Ramirez Earns All-American Status
The Mavs have a nationally-ranked wrestler amongst them, after he and three other Wrestling Club members advanced to the National Collegiate Wrestling Championships in Hampton, Va.
The four men traveled over 1,300 miles to compete against other wrestlers for the coveted title of All-American, denoting a wrestler’s rank of at least No. 8 nationwide.
Kinesiology junior Ray Ramirez achieved that goal and is now ranked No. 8 and considered an All-American wrestler. He said clinching the honor was the biggest accomplishment of his life.
“I learned that you have to be mentally tough and keep your head straight and focused on the task at hand,” he said.
Ramirez said he plans to return to nationals next year and train harder in the meantime.
“I’m not perfect. There’s always something to work on,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement.”
Ramirez won his first and second matches, lost the third and won his fourth match. He won national recognition after losing in a match that determined seventh and eighth place All-Americans.
Head technique coach Gabriel Reyes described the three other Fightin’ Mavs, who left Virginia without any accolades, as high on hope and working to qualify again for the 2011 tournament.
Inexperience with national competitions factored into the wrestlers’ performances, the coach said. But he added that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“They’re trained properly,” he said. “They took the right avenue to championships.”
Kinesiology junior Chris Corry lost in his first match, won the second, then lost again in the third. He said he was nervous and didn’t know what to expect at the championships.
“The intensity of the matches was a lot higher than I expected,” he said. “I know that next year I need to wrestle like my life depends on it.”
Business management sophomore Matt Morgan also lost his first match, recovered with a win in the second, but lost in his third contest, knocking him out of the tournament. He said he would return to UTA with a higher level of competitiveness.
“It was a reality check,” Morgan said. “It showed me what I need to work on to be an All-American next year.”
Kinesiology junior Jose Lazo lost the round in which the All-American title hung in the balance. He said he now knows what it takes to win the title next year, and ultimately wants to coach high school wrestling. Just qualifying was amazing, he added.
Reyes said all the wrestlers dealt well with the pressures of the competition.
“They’ve performed very well and they’re already thinking about next year and wanting to win it all,” he said. “It’s inspiring.”
Reyes said the championships were also a test of his performance as a coach. When a coach has new wrestlers, he has to gain their trust and bring the team together. Reyes said he succeeded and that the team banded together.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better year,” he said. “I’m very proud.”