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NIACC’s Valdez signs with Northern Illinois

DeKALB, Ill. – NIACC’s Jose Valdez has signed a national letter of intent to wrestle next season at Northern Illinois University, a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Mid-American Conference.

Valdez, who is from Port Charlotte, Fla., claimed the 2022 NJCAA Division I national title at 197 pounds with a 6-4 sudden victory over Iowa Lakes’ Massoma Endene.

“We are excited to bring Jose on board,” Northern Illinois head coach Ryan Ludwig said. “He is a gritty competitor and his passion for the sport is what we look for in the recruiting process. We are ready to get to work with him.”

Valdez, who was the NJCAA national runner-up at 197 pounds in 2021, was a perfect 17-0 during the 2021-22 season. He compiled a career record at NIACC of 37-6 with six falls, four technical falls and seven major decisions.

Valdez is the first NIACC wrestler to sign with an NCAA Division I program since Yoanse Mejias signed with Oklahoma after the 2015 season.

Northern Illinois qualified three wrestlers for last season’s NCAA Division I national meet. Seniors Mason Kauffman (174) and Brit Wilson (184) and junior Izzak Olejnik (165) all earned national tournament berths by claiming Mid-American Conference titles.

Northern Illinois placed third at the 2022 Mid-American Conference meet.

(PHOTO of Valdez via NIACC)

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