TULSA, Okla. – Purdue’s Matt Ramos pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA Division I wrestling history, ending Iowa’s Spencer Lee’s pursuit of four national titles with a pin in the final seconds of their semifinal match Friday night.
Ramos, the No. 4 seed at 125 pounds, got the fall with one second left in the third period to end the nation’s longest winning streak at 58 fights.
Ramos had been vocal about his belief that he could beat Lee.
“I work really hard and I believe in what I believe in and being able to speak it 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 think that 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 pounds. If Diakomihalis defeats Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the finals, he will become the fifth wrestler to win four Division I national championships.
Diakomihalis was well aware that Lee had lost before his semi-final.
“In the moment it was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know what to think,'” Diakomihalis said. “I mean, he’s one of those guys that’s been very dominant — probably more dominant than I’ve been.”
Diakomihalis said he understood the pressure Lee faced.
“You have to feel for him a little, 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 for you, but secretly in the back of your mind it gets a little louder when the other guy goes to score.”
Penn State is closing in on 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 night. He led Lee 4-1 at the end of the first period, but Lee scored four points near falls 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 task is not finished 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 against Arizona State’s Michael McGee. He now has the country’s longest winning streak of 56 games.
“That was a fun game 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 final three times, but he was undefeated and seeded second.
Starocci defeated Cornell’s Chris Foca in the semifinals and advanced to face Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the finals. Starocci defeated Labriola 6-1 in the Big Ten final in a game of undefeated teams.
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 will face North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor in the finals. The top seed remained undefeated 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 to advance to the finals were Michigan’s Mason Parris at 285, Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi at 197 and Iowa’s Real Woods at 141.