Joe Colon, a State champion wrestler from Clear Lake who went on to compete for the University of Northern Iowa, has been named to the 2018 Freestyle World Cup Team.
Colon currently serves as a Fresno State Wrestling volunteer assistant coach and Valley Regional Training Center athlete.
The World Cup is the annual international freestyle dual meet championships and provides a showcase for the world’s best wrestlers just a few weeks after the conclusion of the U.S. college wrestling season. The World Cup will feature the top eight men’s freestyle wrestling teams in the world and this will be the 30th time the United States has hosted the event, the most of any nation. The United States will welcome teams from Cuba, Japan, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
“It means a lot to me to be named to the World Cup Team and to represent the United States at this great event,” said Colon while attending the Big 12 Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma last week.
He hopes the distinction will motivate current student-athletes at Fresno State to continue to work to achieve the World Cup level.
The 2018 Freestyle World Cup will be hosted at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on April 7-8.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena was the host venue of both the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
The Clear Lake native was a two-time state champion in high school at Clear Lake, capturing titles as a sophomore in 2007 and senior in 2009 while finishing third as a junior in 2008. After high school Colon moved on to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge where he won the 2010 NJCAA national championship at 125-pounds and was named the NJCAA Tournament Outstanding Wrestler as the Tritons won the national championship. After his time in the junior college ranks, Colon made his way to Cedar Falls, Iowa where he compiled a 62-6 overall mark in his two seasons competing for the University of Northern Iowa. He went 27-4 as a redshirt sophomore in 2011-12, advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship, falling one match shy of becoming an All-American.
After sitting out the 2013 season, Colon came back as a senior in 2013-14 and went 35-2. He finished his career at UNI in first in the school’s career win percentage (.911) and his senior season winning percentage of .946 ranked third-best for a single season in UNI history. He finished his career a perfect 24-0 in duals and gave up bonus points in only one of his 68 career matches.
Colon moved on to compete post-collegiately with the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club. He won the Bill Farrell International championship, finished fourth at the World Team trials and fifth at the U.S. Open in 2014. The following year, he punched his ticket on to Team USA by finishing second at the U.S. World Team Trials, third at the Cerro Oelado International meet and fourth at the U.S. Open.
Most recently, Colon, who lives in Fresno, Calif., competed on February 24-25 in Kiev, Ukraine at the XXII Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial. In his first match he pinned Russian Aital Zakarov. He posted a 6-2 win over Kuat Amirtaev, of Kazistan, in his second match. In the quarterfinal Colon was a 4-0 winner 4-0 over Petro Bileichuk, Ukraine, to advance to the semifinals. He was stopped in the semi-final round by seventh ranked Beka Lomtadze, of Georgia, but bounced back to defeat 2017 Yasar Dogu Champion Galib Aliyev, of Azerbaijan, for bronze at 61KG.