ERIE, Pennsylvania, February 29, 2020 – American International College junior JoJo Gonzalez has qualified to participate in the NCAA Division II wrestling national championship tournament for the second consecutive year.
Gonzalez, a former State Open champion at Ellis Tech in Danielson, won a Super Regional 1 championship at 157 pounds on Saturday at Mercyhurst, helping the Yellowjackets finish eighth in the field of 11 teams. He is the first AIC wrestler to win a regional title in 19 years — 2001.
The NCAA Division II national championship tournament is March 13-14 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Gonzalez (33-6) looked sharp in winning the Super Region I tournament. He beat Shippensburg’s Patrick Duggan in his first match, 8-1 and dominated Mercyhurst’s Mike Clark in the semifinals by technical fall, 17-2, in 6:11. Gonzalez had five takedowns and two near falls in the victory.
His most impressive match came in the finals when Gonzalez executed a smooth reversal that transitioned into a pin of Gannon’s Evan Fisher in 3:14 to secure first place and an NCAA tournament berth. It was his 15th pin of the year.
Last March, Gonzalez went 0-2 at the NCAA Div. II nationals and finished 30-7 on the season. He had won three straight consolation round matches to earn a spot to finish third in the Super Region I and earn a spot at the nationals.
Former Montville High wrestler Joel Morth went 2-2 at 149 pounds for AIC and finished fourth at the Super Regional, one spot shy of earning a NCAA tournament berth.
Morth defeated DeAndre Reed (Shippensburg) in the opening round by an intense 5-2 decision. Morth dropped his second match to the two-time national champion Chris Eddings, Jr., from Pitt-Johnstown.
In the consolation bracket, Morth pinned his next opponent in just 38 seconds. His pin came from an excellent reversal to start the bout. In the third-place bout, Morth faced Reed, the opponent he defeated in the opening round. Reed was able to avenge his first-round loss with a 3-1 victory, getting a takedown with 15 seconds remaining in the match.
There are six regional tournaments that serve as qualifying tournaments for the NCAA Division II tournament.