James Bethel named ECWC ‘Co-Wrestler of the Year’

Apr. 8, 2019

James Bethel selected as ECWC Co-Wrestler of the Year

Accolades keep rolling in for the senior

Ithaca, N.Y. – The Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference (ECWC) has announced its 2018-19 individual award winners. The announcement came after a week-long process of open voting for three distinct awards, as the conference looked to crown honorees for Wrestler of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. Earning honors as Co-Wrestler of the Year was SUNY Oneonta senior James Bethel who shared the honor with Jake Ashcroft of Ithaca College.

“James being selected as the Co-Wrestler of the Year for the ECWC is yet another exceptional accolade to add to his extremely long list of achievements both on and off the mats here at SUNY Oneonta,” stated Head Coach Duane Ritter. “It has truly been a pleasure to coach and mentor this wonderful young man throughout his amazing journey to the top. His legacy has been forever forged not only in the record books, but in our hearts as well and will remain there for many years to come.”

This is the latest accolade for arguably the greatest grappler in the nearly 60-year history of the wrestling program. Bethel capped an amazing final chapter to his career by finishing third at the NCAA Division III championships to earn his fourth All-American honor, a first for Oneonta. He had a season to remember posting an overall record of 50-2 for the year, which included an NCAA Mideast Regional Championship and a fourth trip to NCAA Nationals.

Bethel’s 50-2 campaign was impressive not just because of the sheer volume of victories, but also the dominance in those triumphs. Of his 50 wins, 30 came by way of falls. He was named NCAA’s Most Dominant Wrestler in Division III, averaging more than five team-points per bout in the composite average designed by the NCAA.

For his career, Bethel posted a final record of 167-16 with over half of his victories (91) coming in pins. His 167 victories not only rank first in Oneonta’s program, but also rank at the top in the history of NCAA Division III.

Bethel also was a standout in the classroom during his career, earning his third NWCA Scholar All-America and third ECWC All-Academic Team honors this season.