The Concordia wrestling team got seven wrestlers into the NCAA Division three National Meet, which was held last weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cody Kasprick, Chris Harrison, Sebastian Gardner, Jake Krogstad, Kyle LeDuc, Jake Long and Jacoby Bergeron all made the national meet.
Long and Bergeron finished off their seasons as All-Americans, and this was the first appearance at the national meet for everyone with the exception of All-Americans, Long and Bergeron.
Concordia had tough competition heading into the meet as Wartburg came in as three-time defending national champions. Head coach, Matt Nagel, said the atmosphere was electric, especially during the round of twelve. Wartburg would go on to win their fourth championship in a row, while Concordia finished in twelfth. That did not take anything away from the Cobber’s successful season under first-year coach Nagel.
The Cobbers set a record for getting seven wrestlers into the national meet this year. They also had the third most wrestlers at the national meet behind Wartburg’s nine and Augsburg’s eight.
Three Cobbers received academic All-American awards. They were junior, Krogstad, senior, LeDuc and junior, Gardner.
Coach Nagel underlined the importance of the senior class and the importance they had on the team.
“I think the senior class had a lot to do with where we are and the things we did,” Nagel said. “What they did for our program was huge.”
He also commented on the outstanding examples they have been for the younger guys coming into the program. The team’s seniors are Long, LeDuc, Kasprick, Brandon Haluptzok and Taylor Brown.
Nagel also went on to talk about the demanding schedule of a wrestler.
“Some guys are studying for organic chemistry exams, running on low fuel and then having to go to a two-hour long practice, only to wake up at 6:30 the next morning and do the same thing over again,” Nagel said. “These guys have to be mentally tough.”
Coach Nagel said that the guys are going to take a couple of weeks off to relax before going back to work to prepare for next season. Nagel attributed the recruiting success of the program to his dad, associate head coach, Clay Nagel.
“We try to reach out to as many kids as we can who fit the profile,” Nagel said. “Then we try to get them on campus to see if it’s right for them.”
With regards to the season as a whole, coach Nagel said he is extremely proud of the growth of his wrestlers, but he said he is even more proud of their growth as people.
“It’s a joy to be able to work with these kids,” Nagel said. “I have so much respect for what they do as student-athletes.” •