George Van Valen (Ithaca) capped an amazing career at Alfred State by winning the National Title at the 2018 NCWA Championships in Allen, TX. Teammate Ryan Mattison (Brockport) earned 5th place in the heavyweight bracket.
Van Valen squared off with the #3 seed Jerron Thomas from Mott CC in the championship match of 184 lbs. He jumped out to a 8-1 lead after the 1st period and after an early escape in the 2nd period he took full control of the match and raced to a 16-1 tech fall victory. He finishes the tournament with a 5-0 record and outscored his opponents 74-2. For his dominating performance, Van Valen was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament.
This is the third time Van Valen has earned NCWA All-American honors. He finished 4th in 2016 and 2nd in 2017. He finishes the season 42-1 on the year and is 81-8 during the last two seasons.
Mattison entered the day on Saturday guaranteed a spot in the top eight of the heavyweight bracket. He started the day off with a pin of Austin Wells (Middle Tennessee State) in 4:12 to advance to the consolation semifinals. In his next match he was downed by Donavan Lozada (Springfield Tech) but he was able to rebound to earn a tight 3-2 decision over Dominick Johnson (Liberty) in the 5th place match.
In the 5th place match, neither wrestler scored in the 1st period. Mattison started the 2nd period on top but Johnson took a 1-0 lead with an escape. Mattison responded with the only takedown of the match before Johnson tied it in the late moments of the 2nd with another escape. Early in the 3rd period, Mattison escaped the hold of Johnson and he was able to hold the lead the rest of the way to claim 5th place. For the tournament, he finished 5-2 and he finishes 24-16 on the year.
The Pioneers finished the three-day tournament with 73 points to earn 11th place out of the 79 teams that competed.