November 22, 2005

Three place in strong field for wrestling at Concordia

Wrestling headed into Saturday’s Concordia tourney ready to get on track for the winter. After a valiant fight, the Maroons didn’t quite make the splash they were hoping for.

The Maroons placed three wrestlers into the semifinals of the tough Concordia University Tournament on Saturday. Third-year 197-pounder Drew Marriott finished fifth in his draw, while classmate 184-pounder Ben Barnes placed sixth in his weight class. The team had eight seeded players at the start of the tourney.

Third-year 165-pounder Mike Bishof posted the Maroons’ best performance, as he made it to the finals of his weight class, eventually losing 4–2 to second-year Kyle Becker, representing Division II UW-Parkside,

“Mike worked hard in the off-season and has been working very hard in practice,” head coach Leo Kocher said. “It is showing in his performances.”

Despite the fact that most wrestlers were eliminated by the quarterfinals of their weight classes, several Maroons held their own against tough opponents who eventually posted notable performances in the tourney. First-year 174-pounder Lance Contento again demonstrated his strong potential, going 2–2 and forcing an overtime period against fourth-year Brandon Conley of UW-Platteville, who would be the fourth-place finisher in his weight class.

Heavyweight Tom Nero lost a close 6–4 match to first-year Chris Schiewe of Triton College, the fourth-place heavyweight finisher.

First-year 157-pounder Spencer Burns just barely missed the quarterfinals in the wrestleback bracket for his weight class, building on his strong showing at Whitewater Wednesday. His two losses were to third-years Tyler Ludwig of Elmhurst and Mike Kerr of Augustana, currently ranked sixth and seventh in the nation in the 157-pound class.

The Maroons placed five wrestlers at last year’s Concordia Open.

“We usually place more than three wrestlers at this tournament, but quite frankly, the tournament field was stronger than I can ever remember,” Kocher said.

Despite their overall showing, the meet was a step in the right direction for the defending UAA champions.

“I think all 22 athletes we entered were generally pretty competitive. That is good news for the intensity of our practice room,” Kocher said.

The Maroons look to nail down their first win of the season Wednesday November 30, when they open their home schedule against Wabash.