2023 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Notebook • 197 pounds

WIN Magazine will provide notes and quotes about the 197-pound wrestlers at the 2023 NCAA Division I Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

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Semifinals (March 17 – 7 p.m.)

#1 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. #4 Ethan Laird (Rider), 10-4 — In a battle of two Pennsylvania natives who never won a high school state title, it was the Panther who scored a takedown in all three periods and controlled his way to his second NCAA finals appearance.

#7 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State) dec. #3 Rocky Elam (Missouri), 7-2 — The lowest seed to reach the finals, Sloan surrendered the first takedown but tied the bout with an escape and a penalty point. In the second period, the Iowa native broke open the match with a four-point nearfall and added a late escape to give the Jackrabbits a national finalist.

Quarterfinals (March 17 – 11 a.m.)

197 pounds

#1 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. #8 Silas Allred (Nebraska) 5-3 — The Panther, a 2021 NCAA finalist — scored two takedowns in the first period then held off a good ride by the young Cornhusker for his second All-American honor.

#4 Ethan Laird (Rider) dec. #12 Zac Braunagel (Illinois), 3-2 — Laird broke a 1-1 tie with a takedown in the final 30 seconds of regulation but was nearly taken down in the waning seconds on the edge of the mat. The Illini coaches threw a challenge brick, but the call was confirmed, giving Rider a semifinalist for the first-time All-American.

#3 Rocky Elam (Missouri) dec. #11 Jaxon Smith (Maryland), 6-3 — The Tiger scored a takedown in both the first and third periods to lead 5-0 before the Terp got on the board with an escape and takedown in the final 38 seconds.

#7 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State) dec. #2 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly), 6-4 SV — The pair traded takedowns in regulation, but it was Sloan who converted a high crotch to a double takedown on the edge of the mat to earn his first All-American honor and a trip to the semifinals.

Second Round (March 16 – 6 p.m.)

  • There will be two new finalists at 197 pounds as defending champ Max Dean of Penn State and 2022 runner-up Jake Warner of Iowa both lost in the second round.In a rematch of the 2023 Big Ten final (with a similar outcome), Nebraska sophomore and No. 8 ranked Silas Allred ended the reign of Penn State’s defending national champ Max Dean when he scored a 7-2 victory. The Husker ended any doubt when he scored a third takedown late in the match before adding a 1:02 riding time advantage. Warner, meanwhile, lost to Missouri’s No. 3 seed Rocky Elam, 6-2, as the Tiger scored a takedown in both the first and second periods.
  • Illinois’ No. 12 seed Zac Braunagel rallied to score two takedowns in the final period, the second coming with 37 seconds left to earn a 7-6 victory over Lehigh’s No. 5 seed Michael Beard. The Mountain Hawk had scored a takedown in both the first and second periods to lead 5-2 after two periods.
  • Rider’s Ethan Laird scored a takedown with 21 seconds left to give the No. 4 seed a 3-1 victory over Iowa State’s No. 13 Yonger Bastida.
  • Maryland’s No. 11 seed Jaxon Smith was leading NC State’s No. 6 Isaac Trumble 4-1 when the Terp scored the fall in 2:16.

First Round (March 16 – 11 a.m. CDT)

  • North Dakota State’s #16 Owen Pentz was leading Wisconsin’s #17 Braxton Amos, 3-0, when the Badger was forced to injury default.
  • Penn State’s defending national champ Max Dean, seeded #9, defeated Campbell’s Levi Hopkins, 6-1, as the Nittany Lion scored takedowns in the second and third period after a scoreless first period. This sets up a rematch of the 2023 Big Ten finals against Nebraska’s Silas Allred, who beat Virginia’s Michael Battista, 13-7
  • In a battle of former All-Americans, Iowa’s defending national runner-up and No. 14 seed Jacob Warner held off Michigan State’s No. 19 Cam Caffey, 5-1, scoring a second-period takedown and third-period reversal.




All-American Round (March 18 – 10 a.m.)

Finals (March 18 – 6 p.m.)

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