Chery, Stann highlight All-GPAC award winners

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 21, 2019 in Wrestling

GPAC Wrestling All-Conference

Deandre Chery, First Team
Michael Stann, First Team
Walker Fisher, Second Team
Alberto Garcia, Second Team
Mario Ybarra, Honorable Mention

SEWARD, Neb. – Instrumental in the team’s 2018-19 GPAC dual title run, junior Deandre Chery and redshirt freshman Michael Stann have been named first team all-conference selections, as announced by the GPAC on Wednesday (Feb. 20). They were joined with All-GPAC honors by teammates in senior Walker Fisher (second team), junior Alberto Garcia (second team) and freshman Mario Ybarra (honorable mention).

First-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s 2018-19 Bulldogs shared the GPAC dual title and then placed fourth at the conference championships on Feb. 16. Concordia qualified five wrestlers for next week’s NAIA national championships.

Chery re-established himself as the conference’s top 174-pound competitor this winter. The native of Miami Gardens, Fla., successfully defended his 2018 GPAC title and fell only once this season against a conference opponent. On the way to qualifying for nationals for the second year in a row, Chery has gone 34-9 overall (9-1 duals) with a team high 17 pins. In the most recent rankings, Chery checked in at No. 10 in the NAIA at 174 pounds. The North Miami High School product moved up to the GPAC’s first team this season after garnering second team honors as a sophomore last season.

Stann put together an impressive first collegiate season on the mat. A native of Temecula, Calif., Stann was the conference’s heavyweight runner up. His 36 wins lead the team while his 16 pins rank second behind only Chery. Throughout the campaign, Stann earned place finishes at five tournaments and emerged with an instrumental pin in a comeback dual win at Midland on Nov. 15. He is currently ranked 10th in the NAIA at 285 and is getting set for his first career appearance at the national tournament.

Fisher has battled through injury this season but rose to the occasion last week at the conference championships. He locked up his first career bid to the national championships by making his way to the 174-pound GPAC title match. Fisher owns a record of 13-7 (four pins), including a 3-0 mark in GPAC duals. The Ashland, Neb., native will enter the national tournament with 54 career wins.

Garcia emerged as an NAIA automatic qualifier out of perhaps the GPAC’s most challenging weight class – 133. He placed third at the conference championships after successfully shaking off a semifinal loss. Ranked eighth in the NAIA at 133, Garcia is now 15-3 overall with a trio of pins this season. The native of Escondido, Calif., lost only once in nine tries against GPAC opponents. Garcia is a transfer from Palomar College.

Ybarra enjoyed a solid first collegiate season. The rookie from Scottsbluff, Neb., ranked third on the team with 25 victories, four of which came by pin. The 125-pounder reached the GPAC semifinals at his weight before eventually settling for fifth place in the conference. Ybarra cracked the NAIA national rankings at various times this season. He placed at three tournaments and went 6-4 against conference opponents.

Concordia’s national qualifiers now get set for the 2019 NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, March 1-2.