ERIE, Pa., February 24, 2019 – Former Ellis Tech wrestling star Jo Jo Gonzalez from Willimantic has qualified to wrestle at the NCAA Division II national championships on March 8-9 in Cleveland on the campus of Cleveland State.
Gonzalez, a sophomore at American International College (AIC) in Springfield, earned his NCAA tournament berth by finishing third at 157 pounds at the NCAA Super Regional 1 in Pennsylvania.
After dropping his match of the tournament to Mercyhurt’s Kevin Kinyua, 5-3, Gonzalez won three straight including a win over Kinyua in the consolation final to earn his first berth to the NCAA Division II nationals.
Kinyua had a pair of takedowns to build a 4-3 lead after one period and he added to it with a third period escape.
In his first consolation round bout, Gonzalez built up an 8-1 lead after one period with a pair of takedowns and a four-point near fall against Long Island University Post’s Eduardo Ramirez. Gonzalez remained calm and fought off his back in the final 30 seconds to survive with an 11-9 decision.
In the consolation semifinals, Gonzalez pinned Kutztown’s Chad Haegele in 2:23.
In the consolation final with a bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line, Gonzalez came out on top with a big pin in 1:49 to finish third and secure his ticket to the nationals. Once again, Kinyua got a pair of first period takedowns to take a 4-1 lead but Gonzalez got a reversal with 1:39 left in the period and pinned Kinyua 10 seconds later.
Gonzalez improves to 31-4 on the year including a mark of 19-1 at 149 pounds. He is 8-2 at 157 pounds.