Gebhardt defeats No. 1 NAIA wrestler

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Gebhardt defeats No. 1 NAIA wrestler

Story by Sara

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Former Senator Robert. F. Kennedy coined the phrase, “Don’t get mad, get even,” but senior Brandon Gebhardt lived the motto during a rematch of the 2012 heavyweight national championship match Sunday in Las Vegas, Nev.

After fighting his way to the championship of the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament last season, Gebhardt was pinned by Grand View University’s Eric Thompson and went home the national runner-up. But No. 2 Gebhardt got his revenge Sunday by defeating No. 1 Thompson in a 5-3 decision in triple overtime during the Desert Duals.

This win, however, was only the beginning for Gebhardt and the rest of the No. 9 Baker University wrestling team.

Gebhardt posted a perfect 3-0 record on the day, leading the Wildcats to a 2-1 dual record.

Baker had its hands full from the beginning of the tournament as it opened the day against the defending NAIA national champions, No. 1 Grand View. The Vikings defeated the Wildcats 25-12, but four Baker seniors were able to claim victories.

Alan Callahan, 125 pounds, started things off for Baker with a 3-1 decision. Nathan Sommer followed five matches later in the 165-pound weight class with a 2-1 win. Parker Owen, 174 pounds, kept the momentum alive for Baker by winning a 5-2 decision. Gebhardt claimed the final win for the Wildcats.

In its next dual, Baker defeated No. 21 Embry-Riddle University 24-15 as a new corps of Wildcats claimed six victories. Junior Joel Olivas, 141 pounds; sophomore Nick Haugen, 149 pounds; freshman Connor Middleton, 157 pounds; sophomore Robert Shadrach, 197 pounds; and Gebhardt led Baker to its first dual-victory of the tournament.

The confidence carried over into the Wildcats’ final dual, as they won six matches against NCAA Division III Coe College.

Junior AJ Gassman picked up his only win of the tournament in the 133-pound weight class against Drew Hinschberger by fall at 6:55. Olivas, Haugen and Shadrach posted their second victories of the day, while Gebhardt grabbed his third. Senior Jarid Price, 184 pounds, also won in a 2-0 decision, allowing all of Baker’s varsity wrestlers to claim at least one win during the tournament.

The Wildcats also sent a junior varsity team to the Desert Duals, but Baker fell to Wartburg College 28-6, Grand View 24-19 and Pacific University 19-18.

Baker will have two weeks off before competing in the William Penn Open Jan. 5 in Oskaloosa, Iowa.