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Camacho beats top seed to earn spot in challenge tournament final

Danbury native Jakob Camacho beat top-seeded Matthew Ramos to earn a spot in the U.S. World Team Challenge Tournament on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Sam Janicki /

Danbury native Jakob Camacho beat top-seeded Matthew Ramos of Boilermaker RTC to advance to the finals of the U.S. World Team Trials challenge tournament in men’s freestyle at 57 kilograms (125.6 pounds) Saturday in Coralville, Iowa.

Camacho, who will be a junior at North Carolina State in the fall, beat Ramos, 11-7 to advance to Sunday’s best-of-3 final against Vito Arujau, the two-time All-American from Cornell.

The winner of the challenge tournament will advance to Final X Stillwater on June 3 to face Thomas Gilman in a best-of-3 series for a berth on the U.S. world championship team. Gilman won the 2021 world championship and an Olympic bronze medal in 2020 at 57 kilograms.

No. 4 seed Camacho, who is representing the Wolfpack Wrestling Club, took a 3-0 lead on Ramos, who just completed his freshman year at Purdue, after one period. Camacho got a takedown with 44 seconds left in the period and an additional point because Ramos was on the shot clock for being passive.

Wrestlers get one warning about being passive. After that, if they get called for passivity, they have 30 seconds to get a shot off or lose a point.

Ramos rallied in the second period with a four-point move and a point for pushing Camacho out of bounds to take a 5-3 lead. Wrestlers get penalized one point for being pushed out of bounds.

Camacho rallied quickly getting a takedown with 1:20 remaining to tie the match at 5-5. With 35 seconds, Camacho got a four-point move to take a 9-5 lead. Camacho extended the lead to 11-5 with another takedown with 16 seconds left but that was reversed on an appeal from Ramos’ coaches with Ramos getting another point to cut the lead to three, 9-6.

Ramos earned another point quickly with six seconds left by pushing Camacho off the mat to cut the lead to 9-7. But Camacho got another takedown as time expired for an 11-7 victory.

It was sweet revenge for Camacho, who lost to Ramos on criteria in the semifinals of the recent U.S. Open championship tournament in Las Vegas in April.

Camacho advanced to the semifinal with a 9-4 win over Anthony Molton of Buies Creek Wrestling Club, 9-4.

Arujau, who won a silver medal at the Junior World championships in 2018, beat Zane Richards in the semifinals, 7-0.

2022 World Team Trials challenge tournament

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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