Iowa wrestler denied 4th straight title in stunner

TULSA, Okla. — Purdue’s Matt Ramos pulled one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA Division I wrestling history, ending Iowa star Spencer Lee’s chase for four national titles with a pin in the closing seconds of their semifinal match Friday night.

Ramos, the No. 4 seed at 125 pounds, got the fall with one second remaining in the third period to end the nation’s longest win streak at 58 matches.

Ramos had been vocal about his belief that he could beat Lee.

“I work really hard and I trust in what I believe in, and being able to speak it out into existence — I’m not trying to be cocky or anything, but if I can’t get it out into the world, then I don’t believe it will happen,” he said.

Lee’s loss leaves Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis as the only wrestler still in contention for a fourth title Saturday. He defeated Penn State’s Shayne Van Ness 8-3 in his semifinal match at 149 pounds. If Diakomihalis defeats Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the final, he will become the fifth wrestler to win four Division I national championships.

Diakomihalis was well aware that Lee had lost before his semifinal.

“In the moment it was like, ‘Wow,’ I didn’t know what to think,” Diakomihalis said. “I mean, he’s one of those guys who’s been very dominant — probably more dominant than I’ve been.”

Diakomihalis said he understood the pressure Lee faced.

“You got to feel for him a little bit, right?” Diakomihalis said. “I’m kind of in a similar position. The whole arena is waiting for you to lose. Maybe they’re not cheering against you, but secretly in the back of their head, it gets a little louder when the other guy is going to score.”

Penn State is closing in on its 10th national title in 12 years. The Nittany Lions have 116.5 points. Iowa is in second with 77.5 points followed by Cornell (64) and Ohio State (62).

But Ramos was the story of the night. He led Lee 4-1 at the end of the first period, but Lee scored a four-point near fall in the second period to take a 5-4 lead and set up the drama in the third.

Ramos will face Princeton’s Pat Glory, who defeated Nebraska’s Liam Cronin 8-2 in the other semifinal, for the championship Saturday. Glory, the No. 2 seed, is undefeated.

“It’s a dream for me,” Ramos said. “The job is not done yet.”

The three Penn State wrestlers seeking their third national titles — Roman Bravo-Young at 133, Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 184 — all advanced to the finals.

Bravo-Young got a two-point takedown in sudden victory time against Arizona State’s Michael McGee. He now has the nation’s longest win streak at 56 matches.

“That was a fun match there,” Bravo-Young said. “Found a way to get it done.”

Bravo-Young will face Cornell’s Vito Arujau, who defeated Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix 11-3 in the other semifinal. Fix had lost in the finals three times, but he was unbeaten and seeded second.

Starocci defeated Cornell’s Chris Foca in the semifinals and advanced to face Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the final. Starocci defeated Labriola 6-1 in the Big Ten final in a battle of unbeatens.

Brooks, seeded third, defeated No. 2 seed Trent Hilday of NC State 6-3 in a semifinal. He will face the top seed, Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen, in the final.

Penn State got a fourth finalist when freshman Levi Haines, the No. 2 seed, defeated Nebraska’s Peyton Robb in the semifinals at 157. He will face North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor in the final. The top seed remained unbeaten after defeating Lehigh’s Josh Humphreys.

At 165, No. 1 seed David Carr defeated Princeton’s Quincy Monday 6-5 in a semifinal. Monday’s father is 1988 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kenny Monday.

Other No. 1 seeds who advanced to the finals were Michigan’s Mason Parris at 285, Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi at 197 and Iowa’s Real Woods at 141.

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