Well… another season is in the history books, and this years’ NCAA tournament will be one that is remembered for years to come.
We were able to witness one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, which included Iowa’s Spencer Lee getting pinned in the semi-finals from a miraculous effort by Purdue’s 125-pound runner-up, Matt Ramos.
Cael Sanderson and the Penn State Nittany Lions secured their 10th team title in the past 12 seasons, and continue the dynasty that has reigned the last decade. Despite the Nittany Lions only winning two of the five final matches (Carter Starocci & Aaron Brooks), Penn State’s lineup included eight All-Americans with six of them placing in the top three at their weight classes.
Also, Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis became the fifth person in history to be a 4x National Champion, and the second in a Cornell singlet to do so.
Here is a complete breakdown at every weight class and the results from this weekend:
125-pound Champion: Patrick Glory, Princeton
Nobody in their right mind would have predicted Spencer Lee standing on the sixth place podium before the events from this weekend unfolded, but this is what everyone will remember from the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Outside of Matt Ramos’ upset over Lee, Patrick Glory became Princeton’s first NCAA Champion since 1951 and finished his season with a perfect 24-0 record that can consider him as the Hodge Trophy winner.
Glory ran through the 125-pound bracket and only gave up seven total points throughout his four victories en route to the title. Glory really showed off his top game, and was dominant in the position to eliminate any adversity from his opponents.
Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney showed out in a big way this past weekend, placing third as the 10th seed in the bracket. Courtney, a former NCAA finalist, seemed to be forgotten by a lot of fans and regained their respect by only suffering one loss throughout the tournament (8-4 loss to Glory in the QF).
Glory (1st), Ramos (2nd), Courtney (3rd), Noto (4th), Cronin (5th), Lee (6th, MF), Ventresca (7th), Cardinale (8th)
133-pound Champion: Vito Arujau, Cornell
Cornell’s Vito Arujau completed the gauntlet in the 133-pound bracket, and had one of the most impressive performances of the tournament with a very convincing 11-4 semi-finals win over Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, and another 10-4 win over Penn State’s 2x National Champion Roman Bravo-Young in the finals.
A lot of people were looking forward to a third straight rematch between Fix and Bravo-Young in the national finals, but Arujau played spoiler in a huge way. Arujau flashed his speed over Bravo-Young in the finals, and cruised to his first national title for the Big Red.
Arizona State’s Michael McGee also had a great tournament, and gave Fix his second loss of the tournament with a narrow 2-1 victory in the third place bout. It sure looked like McGee was going to knock off Bravo-Young in the semi-finals, but eventually fell short. McGee rallied back with a 3-2 win over Ohio State’s Jesse Mendes, and continued to impress with another win over Fix.
Arujau (1st), Bravo-Young (2nd), McGee (3rd), Fix (4th), Nagao (5th), Mendes (6th), Latona (7th), Orine (8th)
141-pound Champion: Andrew Alirez, Northern Colorado
The match everyone was looking forward to all season long at 141-pounds happened, and it didn’t disappoint as Andrew Alirez became Northern Colorado’s first national champion.
Alriez took out Iowa’s Real Woods, and it was an awesome match that came down to the final period. Alirez had a huge four-point swing when he threw Woods to his back, and took and held onto the lead to secure his national title. Surprisingly, Alirez had a few close matches on his way to the finals, but he shined under the lights with a comeback over Woods.
Penn State’s Beau Bartlett really impressed with a third place finish, and was a big part of Penn State winning the team title. Bartlett found a way to the podium with a 3-1 victory over Pitt’s Cole Matthews in the quarters, and his only loss came to Alirez (6-2) in the semi-finals. Bartlett majored SDSU’s Clay Carlson in the consi-semis, and capped off his tournament with a 4-1 win over UNC’s Lachlan McNeil.
Alirez (1st), Woods (2nd), Bartlett (3rd), McNeil (4th), Carlson (5th), Hardy (6th), Filius (7th), D’Emilio (8th)
149-pound Champion: Yianni Diakomihalis, Cornell
Yianni cemented his legacy in his final season for Cornell, and became the second Cornell wrestler behind Kyle Dake to be a 4x national champion. Yianni overcame a lot of pressure to win his fourth title, and fought through a couple of close bouts to do so. Diakomihalis defeated Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the finals by a 4-2 score, and it was a great match that puts him in the history books.
One of the biggest surprises in the 149-pound bracket came from Penn State’s Shayne Van Ness, who placed third as the 12th seed in the bracket. After Van Ness dropped his only loss to Diakomihalis in the semi-finals, he beat a tough Caleb Henson of Virginia Tech by a 5-3 score, and walked through Arizona State’s Kyle Parco in the third place bout to win by a 7-2 decision. Both Van Ness and Bartlett really impressed the Nittany Lion fans this past weekend, and proved they will be a big part of Penn State’s future.
Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez was projected to be a big threat in the bracket as he went into the tournament as the 14th seed, but after a loss to Parco in the round of 16, Gomez eventually lost again to Michigan’s Chance Lamer by fall in just 43 seconds to miss out on All-American honors.
Diakomihalis (1st), Sasso (2nd), Van Ness (3rd), Parco (4th), Henson (5th), Murin (6th), Mauller (7th), Blockhus (8th)
157-pound Champion: Austin O’Connor, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor became the second Tar Heel in their school’s history to win multiple national titles with a convincing 6-2 win over Penn State’s true freshman Levi Haines in the national finals. O’Connor wraps up his collegiate career as a 4x All-American and 2x national champion. O’Connor’s pressuring style limited his opponents to fire off a lot of attacks on their feet, which matched up perfectly for him over Haines in the finals.
Penn State’s Levi Haines will be the man to beat going into next season after finishing his true freshman campaign. One of the most entertaining bouts of the entire tournament came in the quarter finals, when Haines had a wild comeback to defeat the dangerous Bryce Andonian of Virginia Tech. Andonian had Haines in serious trouble early on, and nearly had Haines stuck to pull off the upset. However, Haines battled through and ended up pinning Andonian himself that showed some awesome traits for the true freshman.
One guy who didn’t earn enough credit all season long was Lehigh’s Josh Humphreys, who looked great this past weekend which earned him a third place finish. Humphreys’ only loss came to O’Connor in a really close 4-3 score that could have gone either way. Humphreys shook off his semi-finals loss, and took out NC State’s Ed Scott in the consi-semis, and then beat NDSU’s Jared Franek twice throughout the tournament for third place.
O’Connor (1st), Haines (2nd), Humphreys (3rd), Franek (4th), Scott (5th), Robb (6th), Andonian (7th), Lewan (8th)
165-pound Champion: Keegan O’Toole, Missouri
In his redshirt sophomore season, Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole has won his second straight NCAA title with a 8-2 win over Iowa State’s David Carr. After losing to Carr twice throughout this year, O’Toole figured it out and cruised to another national championship.
Technically, O’Toole is one of the best wrestlers in the country and only has three losses in his career (two to Carr this season, one to Wentzel in 2021). O’Toole only allowed 13 total points to his opponents throughout the tournament, and will go into next season as one of the best wrestlers ranked pound-for-pound in the country.
Princeton’s Quincy Monday finished his 2023 season with a third place finish, and looked like he could have possibly won the 157-pound bracket if he would have stayed there the entire season. Monday lost to Carr by a 6-5 decision in the semi-finals, but rallied back by beating Wisconsin’s Dean Hamiti and then Michigan’s Cam Amine for third place.
O’Toole (1st), Carr (2nd), Monday (3rd), Amine (4th), Griffith (5th), Hamiti (6th), Caliendo (7th), Olejnik (8th)
174-pound Champion: Carter Starocci, Penn State
Nobody was more dominant this season than Penn State’s Carter Starocci, who won his third national title this past weekend. Furthermore, Starocci was the only one to win by fall in the finals, and ties Penn State’s record as a three time national champ. As crazy as it sounds, Starocci has two more chances to win a national title, and can become the first wrestler ever to be a 5x national champ.
Starocci only suffered two points to opponents throughout the weekend, and had two falls to finish his season with a perfect 28-0 record.
Despite being pinned in the finals, Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola really impressed this season. Labriola’s biggest win of the tournament came in the semi-finals with a win over former NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis, and edged out that victory in tie-breakers 3-1. Similarly, Cornell’s Chris Foca had a very impressive season with a third place finish this past weekend.
Foca has continued to grow throughout the season, and really showed out with a 3-2 win over Lewis for the third place bout. Foca also had two falls in the championship bracket, and was a big part of Cornell’s team points this past weekend.
Starocci (1st), Labriola (2nd), Foca (3rd), Lewis (4th), Brands (5th), Plott (6th), Smith (7th), Mocco (8th)
184-pound Champion: Aaron Brooks, Penn State
A third straight year, a third straight national title for Penn State’s Aaron Brooks. Brooks has been the top dog at 184-pounds since 2021, and will continue to be going into the 2023-2024 season. Brooks was the third seed going into the tournament, got upset early in the year, and didn’t even have 25 total matches, yet still cruised to a national title.
UNI’s Parker Keckeisen had a great season, and proved a lot during this tournament. Keckeisen only has six total losses in his career, and has placed top three in the country over the last three seasons. Keckeisen made his first NCAA finals appearance, and has a great chance to improve going into next year.
Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero shocked a lot of people by finishing third at 184-pounds. Romero took out NC State’s Trent Hidlay for the third place bout in sudden victory, and only suffered one loss to the champion Aaron Brooks in the quarter finals. Romero also beat Oregon State’s Trey Munoz, which capped off his excellent performance at the national tournament.
Brooks (1st), Keckeisen (2nd), Romero (3rd), Hidlay (4th), Coleman (5th), Munoz (6th), Feldkamp (7th), Kane (8th)
197-pound Champion: Nino Bonaccorsi, Pittsburgh
It feels as though nobody deserves it more than Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi, who became Pitt’s first national champ since Keith Gavin in 2008. 197-pounds was the most diverse and wide open weight class throughout the entire season, and featured one of the more interesting finals bouts.
SDSU’s Tanner Sloan broke through in this year’s NCAA tournament, and earned his first All-American honors by making the finals. Sloan had a tough road to the finals, but excelled in each of those bouts. Sloan took out Stanford’s Cardenas, the number two seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly, and Missouri’s Rocky Elam before dropping a 5-3 decision to Bonaccorsi.
Last year’s 197-pound NCAA champ, Max Dean of Penn State, made the most of his tournament. Dean was set for a brutal stretch of opponents to make the finals, and dropped a 7-2 loss in a Big Ten finals rematch to Nebraska’s Silas Allred in the round of 16. Dean also had a tough draw facing Truax to improve on his All-American season, but finished it off with a 4-2 win over Cardenas for 7th.
Bonaccorsi (1st), Sloan (2nd), Elam (3rd), Truax (4th), Warner (5th), Laird (6th), Dean (7th), Cardenas (8th)
285-pound Champion: Mason Parris, Michigan
Potential Hodge Trophy winner Mason Parris of Michigan cruised to a national title, and only suffered six total points throughout his tournament. Fans were set on a Parris and Kerkvliet rematch in the finals, and it happened once again with a similar result.
After losing to Kerkvliet multiple times last season, he has now beaten Kerkvliet multiple times this season to win his first national championship with a perfect 33-0 record. Parris beat Kerkvliet 7-2 in the finals, and that was after tech falling Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi in the semi-finals to get there.
Air Force’s Wyatt Hendrickson finished the year with the most falls in the country, and was named the most dominant wrestler of the year for the second straight year. Hendrickson had an insane 81.8% bonus rate on his season, and that showed when he pinned Cassioppi for third place. Hendrickson dropped a 4-2 decision to Kerkvliet in the semi-finals, and was a bout where he was leading for the majority of the match.
Parris (1st), Kerkvliet (2nd), Hendrickson (3rd), Cassioppi (4th), Davison (4th), Elam (5th), Schultz (7th), Hillger (8th)
Team Title Champion: Penn State Nittany Lions
1. Penn State: 137.5
2. Iowa: 82.5
3. Cornell: 76.5
4. Ohio State: 70.5
5. Missouri: 64.5
6. Michigan: 58.5
7. Arizona State: 55