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Dallastown High School wrestling standout Brooks Gable commits to Air Force Academy

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Dallastown's Brooks Gable, top, wrestles Mifflin County's Ethan Kauffman in a 145-pound, first-round bout at the PIAA Class 3-A Wrestling Championships in March.
  • Dallastown High's Brooks Gable recently committed to wrestle for the Air Force Academy.
  • Gable won the District 3 Class 3-A wrestling title at 145 pounds last year as a junior.
  • Gable finished 39-7 last year for the Wildcats and has a career prep mark of 82-48.
  • Brooks Gable's brother, Clay, wrestled for Air Force from 2009 through 2013.

The Air Force Academy is more than 1,600 miles from Dallastown.

For the Gable family, however, the Colorado Springs school feels like home.

That's why Brooks Gable didn't hesitate recently when the Dallastown High School standout verbally committed to wrestle at the NCAA Division I level for the Fighting Falcons.

"I've always been a very intrinsically motivated person and I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people," said Gable, who also considered some Ivy League schools. "The coaches and wrestlers are both super-motivated. There's a great culture surrounding the program and I knew I would be able to find myself there and accomplish my goals."

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One of those goals, Gable said, is to eventually win a national title, but he's also looking to grow as a student and as a leader.

"I’d like to achieve as much as I can and tap into my full potential," he said. "... I want to be someone who can lead others and serve others."

Clay Gable

Following in Clay's footsteps: Gable will follow in the footsteps of his brother, Clay, who wrestled at the Air Force from 2009-2013, compiling a 66-43 overall record with the Falcons. Clay is still in the Air Force and is currently stationed in Colorado Springs, which just happens to be where the Air Force Academy is located.

"My brother loved the academy and that definitely had an influence on me," Brooks said. "I look up to my brother, and his experience at the academy was great. He told me about the memories he made and the things he learned there. He helped me understand the academy. But there wasn't any peer pressure to attend the academy. My family is super supportive and they were going to support me wherever I went."

Dallastown High School head wrestling coach Dave Gable.

Brooks' father, Dallastown head coach Dave Gable, fully supports his son's choice.

"I'm very happy for him," Dave said. "I think it's a unique opportunity to attend one of the best academic schools in the country, participate in a first-rate D-I wrestling program and be able to serve others as a career."

At Air Force, Brooks will get to wrestle in one of the top D-I conferences in the nation — the Big 12. Last year, the Falcons finished 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the conference.

Commitment is a selling point: Once Brooks leaves the academy, he'll have to fulfill a five-year commitment to the Air Force as an officer. He looked at that commitment as a selling point.

"There's a lot of uncertainty when students leave college right now," Brooks said. "You don't know if you are going to find employment. And when I fulfill my commitment, I can take the practical skills I learned at the academy and get a good job after leaving the Air Force."

A different look: Brooks looks a little different now than when folks in the wrestling community last saw him at the PIAA Class 3-A state tournament. He wrestled at 145 pounds then. Now, after some hard lifting in the offseason, he weighs around 175. He said he expects to wrestle at 172 next season.

PIAA NOTES: Organization finalizes move from 14 to 13 wrestling weight classes

"I got a lot stronger," Brooks said. "I definitely feel very comfortable at the weight I’m at."

The pandemic has prevented Brooks from competing in offseason tournaments, but he has been able to work out with his club program, Team Nauman in Middletown.

Progressing each year: Last year as a junior with the Wildcats, Brooks finished 39-7, winning a District 3 3-A title. That continued his steady growth as a wrestler, which has seen him go 16-19 as a freshman and 27-22 as a sophomore, for an overall high school record of 82-48.

Dallastown's Brooks Gable enjoys dominating run to District 3 3-A wrestling title at 145

Now he'd like to win a state title as a senior, just like Clay did in his senior year.

"The goal is always to come out on top," Brooks said. "I would love to win a state title. I've seen growth every year in high school. I've always been a process-oriented person. I don’t see why I can’t be on top of the podium."

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.