Associated PressRead for 4 minutes
TULSA, Okla – Purdue’s Matt Ramos pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA Division I wrestling history, ending Spencer Lee’s pursuit of Iowa for four national titles with a pin in the closing seconds of their semifinal match at Friday evening.
Ramos, the No. 4 at 125 pounds, got the fall with one second left in the third period to end the nation’s longest 58-game win streak.
Ramos had spoken out about his belief that he could beat Lee.
“I work really hard and I trust what I believe in, and be able to speak it out — 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.
That leaves Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis as the only wrestler still in contention for a fourth title on Saturday. He defeated Penn State’s Shayne Van Ness 8-3 in his semifinals 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.
“At that point I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know what to make of it,'” Diakomihalis said. “I mean, he’s one of those guys who’s been very dominant — probably more dominant than me.”
Diakomihalis said he understood the pressure Lee was facing.
“You have to feel a little for him, don’t you?” he said. “I’m kind of in a similar position. The whole arena is waiting for you to lose. Maybe they’re not cheering you on, but secretly in the back of their mind it gets a little louder when the other guy is going to score.”
Penn State is approaching its 10th national title in 12 years. The Nittany Lions have 116.5 points. Iowa is second with 77.5 points, followed by Cornell (64) and Ohio State (62).
But Ramos was the story of the evening. 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 spark the drama in the third period .
Ramos will take on Princeton’s Pat Glory on Saturday, who beat Nebraska’s Liam Cronin 8-2 in the other semifinal. Glory, the number 2 seed, is undefeated.
“It’s a dream for me,” said Ramos. “The job is not done yet.”
The three Penn State wrestlers seeking their third national title – Roman Bravo-Young at 133, Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 184 – all advanced to the finals.
Bravo-Young got two points in a sudden victory time against Arizona State’s Michael McGee. He now has the longest win streak in the country with 56 matches.
“That was a fun game right there,” said Bravo-Young. “I found a way to make it happen.”
Bravo-Young takes on Cornell’s Vito Arujau, who defeated Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix 11-3 in the other semifinal. Fix had lost three times in the final, but he was undefeated and seeded second.
Starocci defeated Cornell’s Chris Foca in the semifinals and advanced to Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the final. Starocci defeated Labriola 6-1 in the final of the Big Ten in an undefeated battle.
Brooks, seeded third, defeated No. 2 seed Trent Hilday of North Carolina State 6–3 in a semifinal match. He will face the top seed Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa in the finals.
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 went undefeated after defeating Lehigh’s Josh Humphreys.
At 165 No. 1 seed David Carr beat Princeton’s Quincy Monday 6-5 in a semifinal. Monday’s father is 1988 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kenny Monday.
Other No. 1 seeds to advance to the finals included Michigan’s Mason Parris with 285, Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi with 197 and Iowa’s Real Woods with 141.