MOORHEAD, Minn. — The time has finally arrived for No.24-ranked Concordia. The Cobbers are set for their biggest challenge of the year when they participate at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 24-25, beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24 at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis.
Concordia went 6-4 in dual meets this season, but the focus for head coach Quincy Osborn and his staff has always been the regional meet. The Cobbers will be looking to end their 3-year NCAA national qualifier drought – although CC did have Gabe Zierden and Cole Kubesh qualify for the 2020 national meet, which wound up being canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cobbers will bring a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers and four athletes who have posted 20-win seasons to the region meet in Mequon. This will be the deepest squad that Osborn has brought to a regional meet in his four seasons at the helm of the Cobbers.
TICKET INFORMATION: Fans can buy all-session tickets for $17 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $10 for extra team members, $7 for children and children five and under are free. For a single day, it is $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, $4 for children and children under five are free.
WHAT: NCAA Upper Midwest Regional Meet
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Mequon, Wis. (Concordia University)
Live Results | Live Video | Regional Website
TEAMS: Augsburg, Aurora, Carthage, Concordia Moorhead, Elmhurst, Lakeland, MSOE, Pacific, Saint John’s Linfield, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wisconsin-Platteville, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wheaton.
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR NATIONALS: In order to qualify for the NCAA National Meet, which will be held on Mar. 10-11 in Roanoke, Va., wrestlers have to finish in the Top 3 of their weight class during the 2-day regional tournament.
THE FAVORITE: Sophomore Ty Bisek is the Cobbers’ best chance to qualify for nationals. He is currently ranked fifth in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll. Bisek, who is also ranked No.1 in the Upper Midwest Region, has won 15 straight matches and is 25-1 on the year. His only loss came against an athlete who is ranked No.3 in Division II. Bisek opens his quest for nationals against Justin Hames of Elmhurst, who is 13-12 on the year. The two have never wrestled this season.
NEXT UP: Senior Gabe Zierden is the next highest regionally-ranked wrestler for Concordia. He checks in at No.5 at 197. His experience in regional meets should help him as he tries to qualify for nationals for the second time in his college career. Zierden is 24-6 on the season and has won eight of his last ten matches. Zierden received a bye in the first round and will face the winner of Jake Schmidt (Milw. School of Eng.) and Peyton Smith (Concordia (WIs.)) in the quarterfinals. Zierden faced Smith at the Elmhurst Invite and lost on a pin at 5:32.
READY TO SHINE: Cade Lundeen (141), Jacob Prunty (149), and Tyler Bents (157) are all ranked No.6 in the region, and all have a chance to make an impact at the regional meet for the Cobbers. Lundeen and Prunty are 20-match winners, while Bents is 16-7 on the season.
Lundeen enters the regional meet ranked No.15 in DIII, and sixth in the region, at 141. He is 24-5 on the year and making his third regional appearance. His best finish at a regional meet came in 2020 when he finished fifth at 141. Lundeen opens his tournament with Aidan Lybarger of Pacific.
Prunty is also ranked sixth in the region and has also won at least 20 matches on the year. He is 20-11 on the year and making his second regional appearance. Prunty went 1-2 at the 2020 region meet. Prunty’s style will allow him to have a chance in every match. He is the only CC wrestler that hasn’t dropped a bonus-point decision this year. Prunty begins his weekend against Lucas Schanen of Lakeland University.
Bents is making his second straight regional appearance and is 16-7 on the season. Bents finished eighth at last year’s regional meet at 157 when he went 2-1. He is ranked sixth in the region at 157 and has won six of his last nine matches. Bents starts his second regional meet by facing Ronald Massari of Elmhurst.
WILD CARDS: Three first-year wrestlers could step into the spotlight in Wisconsin. Kie Anderson (125), Alex Rapelje (174), and Mason Swanson (285) have all had moments during the season where they posted quality results. All three have missed some time during their first college seasons, but all three are primed for their first regional meet. Anderson suffered an injury at the start of November and then returned to the lineup in January. He is 10-8 on the season but 7-4 in his last 11 matches.
Rapelje joined the team after the holiday break and has gone 9-4 in the New Year. He finished fourth at the Elmhurst Invite and second at the Wheaton Invite and had a streak where he won six of seven matches.
Swanson, who also played for the Cobbers football team, didn’t compete until the end of November. He has continually improved and enters the regional meet with a 15-10 record. He went 3-1 at the WIs.-Eau Claire Don Parker Open, so he has experience against wrestlers from the region.
Concordia NCAA West Regional Lineup
125 – Kie Anderson (10-8)
133 – No.5 Ty Bisek (25-1)
141 – No.15 Cade Lundeen (24-5)
149 – Jacob Prunty (20-11)
157 – Tyler Bents (16-7)
165 – Elijah Hunt (12-12)
174 – Alex Rapelje (9-4)
184 – Nate Kisgen (0-3)
197 – Gabe Zierden (24-6)
285 – Mason Swanson (15-10)
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