University of Northern Iowa wrestler Joe Colon earned an All-American title with a third place finish at the NCAA National Tournament held in Oklahoma City over the weekend. Colon, who wrestles at 133 pounds for the Panthers, was a former Clear Lake High School standout.
UNI had three wrestlers earn All-American status, which is the first time since 2002.
“We have to win tough matches in tough situations, and Colon is the guy who did that for us,” said Coach Doug Schwab.
On the first day, Colon beat Vincent Delleface, of Rutgers, by major decision, 9-1. He went on to beat Matt Manley, of Missouri, 5-1.
On day two, Colon picked up a major decision, 19-9, against number eight David Thorn, of Minnesota. It was Tyler Graff, of Wisconsin, who sent Colon to the consolation round. He earned a 6-4 decision over Colon.
On the third day, Colon dominated his first match to beat Mason Beckman, of Lehigh, 4-0. Colon won a rematch, 1-0, against number two rated A.J. Schopp, of Edinboro, to place third.
Colon’s rise in the rankings came after a win earlier in the season when he beat Schopp and Ramos in back-to-back matches at the Midlands en route to a championship.
“It hurts,” said Colon, a senior at UNI. “I don’t have another chance to be a national champ, but I can go get bigger things in life: coach someone to a national championship, help some of the guys in the room become a national champ, help this team - help UNI - become national team champs. I don’t know where that is going to take me, I’m just going to take the same path I’ve been taking and keep my head up.”