Wrestlers finish fourth in NAIA regional

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Wrestlers finish fourth in NAIA regional

Story by Sara

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For the second straight season, the No. 14 Baker University wrestling team finished fourth in the NAIA Central Qualifying Group Tournament Saturday in Collins Center.

Six Wildcats placed in the top three of their weight classes, but it was not enough to top No. 1 Grand View University, No. 7 Missouri Valley College and No. 9 Oklahoma City University. However, seven BU wrestlers were able to earn bids to the NAIA Wrestling National Championships for their performances.

Senior Alan Callahan, junior Joel Olivas, sophomore Nick Haugen, senior Nathan Sommer, senior Parker Owen, senior Jarid Price and senior Brandon Gebhardt will represent the Wildcats at the national championships.

During the central regional, Callahan worked his way to winning the third-place match on a 9-2 decision over Central Baptist’s Travis Shelnutt.

Olivas swept his way through the 141-pound bracket and landed a spot in the championship match. However, Gustavo Martinez of Grand View claimed a 6-2 victory over Olivas.

Haugen earned a bid to nationals in the 149-pound weight class after winning the third-place match on a 6-4 decision.

After earning a bye in the first round of the 165-pound bracket, Sommer fell on a 5-3 decision in his first match of the day. The senior fought his way back, though, pinning back-to-back opponents. Sommer then dropped his next two matches, earning him a sixth-place finish. His performance earned him an at-large bid to nationals.

Owen added to the Wildcats’ list of top finishers by winning the third-place match in the 174-pound weight class. He earned a 4-3 victory over Grand View’s Cody Swim.

Price, 184 pounds, also won earned a third-place finish over OCU’s Cody Sivertsen on a 5-3 decision.

In a rematch of last season’s national championship, No. 1 heavyweight Gebhardt was pinned by No. 2 Eric Thompson during the regional’s first-place match.

The Wildcats will be off until the national championships March 1-2 in Des Moines, Iowa.