Redshirt junior Matthew Schmitt of the West Virginia University wrestling team announced his decision to sit out of the 2019-20 season to train for the 2020 United States Olympic Team Trials on April 4-5, 2020.
Schmitt’s decision comes after he earned the right to an Olympic redshirt following a sixth-place finish at 60 kg in Greco Roman at the 2019 US Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, from April 25-26.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to train for the Olympics,” Schmitt said. “There are so many things that have to happen in order for me to make it to the Olympic Trials, but I am thankful for West Virginia University – they have allowed me to chase my dreams. It’s a true testament to the coaching staff and their dedication to get this program to the next level.”
An Olympic redshirt is designed to allow qualified student-athletes to train for the Olympic games, without losing a year of eligibility. Furthermore, an Olympic redshirt does not count against an existing redshirt season, giving the student-athlete a sixth-year of NCAA competition.
“When we are recruiting kids, we are trying to sell them on fulfilling their dreams, and every wrestler has a dream of being an Olympic champion,” second-year coach Tim Flynn said. “We want kids to come here with aspirations of being the best, so we are going to do whatever we can to help Matt get there. We want nothing more than for Matt to become a member of Team USA and go on to be an Olympic champion.”
Schmitt finished the 2018-19 season with an 18-8 record and appeared in his second NCAA Tournament at 133 pounds. The Platte City, Missouri, native has a career record of 42-22 in two seasons in Morgantown. Schmitt will have two years of eligibility remaining following the redshirt.
West Virginia will compete in its second open tournament of the season, on Saturday, Nov. 9, as the team travels to Boone, North Carolina, for the 2019 Mountaineer Invitational. The tournament is hosted by Appalachian State and is slated to begin at 9 a.m. ET.