Friends equaled a career high.
- A Crete High School product, Kent also steps into a larger spotlight this season. He averaged 12.6 points per game as a sophomore and was named the 2018-19 GPAC Freshman of the Year. Kent had a tough shooting day (2-for-11) versus Tabor, but bounced back with a 22-point outing in the win over Friends. Now in his third year as a starter, Kent has totaled 783 points in 67 games with the Bulldogs. Last season, Kent averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.9 steals while shooting 39.9 percent from the floor.
- Another Crete alum showed up big in the win over Friends. Uher went 7-for-9 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the foul line while piling up a career high 19 points. The previous career best for Uher, who switched to jersey No. 21 this season, was 14 points last season at Midland. Uher stepped into the starting lineup on Oct. 31 and made the second start of his career. Kent and Uher are far from the only Crete natives to do big things as Bulldogs. Others like Jonah Weyand (football) and Camry Moore (softball) are also stars for their respective teams.
- Picked sixth in the GPAC preseason poll, Concordia would like to prove it has staying power as a national tournament caliber program. In the preseason poll, the Bulldogs were placed behind No. 1 Morningside, No. 2 Northwestern, No. 3 Dordt, No. 4 Jamestown and No. 5 Dakota Wesleyan. As of this moment, Nine of the 11 GPAC teams have begun their 2020-21 seasons. Only three of those teams have yet to lose: Jamestown (3-0), Morningside (2-0) and Dordt (1-0). Concordia was joined at the 2020 national tournament by Morningside and Dakota Wesleyan.
- The nonconference game scheduled to be played at Peru State College on Wednesday has been postponed. That means the 21st annual Cattle Classic is up next for the Bulldogs. They will entertain Emmaus Bible College (Iowa) at 8 p.m. CT on Friday and Manhattan Christian College (Kan.) at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Hastings will also be on hand and will play Manhattan Christian/Emmaus. GPAC play will get started already next week.
- The defending GPAC champions opened up the 2020-21 season with a weekend in York, Neb. This past Friday (Oct. 30) night, the Bulldogs struggled in the top half of their lineup and were beaten, 30-19, in a dual at York College. The next day at the York College Open, 14 Concordia wrestlers combined for 31 wins as part of the season’s first tournament. Junior Mario Ybarra claimed the 133-pound title and avenged his Friday night loss in the dual. This marks year three for Levi Calhoun as the program’s head coach. For more information on Bulldog Wrestling, click HERE.
- Calhoun helped the program return to its dominant ways last season when Concordia went 8-0 in GPAC duals and also won the GPAC tournament. The 2019-20 squad went 13-2 in duals in the process of tying the school record for most wins in a season. The backbone of the team was a senior class that included All-Americans Tanner Farmer and Alberto Garcia. Six of the eight Bulldog national qualifiers from last season have graduated. Calhoun’s coaching dual record entering this season stood at 22-6.
- Ybarra is certainly the most decorated of the team’s returners. He came up a single point shy of All-America honors last season. His run last winter included a 125-pound GPAC title and an overall record of 22-9. The native of Scottsbluff, Neb., aspires to not just get on the podium next March, but to be a national champion. His tournament at York saw him go 5-0 with two pins. Ybarra defeated York’s Pierce Mederios, 3-2, in the championship match. The night before, Ybarra had lost to Mederios in sudden victory.
- The next two most noteworthy returners are senior Gabe Crawford (165) and junior Issiah Burks (157). Crawford surprised some observers last season when he won the 157-pound GPAC title. Crawford did not wrestle last weekend, but plans to bump up to 165 upon his return to the mat. Meanwhile, Burks put together a fine tournament at York. He went 4-1 with four pins and placed second at 157 pounds. Burks now has 28 career collegiate wins to his credit.
- Concordia found itself in too big of a hole to climb out of in the dual at York. The Panthers won the first five matches, three by fall, and led 24-0. The Bulldogs got on the board with Jose Sanchez’s pin at 165. Timothy Huber (decision at 174), Mason Garcia (pin at 197) and Jacob Telles (major decision at 285) followed with wins for Concordia. Six of the 10 matches ended with pins (four for the Panthers, two for the Bulldogs). The two programs had not dualed in York since January of 2014. Concordia won last year’s meeting, 30-16, in Seward.
- Ybarra (5-0), Burks (4-1) and Telles (4-1) were the team leaders in terms of most wins at the York Open. In addition, seven Concordia grapplers emerged from the open with exactly two wins: Jeaven Scdoris (141), Sanchez (157), Tavoris Smith (157), Huber (174), Cyrus Marshall (184), Oscar Ramirez-Garcia (184) and Garcia (197). One win apiece was claimed at the York Open by Carter Willis (125), Jeremiah Sistek (133), Jett High (149) and Andrew Reid (184).
- There are no preseason rankings to publicize just yet, although an initial set of ratings are expected next week. With the loss of six national qualifiers (and GPAC Wrestler of the Year Tanner Farmer), the Bulldogs may not wind up being the conference favorite this season, though the GPAC would seem to be pretty wide open. As a program, Concordia has either shared or won the GPAC regular-season title outright in five of the past six years. It has also claimed four postseason tournament titles during that stretch. From a national perspective, the last six years have seen the Bulldogs place 12th, eighth, 15th, 22nd, 26th and 15th, respectively.
- Due to the cancellation of the Dan Harris Open hosted by Baker University, Concordia will have this week off from competition. Next up on the schedule is a dual at Dakota Wesleyan at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 13. The very next day, the Bulldogs will take part in the Dakota Wesleyan Open. Concordia fans will have to wait until Dec. 10 (dual versus Morningside) for Concordia’s first home appearance.