Senior heavyweight Brandon Gebhardt finished out his collegiate career with his second straight appearance in the National finals. Gebhardt was one seven Baker wrestlers that qualified for the national championships and one of two NAIA All-Americans.
Gebhardt earned the Heart of America Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Week award three times this season. He was the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the nation until he met No. 2-ranked Eric Thompson of Grand View University in the championship of the NAIA Central Region Qualifying Group Tournament. It was a rematch of last year’s national championship match and again Thompson got the better of Gebhardt, recording a pin.
Gebhardt entered nationals with a 36-5 mark on the season. He became Baker’s first two-time national finalist by winning three tough matches, earning decisions of 3-0, 2-1 and 4-2 to set up another rematch with Thompson.
Once again, Thompson pinned Gebhardt, ending Gebhardt’s wrestling career one win shy of his ultimate goal.
Before Gebhardt became one of the nation’s top collegiate wrestlers, he was a two-time state champion for the Reed Raiders.