On the Mats by KJ Pilcher

Ramos will pursue freestyle career

Focus turns to 2016 Rio Olympics

Iowa City has become home for Tony Ramos.

The Carol Stream, Ill., native and University of Iowa NCAA champion plans to extend his stay.

Ramos will continue his wrestling career as a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club with his sights set on competing in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ramos closed his college career as a three-time All-American and four-time national qualifier, winning the 133-pound title in March. He also earned a Big Ten championship, posting a 120-14 career mark as a Hawkeye. An NCAA championship wasn’t the decisive factor but it did make options available.

“I think it would have made the same decision,” said Ramos, confirming that he will wrestle 57 KG (125.5 pounds) for freestyle. “I think the opportunities would have been a lot different. I don’t think there would have been as many coaching offers. I don’t think there would have been as many interviews.

The speculation surrounding his future included a possible career in freestyle, coaching and mixed martial arts.

“It was a tough decision,” Ramos said. “It was something that I had to decide what I want to do next.”

Ramos consulted family and friends about his next move, including his fiancee, Megan Eskew, who coached Iowa City Regina’s volleyball team to the 2013 state meet. Ramos made his decision, planning to celebrate one of the biggest decisions of his personal life.

“I’m getting ready to get married, so I’m getting all that stuff done and having fun with that,” said Ramos, admitting he wanted a more grand event than Eskew. “I actually like that kind of stuff.”

It comes at a time when Ramos is bridging the gap from folkstyle in college to international competition. He has taken some time off the mat, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working.

“I’m not really staying away, because I’m in the room but not wrestling,” Ramos said. “I’m watching film. I’m lifting and doing cardio to stay in shape.”

Ramos will continue to work with World champions Terry and Tom Brands. He expects to contribute to the Hawkeyes wrestling program while contending for a World and Olympic title and aspiring to be a coach.

Ramos has developed a website (http://www.teamramos.co/) to promote his international endeavors, including the mission of inspiring youth to follow their dreams and that anything is possible with the support of family and a relentless attitude joined by a desire to win.

He hasn’t ruled out a run at the 2014 World Championships.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Ramos said. “We’re figuring out a plan and going from there.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@sourcemedia.net


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