JAMESTOWN, N.D. — If the first meet of the season is any indication of what Concordia can expect in 2023, then head coach Quincy Osborn is in for one heck of a ride.
The Cobbers had four wrestlers earn weight-class championships, and had four others post Top 3 finishes at the season-opening Jimmie Open.
If a person was asked to guess which four Cobber wrestlers would win individual titles in the first meet of the year, said person would probably choose returning accomplished athletes Gabe Zierden and Ty Bisek. That person would have been right, but the next two first-place finishers might be a tougher ask.
Zierden cruised to the championship at 197, while Bisek picked up where he left off last year and rolled to the win at 133. Zierden was 4-0 on the day. He posted a technical fall and two pins – including the championship bout where he pinned Sam Grove of MSU Moorhead in 4:02.
Bisek wrestled in three matches and recorded pins in all three. End of story.
The other two championship winners were senior Cade Lundeen and junior Connor Chloupek. Last year, the top finish for both wrestlers was fourth place. Lundeen went 4-0 at 141 and posted a pin and then a technical fall in his first two matches. He closed out his trek to the title by recording a 9-4 decision over Zach Zitek from Dakota Wesleyan.
Chloupek started his 2022-23 season by going 4-0 at 184. He dominated his first three matches of the year and recorded pins in all three. Chloupek earned his title with a 4-1 decision over Ryan Hirschkorn from Division II Northern State.
Jacob Prunty and Tyler Bents posted runner-up finishes for the Cobbers. Prunty went 3-1 at 149. He opened the meet with a pin and then advanced to the finals by virtue of a pair of decisions. Prunty then lost a 3-2 nail-biter in the final to Aric Williams from Dakota Wesleyan.
Like Prunty, Bents won his first three bouts before falling in the championship match. He posted a technical fall in the first round, and then put up a major decision in the quarterfinals. Bents got to the finals with a 9-7 win over Cael Larson from Northern State. He lost 3-1 in the title bout to Kaena De Santos from host Jamestown.
The top finish by a Cobber freshman was turned in by Xander Spray. Spray, the West Fargo Cheyenne HS product, went 3-1 at 133 and placed third. His only loss came to teammate Bisek in the semifinals. Spray claimed his 3rd-place finish with a 16-7 major decision over Logan Fischer from Minot State in the last match of the day.
Elijah Hunt recorded the top finish of his college career by going 2-1 and placing third at 165. He started his junior season with the perfect beginning by pinning his opponent in the first minute of action. He then lost a tight 7-6 decision to Jacob Reinardy in the semifinals, before rallying to post a pin in the 3rd-place match.
UP NEXT: Concordia will open its dual-meet season when they host Northern State on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.