Oneonta's James Bethel closes out collegiate career with a third place finish at NCAA championships
March 09, 2019


A Quick Look

SUNY Oneonta senior wrestler James Bethel (Saugerties/Saugerties) closed out the greatest career in the nearly 60-year history of the program today by winning three matches on the final day of the 2019 NCAA Division III championships to earn a third place finish. He leaves the championships as the only four-time All-American in program history while being the all-time leader in wins and pins. Bethel's other placements at nationals were fourth (2015), fifth (2017) and second last year.

The Inside Story

Bethel dominated each of his three opponents today beginning with Connor Calkins of RIT. Bethel never let Calkins in the match and had him on the defensive throughout en route to a 14-1 major decision.

His next match was against the No. 6 seed in the bracket Drew Kasper of Otterbein. This match would be no different for Bethel, as he continued his dominance posting a 16-2 major decision to move into the third place match.

In his final collegiate match, Bethel faced a familiar foe in Jake O'Brien of Ithaca who was seeded seventh in the bracket. Bethel kept his perfect record against O'Brien for the year taking him down 4-0.

"I came out here looking to take it all," said Bethel. "I hit a bump in that path and was forced to aim for the next best thing. Not many people can say that they ended their career on a win, so I will take pride in that, and be happy that I was able to achieve the status of a four time All-American. Gold is nice, but bronze shines just as well."

Head Coach Duane Ritter had this to say, "It's been an amazing run. I am very proud of his perseverance with coming back and taking third. His presence both on and off the mat will be severely missed. He has forever changed the culture of our program with his leadership. He has been a voice for SUNY Oneonta Athletics that we will miss dearly, and we are extremely proud of all that he has accomplished."

Just the Stats
Bethel finishes his senior season with an overall record of 50-2 with 30 pins. For his career, he compiled a record of 167-16 with 91 pins. His winning percentage was .913 and 55 percent of his wins came by pin.