By: Anton Krieger
Justin Patrick is a senior wrestler at Cleveland State University. The aspect of Justin Patrick that sets him apart from other wrestlers around the country is that Patrick has gained a sixth year of eligibility with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) after suffering an injury last season. This sixth year of eligibility is a rare occurrence in the NCAA. In an interview with Patrick, he explained it wasn’t easy to get additional eligibility.
“It took a lot of communication with the university’s compliance as well as my previous university’s compliance and athletic training staff. Proper documentation was needed, and a ton of paperwork was filed in the case.”
“The pandemic had no effect on gaining my 6th year. It was from an injury that kept me out of competition my senior year at the university at Buffalo,” Patrick continued.
Patrick came to CSU as a transfer from his senior year at the University of Buffalo prior to the fall of 2019. He quickly proved himself to be a valuable member to the team starting at 133 pounds all season while being only “one of two Vikings to start every dual during [the] season.”
A short list of some of Patrick’s accomplishments include, placing seventh at the Mid-American Conference Championships at 133 pounds, posting a 19-13 mark on the [2019-20] year, beating eventual MAC champion Tim Rooney, a top-20 national competitor, in the final five seconds for a team win.
This season is already shaping up to be different in the age of the coronavirus pandemic with the team practicing safe with noncontact workouts. According to Patrick, the school can compete starting on January 1st which is contingent on how the pandemic progresses over time. Even though Patrick is eager to get back to wrestling, he understands the importance of the safety precautions.
“We need to follow the rules and regulations that are being implemented by the university so we can continue to progress,” Patrick said.
While the conditions during Coronavirus are not ideal, Patrick has a great attitude going into next season.
“As a student athlete, gaining an extra year of eligibility is seen as a blessing in my eyes. My prior setbacks that initially hindered me have now benefited me in the long run,” Patrick said. “I am now fully recovered, feeling healthy and strong, and the extra year gives me one last opportunity to chase down my dream of getting on the NCAA podium as a graduate student athlete.”