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2017 NCAA Championship Highlights

Finals started at 197 pounds in the Scottrade Center on March 18

197 — #1 J’den Cox (Missouri) dec. #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota), 8-2 — The most successful wrestler in Tiger history opened the 2017 finals and ended his career on a positive note scored two takedowns on single — at the 35-second mark in the first period, and with a minute left in the second period to lead 5-1 — before the three-time champion and Olympic bronze medalist ended his college career on a snap-down takedown with one second left.

Hwt — #1 Kyle Snyder (Cornell) dec. #2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 6-3 — It didn’t matter that Snyder — who won his World and Olympic gold medals at 213.5 pound — was undersized compared to Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery as the Buckeye picked up the Badger over his shoulder to score the first of three takedowns in capturing a second straight NCAA title. Before the match was over, Snyder added an inside single with 40 seconds left in the second period to lead 5-1, but showed he was human when he gave up a takedown to Medbery off a snapdown with 24 seconds left.

125 — #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. #6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota), 6-3 — Cruz put a takedown on the board on the edge with 28 seconds left to break a 2-2 deadlock — a takedown that was upheld after a coach’s challenge and video review — and then added icing on the championship cake by scoring another takedown off a counter with one second left. This marked Lehigh’s first takedown since heavyweight Zach Rey earned a title in 2011.

133 — #4 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. #2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State), 4-3 — Gross struck first with a takedown a little over a minute into the first period after a scramble when he countered a Clark shot. Clark added a couple escapes, and Gross had one, putting the score at 3-2 for Gross until Clark converted on a low shot double into points with 1:23 left in the match for 4-3 lead, then rode Gross out the rest of the period. Gross hit a granby in the closing seconds, but Clark held on. In celebration, he lateral dropped Iowa assistant Terry Brands nearly into the middle of the mat.

141 — #1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. #6 George DiCamillo (Virginia), 6-3 — Heil, a junior, put takedowns on the board in the first and third periods off a double, and High-C shot, respectively to capture a second straight championship. All three of DiCamillo’s points came off escapes, though he did get close to scoring on a couple takedowns in the second period. Heil had 1:12 of riding time.

149 — #1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) won by TF over #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri), 18-2 — After giving up an opening takedown in the first 15 seconds of the match, the Nittany Lion continued his domination of the NCAA tournament the past two seasons by scoring three takedowns and then used his famous “bow-and-arrow” to score 12 consecutive points in the final minute on three different four-point holds. In Retherford’s five matches in St. Louis, the junior scored four technical falls and one pin; one season after the Nittany Lion won the 2016 championship with three pins, one TF and one major decision.

157 — #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) major dec. #3 Joey Lavallee (Missouri), 14-6 — The Nittany Lion sophomore scored four of his six takedown in the final period to make sure he would score bonus points in all five matches in St. Louis to captured his first championship; one year after he finished second at 157 pounds.

165 — #3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) pinned #1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois), 5:26 — The Nittany Lion freshman ignored the fact that he had lost twice to the two-time NCAA champion from Illinois by scoring three takedowns; the final one coming off and over-under throw that gave him an 8-5 lead before he flattened Martinez.

174 — #5 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), 5-2 — The true freshman opened the scoring in the second period by adding a takedown with 43 seconds left to add to his escape for a 3-0 lead. Jordan added a couple escapes to make it 3-2, with not a lot of action after that the rest of the match, drawing some boos from the crowd, to which Hall responded with a big double-leg takedown to add to his one-point lead and seal the win.

184 — #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State) dec. #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell), 4-3 — After giving up an opening takedown to the two-time NCAA champion from Cornell, the Nittany Lion sophomore benefitted from a video review that gave him a takedown and 3-2 lead in the first period. The 2016 NCAA runner-up at 174 pounds then swapped escapes with the Big Red senior, who nearly scored a takedown near the edge of the mat with 58 seconds left.

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