The NCAA held the D1 National Championships for the 2022 wrestling season this year. 20 wrestlers stepped in on the final night to become champion. Here is a quick recap of the night’s wrestling champions for the 2021 season.
2021 NCAA Championship Recap
At 125, Nick Suriano came into the match looking to become a two time National Champion. There, he took on Princeton’s Pat Glory. Glory, a multi time All-American, was off to a shaky start as Suriano quickly put 4 on the board with a go behind and a 2 point reversal in the first and second period. Glory came out strong in the third period, getting a turn and two points. But an explosion and defensive wrestling from Suriano was enough to stave off Glory. Nick Suriano was the winner 5-2.
The next up was defending champion Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State as he took on his long time challenger in Dayton Fix of Oklahoma State. The match was very close as Fix was hunting down RBY all night. But RBY go the ankle pick and takedown for 2. A mat return by RBY later, and fix gets an escape to bring the score tied at 2. But, as Fix started out on top, RBY would scramble out. His athleticism would be too much and he would take the match 3-2.
Next was a Cinderella story. Nick Lee of Penn State takes on North Carolina’s Kizhan Clarke. Clarke came into the 2022 NCAA Championship tournament as a 15 seed. Unfortunately, it would be all Nick Lee. Clarke came out firing all his guns and got a quick takedown. But after the escape point for Lee, the Penn State product went on to dominate the match getting takedown after takedown and riding out the periods winning the bout.
The King Returns: Yianni Diakomihalis
Next up at 149 pounds was Yianni Diakomihalis and Ridge Lovett. Yianni, a Cornell product and heir to the Kyle Dake throne, put his 73 match win streak to the test. Lovett is a tough wrestler but it would be all Yianni to see him take the win 11-5 and never in any real danger. Yianni took home the championship with an incredibly smart gameplan and with pure domination.
For your 157 pound bracket, Ryan Deakin and Quincy Monday took on each other and had a very competitive match. Early, Deakin was taken down by Quincy Monday off of a shot from Deakin and get a head and arm position. But Deakin would roar back and get 2 points in the first period. After a scoreless period, Deakin managed to get back points with a near fall and a takedown to win the match 8-2.
165 saw the comeback kid, Stanford’s Shane Griffith returns to the championship match. He took on Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole who was on a 27 match winning streak. An exciting match would take place as Shane Griffith would get an early takedown. But O’Toole fought back and tied it up early in period 2 off of a slick side roll. Near the edge, O’Toole gets another takedown. Griffith got an escape. With seconds and down a point, Griffith looked to get a takedown but O’Toole did great negating the onslaught winning 6-5.
Your 174 finals featured two champions: Carter Starocci and Mehki Lewis. Early on, Lewis looked fantastic and strong. But Starocci stayed steady and waited on the gas tank of Lewis to wane. It would. After a couple takedowns each, the bout went into overtime. The first overtime period was scoreless and in the alternating rounds, Starocci took the lead in ride time and after both escaped, Starocci took the win.
The Big Boys and the Gable Steveson Curtain Call
The big boys came into play at the 2022 NCAA Championship with the 184 pound match between Penn State’s Aaron Brooks and Michigan and Olympic bronze medalist Myles Amine. Early there was a bunch of hand fighting for both wrestlers. But early on in the first, Brooks would get a takedown and rack up ride time. The second period saw Amine start on the bottom and get rode out the entire period. The third was too little too late as Brooks finally gave up a takedown. But up 5-3 with 5 seconds left, Amine didn’t try a turn and handed Brooks the title.
At 197, Max Dean makes it a perfect sweep for Penn State on the night. Going five for five, Dean took home the championship in a low scoring affair. First points came in the second period as Warner got an escape point. Dean got his escape point in the third and at the end of the match, got a takedown on a tired Jacob Warner and runs away for the win at the 2022 NCAA Championship.
Finally, the Olympic Gold Medalist, Gable Steveson took on Cholton Schultz in his last match for Minnesota. Steveson jumped out to a lead early and didn’t give Schultz anything. Only giving up a couple escape points, Steveson was never in real danger. After the match, Steveson played the crowd and did the backflip and then took his shoes off on the mat signifying his retirement and his future with the WWE.
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it. Also, Cowboy Cerrone is the GOAT.