Wrestling: Former UNI All-American Joe Colon to replace Nahshon Garrett on U.S. World Team

Cody Goodwin
The Des Moines Register

Joe Colon, a former All-American wrestler at Northern Iowa and Iowa Central, will compete at the 2018 men's freestyle world championships in Budapest, Hungary later this month.

Colon is replacing Nahshon Garrett, a former Cornell NCAA Champion who withdrew after suffering an injury during training. Garrett beat Colon at the Final X in Lehigh last June to earn the world-team spot at 61 kilograms (134 pounds).

Clear Lake native Joe Colon gets Team USA off to a fast start with a 6-4 win over India's Sandeep Tomar in their match at 61 kg during the 2018 Wrestling World Cup in Iowa City on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

"It is very unfortunate that Nahshon Garrett was injured and unable to compete in Budapest with our World Team," national freestyle coach Bill Zadick said in a release from USA Wrestling. "His preparation had been superb and we expected great things from him.

"Joe Colon has been training hard as part of our National Team, and we have confidence in his ability to compete at the highest level and challenge for a World medal at 61 kg."

This will be Colon's first time competing at the world championships. The 61-kilo men's freestyle competition is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct. 21.


A native of Clear Lake, Colon was a two-time state champion for the Lions, winning the 103-pound title in 2007 and the 125-pound crown in 2009. He attended Iowa Central after graduating, and won a junior-college national title in 2010.

From there, Colon transferred to Northern Iowa, where he won an individual Mid-American Conference title and finished third at the 2014 NCAA Championships. He currently trains at the Valley RTC in California and is a volunteer assistant coach for Fresno State.

Since graduating from Northern Iowa, Colon has pieced together a strong freestyle resume on the senior level. This summer, he won gold at the 2018 Pan American Championships, silver at the Alexander Medved International in Belarus and bronze at the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland. He also won the 2018 Dave Schultz Memorial.

In early April, Colon won a match at the UWW Freestyle World Cup in Iowa City. Later that month, he won the U.S. Open at 61 kilos, beating Garrett in a thrilling 20-13 finals match to win gold. In the final leg of the Final X series two months later, Garrett beat Colon, two matches to one, to claim the world team spot.

Now, with Garrett's withdrawal, Colon will join the rest of Team USA in Budapest. The competition features men's and women's freestyle as well as Greco-Roman. It is scheduled for Oct. 20-28.

Colon is now the fourth wrestler with an Iowa tie on the 2018 U.S. World Team. Former Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman, a 2017 world silver medalist, is the representative at 57 kilograms (125 pounds) for the men's freestyle team while Hawkeye Wrestling Club's Alli Ragan (59kg) and Forrest Molinari (65kg) are both on the women's freestyle world team.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.