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AIC’s Gonzalez drops pair of matches at NCAA Div. 2 nationals

Former Ellis Tech wrestler Jo Jo Gonzalez was the first AIC wrestler since 2012 to compete at the NCAA Division II nationals. (RJB Sports photo courtesy AIC Athletics)

CLEVELAND, March 9 – American International College sophomore Baltazar (Jo Jo) Gonzalez, the first AIC wrestler to qualify for the NCAA Division II national championships since 2012, dropped both of his matches at 157 pounds in the tournament.

Gonzalez, who won five straight matches at the NCAA Super Regional 1 to earn his invitation to the nationals, was pinned in his first match by Jake Barzowski of St. Cloud State (Minnesota) in 1:42.

In his second match, Gonzalez faced Austin Palmer of Newberry College (South Carolina). Palmer took a 5-1 lead in the second period thanks to an escape and a pair of takedowns before pinning Gonzalez in 5:30 in the third period.

“It was a phenomenal experience to go to nationals,” Gonzalez said. “Competing at this stage is something I will never forget. I saw what I need to fix in the future to make it to the podium at nationals.”

Gonzalez finished 30-7 on the year. He was the only AIC wrestler to qualify for the national tournament.

“JoJo wrestled well. It’s eye-opening for athletes to know what they need to work on at the Division II level,” AIC head coach Rich Hasenfus said. “We are excited to get to work as we prepare to train in Mongolia for 10 days.”

The most recent Connecticut All-American in Division II was Griswold’s Brock Coutu, who was third in 2013 for Nebraska-Kearney.

Connecticut Wrestling Online has been covering the sport of wrestling in Connecticut and New England since 2001.

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