125 – Mario Ybarra
157 – Gabe Crawford
285 – *Tanner Farmer
133 – Alberto Garcia
141 – Chris Kimball
184 – Darrin Miller
141 – Cam Devers
174 – Deandre Chery
*GPAC Wrestler of the Year
SEWARD, Neb. – Champions of the GPAC regular season and postseason, the Concordia University wrestling team has raked in an impressive haul of 2019-20 all-conference awards. Most notably, head coach Levi Calhoun was named the GPAC Coach of the Year while senior heavyweight Tanner Farmer garnered the GPAC Wrestler of the Year award. Farmer was one of eight Bulldog wrestlers to be rewarded with some form of all-conference recognition.
Farmer also landed on the all-conference first team along with teammates in sophomore Mario Ybarra (125) and junior Gabe Crawford (157). Second team accolades went to seniors Alberto Garcia (133), Chris Kimball (141) and Darrin Miller (184). Meanwhile, seniors Cam Devers (141) and Deandre Chery (174) achieved All-GPAC honorable mention status.
Calhoun is the program’s third coach to be recognized as a GPAC Coach of the Year, joining Dana Vote (2015, 2016) and Andrew Nicola (2017). In two seasons as head coach, Calhoun has guided Concordia to two GPAC dual titles and a combined conference dual mark of 15-1. The 2019-20 Bulldogs captured three individual GPAC championships and qualified eight wrestlers for the national championships. Prior to being elevated to head coach, Calhoun spent three seasons as an assistant at Concordia.
Dating back to 2014, Farmer is the fifth Bulldog to be named GPAC Wrestler of the Year. Previous Concordia award winners were Emilio Rivera (2014), Enrique Barajas (2015), Andrew Schulte (2016) and Ceron Francisco (2017). Entering the national championships, Farmer is a perfect 22-0 (nine pins) and is ranked as the NAIA’s No. 2 heavyweight. Along the way, the former Nebraska Cornhusker offensive lineman collected three GPAC Wrestler of the Week awards and seized four tournament titles – Hastings Open, Missouri Valley Invite, Edmonds Open and GPAC Championships.
Ybarra moved up to the all-conference first team after picking up honorable mention accolades last season as a freshman. The native of Scottsbluff, Neb., won the 125-pound GPAC title while backing up his No. 1 seed within the conference. Ybarra will head into the NAIA national tournament with an overall record of 20-7. He also achieved tournament place finishes at the Dakota Wesleyan Open and the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open.
Crawford, who hails from Virginia Beach, Va., emerged as one of the surprises of the GPAC tournament while winning the 157-pound title. During that run, Crawford avenged two losses that occurred earlier in the season – both wrestlers who were ranked above him at the conference level. Crawford (17-11) defeated Jamestown’s Carsen Paynter in the GPAC championship match.
A fourth-place national finisher and All-American in 2019, Garcia has been tabbed second team All-GPAC for the second year in a row. The native of Escondido, Calif., got his season started late but managed to take second place at 133 pounds at the conference tournament. At 141, Kimball will be headed to nationals for the second time in three years. The San Marcos, Calif., native placed as the GPAC runner up in his weight class and owns a mark of 16-8 (three pins). Also second place in the GPAC at 184, Miller moved his record to 16-6 at the conference tournament. The native of Othello, Wash., will be headed to nationals for the first time.
Chery (second team all-conference in 2018; first team all-conference in 2019) was chosen as an at-large selection and will make the third appearance of his career at nationals. The two-time GPAC champion placed fourth in the 174-pound weight class at the 2020 conference tournament. Chery, hometown of Miami Gardens, Fla., owns an 18-9 record with 11 pins. Finally, Devers fell just short of a national tournament bid while placing fourth in the GPAC at 149. He finished the season with an 18-8 record (six pins).
The eight Concordia national qualifiers now get set for the 2020 NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Park City, Kan., March 6-7. The Bulldogs will look to improve upon their 2019 national finish of 26th.