David Rubio is paving the way for future Corban University wrestlers, and he just reached a big milestone last weekend.
Rubio, one of the original wrestlers in Corban’s 4-year-old program, became the first Warrior to reach an NAIA national title match as he finished runner-up at 165 pounds.
“It was bitter sweet, obviously, because every competitor and wrestler envisions themselves capping off a season on top of the podium,” said Rubio, a McKay High School graduate. “But nonetheless it felt good. It’s performances and milestones like this that help us build forward here at Corban.”
Rubio won his NAIA semifinal match 3-2 over Life University’s Jack Bass, who was the No. 1 national seed.
In the title match, a riding time point gave Menlo College’s Rysan Leong a 4-3 victory and the national championship.
“David wrestled well all weekend. He had a tough lost in the finals, he’ll learn from it and move on,” said Corban wrestling coach Kary Hadden, the former longtime Sprague coach. “He definitely leaves it all out there on the mat.”
Rubio was one of the first recruits for Corban when they started men’s wrestling in the 2019-20 season.
While wrestling at McKay, Rubio was an OSAA Class 6A state champion at 170 pounds in 2018.
“He’s a great scrambler. He can score in almost any position. We’re proud of all accomplishments he’s had here at Corban,” Hadden said. “He’s battled through some difficult times and still came out on top. He’s definitely one of the pillars here at Corban.”
Rubio is a redshirt sophomore with two years of eligibility remaining.
Rubio is a two-time All-American already in his time with the Warriors.
“We are setting a culture here at Corban to pursue the best version of ourselves, and throughout the process the milestones will come,” said Rubio, who is majoring in secondary social studies education. “This season has shown me that the process towards these big goals aren’t always going to be ideal. So, it has been a big season of learning and adapting through injuries and circumstances that life often throws at you.
“This season ultimately has meant a lot to me because we have gotten a taste of what the nationals finals is like and how close the margins are from runner-up to national champ are,” Rubio added. “We are looking forward to getting better, wrestling free, and having total release next season.”
Statesman Journal reporter Pete Martini covers college and high school sports. He can be reached at pmartini@StatesmanJournal.com.