Ryan Malo set the bar very high and would have liked to end his illustrious wrestling career at Williams College with a national championship in the 197-pound class.

That didn't happen at the Division 3 NCAA Championships at Wisconsin-LaCrosse earlier this month, where the former St. John's Prep star finished fourth. However, for the third straight year, he was named an All-American (top eight).

"I didn't wrestle as well as I know I can in the matches I lost and even the ones I won," said Malo, who finished his career with the Ephs just one win shy of recording the most victories ever in school history with a 124-16 mark.

"In wrestling, the physical aspect is a big deal, but mentally you have to be in a good place, too," added the Georgetown native. "I struggled for a variety of reasons, but at the end of the day the bottom line was it just wasn't good enough."

Malo worked with his former Williams coach Dan DiCenzo, who came back to help the four Ephs get ready for nationals, and also with his coaches at Doughboy Wrestling Club. He finished second the last two years, and was seeded fourth this time.

Malo started out by beating Nathan Schmit of Concordia College in overtime (7-5) in his initial match, then bested Jared Myhrberg of SUNY Cortland 6-5 to advance to the national semifinal round, where he once again met Byron Tate of Wartburg, who has been his nemesis.

A year ago, the top-ranked Tate beat Malo to win the national title. Once again, he came out on top by besting Malo, 9-2.

Malo then beat Sam Johnson of Dubuque 3-0 before losing the battle for third place to Bill Schindel of Mount Union 9-5.

Instead of being the end of a great career, there will be a new beginning for the talented wrestler, for Malo has been granted another year of eligibility.

As a freshman, the highly recruited Malo left Boston University midway through that year before transferring to Williams. Next year Malo will begin his master's in education at the University of Virginia and wrestle for the Division 1 program.

"I've been working with the NCAA since July," said Malo of getting to compete for one more year. "There's a lot of paperwork involved, and it all started to come together in the last month. I'm excited about the opportunity to compete at the Division 1 level. I have a lot of friends down there, and know the coaches; Steve Garland is the head coach, and I've known his assistant Alex Clemsen since high school because he is friends with my coach at Doughboy. They've got a great group of guys there at 197 pounds, and I'm happy to be going to a new environment and keep wrestling."

Malo plans to specialize in athletic administration and would like to be an athletic director down the road.

He said this has been a long year for a variety of reasons, and he plans to take a couple of weeks off now to rest. He is confident the Williams program is headed in the right direction (sending four to the NCAAs is a school record). After graduation, he plans to go to Virginia to begin training and is looking forward to the new challenge as a Cavalier in the ACC.

"I know what it's like at Division 1; I've been there and I'm excited to be competing with the best guys every day. It's something I know I'm good enough to do, and I intend to work hard enough to be successful," Malo said.

"But I couldn't ask for a better group of guys than those I've wrestled with all three years at Williams. I wouldn't change anything about my time here. I had a great career and made a lot of great friends."

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