Iowa's Lee stunned in semifinals

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

That will leave 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 semifinal match at 149. 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 gotta feel for him a little bit, right?” he 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 on 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 North Carolina 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’ll 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 of Iowa State defeated Princeton’s Quincy Monday 6-5 in a semifinal. Monday’s father is 1988 Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kenny Monday.

Carr fell into an early 4-0 deficit Friday evening after Monday got a takedown and a quick tilt for two near fall points. The Cyclone responded with a reversal and eventually ended the first period trailing 5-2.

The Canton, Ohio native went down to begin the second and, after a quick escape, secured a match-tying takedown with 1:08 remaining in the second period. Carr put on a ride for the ages, riding out Monday for the final 3:08 of the match to earn the riding time point and a 6-5 victory.

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

Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa is in the finals at 184 pounds. Battling the 4-seed and Pac-12 champion in Trey Munoz, Keckeisen — twice a national bronze medalist for the Panthers — remained deadlocked with his opponent throughout a scoreless first period.

Gradually building riding time during the second frame, Keckeisen scored first on an escape in the final minute to even the bout at 1-1 before picking up the go-ahead takedown with 11 seconds remaining in the period. Keckeisen would add the riding time point to secure the 4-1 decision and move on to his first national championship match.

“You just have to control what you can and be in the moment. That’s the goal every day of my life,” said Keckeisen after advancing to the NCAA finals. “In my match I can control my output, not so much the score on the board. You have to go out and give 100% all of the time. That Panther on your chest means something, and you’re representing all of the people who’ve come before you.”

Keckeisen, UNI’s 10th All-American in program history, will have the opportunity to win the program’s 45th individual national title as he faces off against 3-seed Aaron Brooks of Penn State. Drew Foster was the last Panther to win a national championship in 2019, also at 184 pounds.

“He’s been a leader for our program in setting the standard,” said head coach Doug Schwab on Keckeisen’s win. “He earned that spot in the finals. Now he’s got 420 seconds to go win a national title.”

The Hawkeyes crowned three more All-Americans by going 6-for-6 on the consolation side of the bracket.

Woods was on Nebraska’s fourth-seeded Brock Hardy from the opening whistle, notching a takedown in the first 20 seconds then added a four-point near fall to take a 6-1 lead after one. In the third, the New Mexico native iced the win with a takedown and a two-point near fall en route to the major.

“It is another step in accomplishing a dream that I set out since I was a little kid,” said Woods, who improves to 20-0 this season. “I like to score points and getting that done immediately is right on theme with what I’d like to do in my ideal match. I get out there and get right to it.”

Woods advances to the NCAA final for the first time in his career and he extends Iowa’s streak of having an NCAA finalist to 33 consecutive tournaments. Iowa has had at least one wrestler in the NCAA finals in every year since 1990 and in 47 of the last 48 tournaments dating back to 1975.

In four matches in Tulsa, Woods is 4-0 with three major decisions and is outscoring his opponents, 40-7. This season, Woods is 20-0 with 12 bonus point wins. He has allowed just 23 points in his 20 matches.

“Real is a fabulous competitor. He’s honest with himself and is sometimes too honest when he’s not feeling good,” said Brands. “When you don’t feel good, you make adjustments and honesty helps you make the right adjustments and quickly.

“That’s what he did. It takes discipline and an open mind and he is a tough customer.”

Woods will face Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez in Saturday’s final. Woods is 1-0 all-time against the Bear grappler, winning 5-4 during the Southern Scuffle in 2021 while competing for Stanford.

Fellow Hawkeyes Max Murin (149), Nelson Brands (174) and Jacob Warner (197) all won to secure All-America honors. Four-time Fort Dodge state champion Brody Teske was ousted 4-1 on Friday morning at 133 pounds by ninth-seeded Micky Phillippi in his consolation match.

Marcus Coleman became a two-time All-American for Iowa State with a 2-0 record during the consolation session.

Coleman secured his second consecutive All-America honor with a narrow 4-3 win over Michigan’s Matt Finesilver in the blood round. The Ames native then, after falling into a 6-0 deficit, pinned Clarion’s Will Feldkamp in 2:43 to advance to the consolation semifinals.