Class of 2000
Wrestling & Coaching
When Gabe Hamel started wrestling - his freshman year at South Eugene, he was destined for remarkable things not only in athletic competition, but in the game of life.
After breaking his collarbone one month before the district tournament his junior year, Hamel was cleared to participate one day prior to the event. As an unseeded participant, he would go on to defeat the third-seeded wrestler at the district tournament and qualify for the state tournament.
Hamel, wrestling at 125 pounds, would set the stage for his final year of competition. Achieving an undefeated record in the state, Hamel became the fourth South Eugene High School state champion. Seeded second at the state tournament, Hamel defeated Kenny Sessler of West Linn, 8-6.
Hamel was the first Axe wrestler in 25 years to win a state championship. It’s also been 24 years since he won the title, making Hamel the only wrestler in the last 49 years at SEHS to win the state's coveted trophy.
Hamel joined Rick Rexius (1975, 136 pounds), Randy Robinson (1973, 130 pounds), and Jim Thorpe (1970, 141 pounds) as the other Axe wrestling state champions. Hamel is one of three Axe wrestlers in the school's hall of fame joining Robinson (2011) and Michael Cooperman (2021).
Before graduating from South Eugene, Hamel joined an Army National Guard Infantry Unit. After graduating high school, he wrestled in the Down Under Games in Australia, winning two tournaments. In 2002, he competed in powerlifting competitions breaking three bench press state records and placing second at the 2002 Worlds.
He once did 94 diamond pushups in a minute, bettering the previous world’s best of 84.
In 2003, Hamel was deployed with the 162nd Infantry Regiment serving a combat tour in Iraq on a 14-month deployment. In 2005, a year after returning home from the Iraq War with the United States Army, Hamel began the next chapter of his life purchasing his first investment property.
With no money at the time or a college education, Hamel started using creative financing strategies to start his journey of financial freedom through real estate investing. To date, he has built a $60 million real estate portfolio consisting of multi-family properties, mobile home parks, mixed-use commercial buildings, and Triple-Net Commercial Industrial complexes throughout the county.
Hamel returned to SEHS becoming the head wrestling coach from 2006-2013.
Hamel lives in Oregon with his wife, Alyssa, and their two children, and prioritizes a few things in his life: family, health, happiness, travel, and building wealth through real estate.
He said, “The confidence, the determination, and the discipline learned in the South Eugene High School wrestling room is one that carries with him in all aspects of his personal and professional life.”