By Michael Domagala
Joe Calderone, a senior physical education major at LIU Post, was named an All-American wrestler for the second time in his collegiate career after a fifth-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships on March 3 and 4.
Calderone, who stands 5-foot-8, and weighs 141 pounds, lost a 9-7 decision to McKendree University’s Darren Wynn in the opening round, but responded with a 12-2 victory against Adams State’s Dylan Udero.
Calderone finished the first day of the weekend matches with a 9-8 win over California Baptist’s Andrew Schulte.
Calderone took down University of Indianapolis’ Nick Crume in a 3-2 match on Sunday, but came up short in a 13-11 match against Drew Walker of Notre Dame.
This allowed him to compete for fifth-place against King’s College’s Bryce Killian later that day. Calderone earned a 5-0 shutout decision to win fifth-place and earn his second career All-American honor.
The now two-time All-American opened his championship run against University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Airk Furseth, but came up short in a low-scoring 3-2 match. Calderone kept his championship alive with a bounce-back 10-2 win against Adam Hedin of St. Cloud State, but fell short in a 2-1 loss to Notre Dame’s Kelan McKenna.
“It’s an honor,” Calderone said of becoming a two-time All-American wrestler.
Maturing and gaining more confidence over the years allowed him to reach this feat for a second time. He was first named All American as a freshman.
“The difference [between both All-American years] was maturity and confidence,” Calderone said. “When I was a freshman, becoming an All-American was a dream of mine and I did it. This past season, my goal was to win a national title. I believed I could beat everyone I set foot with, [and] if I lost, I would study and analyze the reasons for the loss and fix it.”
With one year left of collegiate sports eligibility, Calderone is looking to remain dominant and become an All-American wrestler for a third time in his graduate season.
But his goal since his freshman year is to win the national tournament.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.