MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Concordia will once again send multiple athletes to the NCAA National Meet after the Cobbers completed another successful Great Lakes Regional. Concordia qualified four wrestlers and placed fifth at the regional held at Augsburg on Saturday. It marks the third straight season that the Cobbers have qualified at least four wrestlers for the national meet.
Despite the reoccurring theme of success at the regional meet, the story line was a little different than expected heading into the meet. Concordia’s two nationally-ranked wrestlers, Daron Hohbein and Nate Schmitz, both punched their tickets to the national meet as did Ben Presler and Tom Bouressa. All four will be making their second consecutive trip to the national meet.
Presler tied for the most wins of any CC athlete at the meet. He went 3-1 and finished third at 125. He won his opening match by a major decision but then fell in his second bout. Presler then came back to win two straight in the consolation bracket and recorded a 5-1 decision in the third place match to earn his second straight trip to the NCAA National Meet.
Hohbein entered the meet ranked fifth in the nation and had another quality regional meet. He finished second at 133 and scored the most team points (18.5) of any CC wrestler on the day. Hohbein blew past his first two opponents by a pin fall and technical fall. He then claimed a commanding 15-6 decision in the semifinals. Hohbein lost a tough 5-3 decision in the championship bout to Chad Henle of St. John’s.
Schmitz was the lone Cobber wrestler to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Meet. He finished fourth at 197 but, by virtue of his No.5 national ranking, he was awarded one of the two regional at-large berths. Schmitz won 9-4 in his first match but then lost 4-0 in the quarterfinals. He won his first match in the consolation bracket with a 7-3 decision but then lost to No.2-ranked Dustin Baxter in the third-place match. Schmitz now has a team-leading 27 wins on the year.
Bouressa has pulled off the amazing feat of the season. He didn’t start wrestling until the end of January this year and has quickly returned to his All-American form from last year. Bouressa did not allow a single point in his first two matches as he breezed into the championship match. He won 9-0 in the opener and then 4-0 in the semifinals. Bouressa finally lost 10-4 in the championship match against No.1-ranked Chad Johnson of Augsburg.
The Cobbers had three other wrestlers finish in the top six of their weight class. Kyle LeDuc went 3-2 at 149 and finished fourth at 149. LeDuc, making his regional debut, lost his first match but then won three straight matches to earn a spot in the third-place match.
Junior Kevin Fynboh and freshman Chris Harrison both finished sixth in their weight classes. Fynboh won his first two matches to reach the semifinals at 157. Unfortunately he dropped two straight in the consolation bracket after losing to No.1-ranked Orlando Ponce of Augsburg in the semifinals. Harrison also won his first two before dropping three straight matches. He earned a pin fall and major decision to reach the semifinals but then lost to No.3-ranked Josef Rau of Elmhurst in the semifinals.
Concordia will now have a two-week break before heading to the national meet on Mar. 9-10 at UW-La Crosse.
Concordia NCAA National Meet Qualifiers
125 – Ben Presler
133 – Daron Hohbein
197 – Nathan Schmitz (At-large bid recipient)
285 – Tom Bouressa