DES MOINES, Iowa – The last Bulldog left standing, Alberto Garcia officially etched his name into the record books as the 10th individual in Concordia University wrestling history to earn All-America accolades. The native of Escondido, Calif., began the second and final day (March 2) of the 2019 NAIA Wrestling National Championships still with a shot at winning a national title. He ultimately wound up in fourth place at 133 pounds.
First-year head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad qualified five grapplers for the national championships. They combined for 17 team points, which put the Bulldogs in 26th place in the NAIA.
Based on his No. 12 seed, Garcia was not a favorite to land on the podium at the national championships. He made big waves on day one by upsetting fifth-seeded Zachary Durbin of Missouri Valley College and then fourth-seeded GPAC champion Julian Gaytan of Midland. Those wins moved him to the semifinals for a matchup with No. 1 Shiquan Hall of Grand View University (Iowa). Garcia was dealt a 10-4 defeat, dropping him to the consolation bracket. That’s when the Palomar College transfer pulled off his third win of the weekend over a top 10 seeded opponent (17-10 triumph over No. 10 D’earion Stokes of Briar Cliff). Garcia’s run ended in the third-place match with a 9-6 loss to Dickinson State University (N.D.)’s third-seeded Gresh Jones.
Garcia recorded three of Concordia’s five victories on the weekend. Deandre Chery and Walker Fisher (both at 174 pounds) produced a win apiece before being eliminated. Meanwhile, Zack Moistner (133) and Michael Stann (285) went 0-2 in their first experiences at the NAIA national championships.
It was an overall solid 2018-19 season for the Bulldogs, who shared the GPAC dual title and then placed fourth at the conference tournament. The program has won GPAC championships in four of the past five seasons. It has also had at least one All-American in six-straight years.
Concordia All-Time All-Americans
Ken Burkhardt Jr. (2015, 2016, 2017)
Giovanni Castillo (2018)
Kodie Cole (2015, 2016)
Ceron Francisco (2015, 2017)
Alberto Garcia (2019)
Adam Joseph (2012)
Austin Mogg (2014)
Andrew Schulte (2015, *2016)
Julian Silva (2012)
Jacob Williams (2012)
*NAIA National Champion