Valenti Honored by U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon

PHILADELPHIA – University of Pennsylvania national champion wrestler and All-American Matt Valenti was recognized Tuesday by U.S. Representative Curt Weldon, who represents the Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.

Valenti became Penn’s third national champion in the program’s 102 year history on March 19 when he defeated Purdue’s Chris Fleeger, 3-2 at 133 pounds.

Valenti finished the season with a 36-2 record. He ended the season with a 24-match win streak. His 36 wins ties his own school record for wins in a season. He has 105 career victories, which is sixth best in program history. Earlier this year he became the first junior at Penn to reach the 100-win plateau.

The transcript of Congressman Weldon’s text is below.

Extension of Remarks

Honoring Matt Valenti NCAA Wrestling Champion

Mr. Speaker, it is a special honor to recognize Matt Valenti, a student athlete from the University of Pennsylvania, who recently won the NCAA wrestling championship. Penn’s sports history records need updating now to include Matt as one of only three wrestlers to have achieved this distinction as national champion. All three wrestlers are bound together by their high level of motivation and their devotion to the time-honored virtues of hard work and sacrifice.

We are all aware of the competitive nature and demanding rigors of this sport. Matt’s achievements have set a new benchmark for excellence in this sport. The following statistics speak for themselves and place Matt in an elite category.

He won five consecutive matches against the nation’s best wrestlers in the 2006 NCAA Championships to win the national title at 133 lbs.
He showed courage and determination in reversing and riding Chris Fleeger of Purdue University to win the national final, 3-2.
He accomplished his title by beating the tournament’s second and third-seeded wrestlers and a former national runner up.
He had two pins in five matches at the NCAA Championships.
He showed excellence and outstanding skill by being taken down only once and reversed once in his five matches.
He became only the third national champion in the 102-year history of Penn wrestling.
He led his team to score the most points in an NCAA Championship in team history.
He is a two-time All-American, in 2004 and 2006.

On the day Matt won the NCAA Championship, the pressure on him was immense. The way he wrestled his way to the championship is a testament to his grace under pressure, his good sportsmanship, and most importantly, his example as a role model for youth that make him special to not only to wrestling fans in Pennsylvanians, but to everyone who pursues the American dream.

Finally, I would be remiss, if I did not recognize the extraordinary effort and commitment of Head Coach Zeke Jones who inspires and motivates the true grit and discipline so necessary on the mats. His personal commitment to excellence has served the University of Pennsylvania well. We share his pride in Matt Valenti’s tremendous success as NCAA Champion and look to Matt to take us to the 2008 Olympics.