By Jeff Beshey
The Concordia College Wrestling Program is getting a new wrestling room and more.
When completed in mid-November, the new Riverside Wrestling Facility will include a 2,800 square foot wrestling room with two full mats, an adjacent cardio area, wall graphics throughout, an open locker room with 46 lockers and shower/bathroom area, a public bathroom, an athletic training room with a recovery cold tub area, a coaches locker room, a coaches suite with office, and a recruiting and film space. The wrestling room will have a 14-foot ceiling and will have space for climbing ropes, gymnastics rings, wall anchors for bungees, and more.
The new space is a big improvement for the Cobbers. For the past several decades the wrestling program did the best they could with a one-mat low-ceiling bare-bones wrestling room. There was nothing other than wrestling mat space. There was no separate area for cardio or extra training equipment.
“The new facility will allow us to enhance our training in a significant way by giving us more space and additional training options in the same area,” said Wrestling Coach Phil Moenkedick. “We’ve had to be very creative in the past with having 30-40 guys in a practice room consisting of only one mat. The additional space will allow us to train in a more effective and time efficient way.”
The new facility is a renovation of a previous elementary school about a block-and-a-half off of the main campus. $800,000 was raised to renovate the existing school gym, locker room, and surrounding space.
Moenkedick credits administrative support within the Concordia Athletics Department and throughout the college for the success of the project. “I cannot express my appreciation for how much our college administrators from the president on down to our athletic director and athletic administrators support wrestling. In a time where it seems that a lot of college wrestling programs can get pushed to the wayside, I feel very fortunate to be at a place where wrestling is appreciated and valued.”
Cobber alumni and supporters have also been instrumental in making a new wrestling facility a reality. “When we were given the go ahead to look into this project, we had a core group of alumni and supporters who stepped up big time and got it done,” said Moenkedick. “I am proud to say that we have a solid group of people that take pride in Cobber Wrestling and believe in what we are doing and are eager to be involved in the program.”
Having a new training facility can only be a big positive for current Cobber wrestlers and for future recruiting.
“For the guys in this program to have space that is solely theirs, where they can go hang out, study and build team comradery is huge,” said Moenkedick. “To be able to show parents and prospective student athletes this facility and talk about where this program was only ten years ago when Clay Nagel came here and how quickly he changed things to get to where we are now is exciting and that momentum is going to carry on and we are going to continue to get better.
Concordia Wrestling begins their upcoming season at the Jamestown Open on November 4th. Their first home event is the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open on November 18th.