A kid from Hawthorne, New Jersey, could never have dreamed that he would become one of the most successful and storied wrestlers at his university over a four-year career.
Evan Ramos came to Shippensburg University after a decent high school wrestling career. He only placed once during his four years at state championships and was not expected to transform into an All-American wrestler.
“It’s not easy to win a lot in college,” Ramos said. “I only got fifth in states in high school so I was a one-time placer and I wasn’t really expecting much coming in here.”
He and his twin brother, Ethan, who wrestles for the Tar Heels at the University of North Carolina, were constantly wrestling growing up, with their cousin being a big influence on their desire to begin the sport.
“We sat in on a practice and we liked it a lot,” Ramos said. He and his brother were 7 years old at the time and they have been wrestling ever since.
Ramos was a consistent athlete at Hawthorne High School, compiling a 44–7 record with the Bears over three seasons of competition. His best year came in his senior season, in which he earned 30 wins compared to only three losses. He also had 13 wins by pinfall.
Even with these stellar numbers, Ramos came to SU without big expectations, but quietly transformed into one of the best athletes the Raiders have claimed in recent memory. The SU wrestling program went from an underappreciated part of the athletics family to a relevant program with the arrival of Ramos in 2013.
Ramos does not want to take all the credit for the revival of the wrestling team, but was proud to contribute to its return to relevancy.
“Once I started seeing success, I just wanted to get more, not just for me,” Ramos said. “It’s nice. I came in here and the program’s not really recognized. I’m not saying I took it somewhere, but seeing someone can have success in this program can help them keep continuing.”
Ramos finished his Raider career this semester with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships, also earning a second-consecutive All-American nod. Earlier in the season, he also claimed the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title at 197 pounds for the second year in a row. Ramos is only the eighth Raider to finish his career with multiple All-American seasons, and the first in 10 years.
With an outstanding 98–17 SU record, Ramos finishes his collegiate career as one of the most decorated and most successful wrestlers in school history. Ramos made it to the national championships three straight years, improving his finish every season — did not place in 2016, fifth in 2017 and fourth in 2018. He also had two seasons in which he did not lose to a Division II opponent in the regular season, and one other in which he only lost to one. Ramos also defeated seven Division I wrestlers in his four seasons.
It was a strange feeling for Ramos when he completed his final competition as a Raider.
“It was kind of weird at first, knowing you’re probably not going to practice after class,” Ramos said. He was not completely happy with his finish at the championships because his goal was to not lose at all.
“I didn’t regret anything, but definitely not where I wanted to be,” he said.
With his degree in criminal justice, Ramos plans to one day join a police force. He plans on staying around Shippensburg for the time being, while his girlfriend finishes her last year of graduate school. While he stays in the area, he wants to help out with the wrestling squad and be an assistant to coach Seth Bloomquist.
He also shared that he hopes to not be done with wrestling completely, citing his hope to wrestle one day for Puerto Rico’s national team, potentially competing to make it on to the roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“I was just happy I got the opportunity to wrestle here. I had a lot of ups and downs, but definitely kind of molded me to be who I am.”