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Sebastian Rivera secures Olympic qualification through triumphant performance in the 2023 World Championship semi-finals


Sep 18, 2023

Sebastián Rivera, the winner of the Rutgers Wrestling Award, has secured a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. This comes after his victory in the semifinals of the 2023 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Rivera defeated Vazgen Tebanyan of Armenia in the 65kg weight class, making him a world finalist. He will be competing against Ismail Muskayev of Hungary for the gold medal tomorrow. Rivera’s coaches, Jeff Buxton and Donny Pritzlaff, have been supporting him throughout the championship.

Rivera’s path to the semifinals was not an easy one. He had to win three consecutive technical matches to make it to the semifinals against Tebanyan. In the final period of the match, Rivera was trailing 9-4. However, he managed to score two consecutive takedowns and earned two points, resulting in a come-from-behind victory with a score of 10-9. Rivera’s recent achievements include winning a bronze medal with Team Puerto Rico at the 2023 Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the 65kg weight class, he defeated Álvaro Rudesindo Camacho of the Dominican Republic with a score of 9-2, securing third place in the championship. Rivera also had victories against Mateus da Luz Barreto of Brazil and Uber Euclides Cuero Muñoz of Colombia in the tournament.

Rivera’s success in wrestling is not new. He has a decorated career, finishing second at last year’s Pan American Championships, fifth at the 2022 UWW Senior World Championships, and winning the Spanish Grand Prix with Matello Perricone. During his final college season at Rutgers, Rivera had an impressive record of 30-1 and aimed for a third-place finish at the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Detroit. He is now the fourth Scarlet Knight to finish in the top three at a national tournament, joining the ranks of Anthony Ashnault, Nick Suriano, and Mike Rita. Rivera and Rita are the only national bronze medalists in Rutgers’ wrestling program history. Rivera also led the nation for Tech Falls last season, earning 14 points, and had 25 wins with bonus points. In his college career, Rivera became a five-time All-American (four NCAA, one NWCA) and a two-time Big Ten champion. He achieved a total of 115 career wins at Northwestern University and Rutgers University, including 20 wins in the NCAA Tournament and 42 wins with the Scarlet Knights.

By Editor

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