A Runner-Up And An All-American

Gabe Zierden (L) and Alex Skaare became the first Cobber All-Americans as they finished in the Top 8 at the NWCA DIII National Meet. (Pics courtesy of Don Stoner, Augsburg SID).
Gabe Zierden (L) and Alex Skaare became the first Cobber All-Americans as they finished in the Top 8 at the NWCA DIII National Meet. (Pics courtesy of Don Stoner, Augsburg SID).

CORALVILLE, Iowa (3/13/2021)---Concordia recorded 17 total wins and had eight of their 10 wrestlers record at least one victory but it was the performances of sophomore Gabe Zierden and senior Alex Skaare that stole the show at the NWCA Division III National Meet.

Zierden and Skaare both got to the podium at the meet to earn NWCA All-American honors. Zierden was second at 197 and Skaare was seventh at 174. They become the first Cobber All-Americans since 2016 when Jakob Stageberg earned NCAA All-American honors. They also push the Concordia All-American total, in either NAIA, NCAA or NWCA to 39.     
Zierden stormed through the bracket at 197 and advanced all the way to the championship match. He became the first Cobber wrestler to compete in a national finals bout since Phil Moenkedick won the NCAA Championship in 2011. Zierden also follows the same path as Moenkedick. Moenkedick was the runner-up as a sophomore before he won back-to-back titles.

Zierden started his runner-up path with a pin in the second minute of his match in the Round of 32. He followed that up with a technical fall win over Chris Nielsen from Dubuque. Zierden made it three straight bonus-point wins when he put his opponent's shoulders on the mat at the 2:13 mark in the quarterfinals. The win over Kobe Woods of Wartburg assured Zierden of All-American status and pushed him into the semifinals – the first CC athlete to get to that point since 2-11 when Tom Bouressa finished fourth at 285 at the NCAA Meet.

Zierden punched his ticket to the title bout with a 4-1 decision over Bentley Schwanbeck-Ostermann from Augsburg. His successive wins over athletes from wrestling powerhouses Wartburg and Augsburg served notice that Zierden will be one of the top wrestlers in the country at 197 for the next two years.

Zierden's breakout meet came to an end when he lost to Cody Baldridge from North Central in the finals. Zierden couldn't mount an offensive attack on Baldridge and lost 10-2.

Zierden went 4-1 at the NWCA meet and finishes the year with a 6-1 record. He is 28-11 in his two seasons in maroon and gold.

Skaare was the feel-good story of the weekend. He capped his Cobber career by earning All-American honors.

He entered the weekend seeded sixth at 174. Skaare started his meet with a convincing 11-0 win over Devin Rogers from Carthage. He then came through with a pin at 4:06 in the Round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals. Needing a win in the Final 8 to earn All-American honors, Skaare dropped a 12-2 decision in the quarterfinals and was forced to take the consolation route to All-American status. He still needed only one more win to get to the podium and got there with a 13-3 major decision over Shyler Langley from Simpson.

Skaare lost his next match in the consolation Round of 4 but then rebounded to win the seventh-place match with a pin at 4:52 over Tristan Westphal from Coe.

Like Zierden, Skaare finished the year with a team-high six wins. He went 6-2, and in the past two years fashioned a 17-12 record. Skaare ends his Concordia career with 47 victories.  

Cade Lundeen, Bret Wilson and Jacob Arends were the other Cobber wrestlers to record more than one win at the meet. Lundeen went 2-2 at 141. He dropped his opening Round of 32 match 11-1 but then put back-to-back wins together before falling in the Consolation Round of 8. Wilson was also 2-2 with a pair of pins in the Consolation Round of 16 against Jesus Diaz of Iowa Wesleyan and Jake Sisk of New Jersey City. Arends who had a breakout year at 285 in 2021, made the same path as Lundeen. He dropped his opening match but then edged Daniel Skold of Augustana (Ill.) and pinned Brian Morel of the Coast Guard at 2:47. He lost to the No.2-ranked wrestler 8-4 in the Consolation Round of 8.

Cobber Results at NWCA DIII National Meet
Cole Kubesh (1-2)
Champ. Round of 32 - Cole Kubesh (Concordia-MN) DEC Ellex Williams (Augustana), 7-3
Champ. Round of 16 - Chase Poston (Central College) MD Cole Kubesh (Concordia-MN), 12-2
Cons. Round of 16 - Cade Hornback (Dubuque) DEC Cole Kubesh (Concordia-MN), 5-2

Benjamin Bogart (0-2)
Champ. Round of 32 - Joseph Jones (Averett) DEC Benjamin Bogart (Concordia-MN), 3-1 SV
Cons. Round of 16 - Shandon Akeo (Central College) DEC Benjamin Bogart (Concordia-MN), 6-4

Cade Lundeen (2-2)

Champ. Round of 32 - La`ron Ruffin (Adrian) MD Cade Lundeen (Concordia-MN), 11-1
Cons. Round of 16 - Cade Lundeen (Concordia-MN) DEC Nic Minnito (Augustana), 12-9
Cons. Round of 8 - Cade Lundeen (Concordia-MN) F Van Schmidt (Nebraska Wesleyan), 4:03
Cons. Round of 8 #2 - Tyler Difiore (Luther) TF Cade Lundeen (Concordia-MN), 16-0 3:00

Jacob Prunty (1-2)

Champ. Round of 32 - Hunter Murphy (Olivet College) DEC Jacob Prunty (Concordia-MN), 4-0 SV
Cons. Round of 16 - Jacob Prunty (Concordia-MN) TF Mason Priest (Alma), 18-1 6:28
Cons. Round of 16 #2 - Charlie Stuhl (Augsburg) DEC Jacob Prunty (Concordia-MN), 7-4

Bret Wilson (2-2)
Champ. Round of 32 - Tyler Shilson (Augsburg) TF Bret Wilson (Concordia-MN), 16-0 3:46
Cons. Round of 16 - Bret Wilson (Concordia-MN) F Jesus Diaz (Iowa Wesleyan University), 2:16
Cons. Round of 16 - Bret Wilson (Concordia-MN) F Jake Sisk (New Jersey City University), 3:20
Cons. Round of 8 - Anthony Ulaszek Greeley, CO (Coast Guard) F Bret Wilson (Concordia-MN), 0:32

Tyler Bents (0-2)
Champ. Round of 32 - Connor Thorsten (Augsburg) DEC Tyler Bents (Concordia-MN), 6-4 SV
Cons. Round of 16 - Dalton Cockman (Simpson College) MD Tyler Bents (Concordia-MN), 15-1

Alex Skaare (4-2)
Champ. Round of 32 - Alex Skaare (Concordia-MN) MD Devin Rogers (Carthage College), 11-0
Champ. Round of 16 - Alex Skaare (Concordia-MN) F Tristin Westphal (Coe College), 4:06
Quarterfinals - Jacob Krakow (Loras) MD Alexander Skaare (Concordia-MN), 12-2
Cons. Round of 8 #2 - Alex Skaare (Concordia-MN) MD Shyler Langley (Simpson College), 13-3
Cons. Round of 4 - Zachary Wells (Olivet College) DEC Alex Skaare (Concordia-MN), 8-7
7th Place - Alex Skaare (Concordia-MN) F Tristin Westphal (Coe College), 4:52

Connor Chloupek (1-2)

Champ. Round of 32 - Zion Carpenter (Averett) DEC Connor Chloupek (Concordia-MN), 8-7
Cons. Round of 16 - Connor Chloupek (Concordia-MN) F Nathaniel Armstrong (Mount St Joseph), 5:51
Cons. Round of 16 #2 - Michael Jacobs (Adrian) TF Connor Chloupek (Concordia-MN), 16-1 7:00

Gabe Zierden (4-1)

Champ. Round of 32 - Gabe Zierden (Concordia-MN) F Samuel Martin (Fontbonne), 1:17
Champ. Round of 16 - Gabe Zierden (Concordia-MN) TF Chris Nielsen (Dubuque), 17-2 5:14
Quarterfinals - Gabe Zierden (Concordia-MN) F Kobe Woods (Wartburg), 2:13
Semifinals - Gabe Zierden (Concordia-MN) DEC Bentley Schwanebeck-ostermann (Augsburg), 4-1
Finals - Cody Baldridge (North Central) MD Gabe Zierden (Concordia-MN), 10-2

Jacob Arends (2-2)

Champ. Round of 32 - Brayan Reyes (Millikin) DEC Jake Arends (Concordia-MN), 3-1 SV
Cons. Round of 16 - Jake Arends (Concordia-MN) DEC Daniel Skold (Augustana), 5-4
Cons. Round of 8 - Jake Arends (Concordia-MN) F Brian Morel (Coast Guard), 2:47
Cons. Round of 8 #2 - Ben Bergen (North Central) DEC Jake Arends (Concordia-MN), 8-4

RECAP SPONSOR: Tonight's recap sponsor is Bell Bank. Like Gabe Zierden and Alex Skaare at the NWCA Meet, Bell Bank is money when it comes to your financial needs.