Newton, NJ Wrestler To Compete at Olympic Trials
Matt Valenti has won dozens of wrestling tournaments in his life. If he wins his next one, he could be an Olympian. Valenti, who graduated just across the Section 9 border at Kittatinny Regional High School, is making his final preparations for the US Olympic Team Trials which take place on Saturday and Sunday in Iowa. He wrestles in the freestyle division and competes at 60KG (132.25 lbs). The 2012 Olympics will be held in London, England.
If Valenti is able to win the 60KG weight class this weekend, he still is not guaranteed an Olympic bid. Because the United States has not yet qualified for the Olympics at 60KG in freestyle, USA Wrestling has decided that two of the top wrestlers at this weight, Reece Humphrey and Shawn Bunch, will not be entered in the 2012 US Olympic Team Trials and will instead continue to prepare for a World Olympic Qualifying tournament in China. If either Humphrey or Bunch are able to qualify the US at 60KG, they will be given a chance to challenge the winner of this weekend’s tournament for the Olympic spot.
Valenti graduated from high school in 2002 as a 2X New Jersey state champion. During his senior year, he finished second at the high school nationals and first at the freestyle Junior Nationals. After graduating high school, Valenti took his talents to the Ivy League where he wrestled for the University of Pennsylvania. In college, Valenti was a 2X NCAA champion at 133 pounds and finished 5th at 125 pounds as a sophomore thus making him a 3X NCAA D1 All-American!
Since college, Valenti has served as an assistant coach for Columbia (2007-2009) and Penn (2009-current) while simultaneously training for for the London 2012 Olympics. He had this to say about his Olympic aspirations. “I’m really excited to compete at the Olympic Trials. It is a childhood dream of mine to represent the United States at the Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal. I’ve dedicated so much of my life to accomplishing this goal and no matter what happens I know that I will have given my all. I’m thankful for all of the support of family, friends and coaches that I’ve had along the way.”
Matt, you can rest assured that the entire Section 9 wrestling community is rooting for you! Good luck!!!