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Photo: Yianni Diakomihalis beat Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the 149-pound final at the 2023 NCAA Division I Championships to become the sport’s fifth four-time championship. (Ginger Robinson photo)
TULSA, Okla. — There were plenty of records set for at least four different schools led by both Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks each capturing a third national championship to put the icing on a dominant team championship for the Nittany Lions at the 2023 NCAA Division I Championships Saturday night at the BOK Center.
Starocci scored a fall at 174 pounds and Brooks beat a higher seed at 184 to help the Nittany Lions earn the school’s 11th team title and 10th under head coach Cael Sanderson by a 137.5-82.5 point margin over second place Iowa.
But on a more individual note, Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis (149) become the sport’s fifth four-time champ, while Princeton’s Pat Glory (125) and Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez (141) became their school’s first national champion since 1951 and 1962, respectively.
There were a couple of upsets, especially at 133 where Cornell’s Vito Arujau beat Penn State’s two-time champ Roman Bravo-Young to help the Big Red finish third in the team race. Arujau was later named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Otherwise, North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor (157) won a second championship, Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi (197) won his school’s first national title in 15 years and Michigan heavyweight Mason Parris turned his third All-American honor into a championship.
Final Top 25 Team Standings
|14||South Dakota State||37|
|24||North Dakota State||25.5|
125 – #2 Pat Glory (Princeton) dec. #4 Matt Ramos (Purdue), 4-1 – Leading 1-0 after two periods, the Ivy League Tiger took advantage of the Boilermaker choosing neutral in the third period when he scored a takedown off a single with 1:25 left, then added a point for a 1:16 riding time advantage.
133 — #3 Vito Arujau (Cornell) dec. #1 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State), 10-4 — The three-time Big Red All-American captured his first title against the two-time defending champ, when he first scored two takedowns in the first period, added a four-point nearfall in the second and finally a third-period reversal to go along with a 1:21 riding time advantage.
141 — #2 Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado) dec. #1 Real Woods (Iowa), 6-4 – Nearly all scoring took place in a crazy second period when the Hawkeye first scored a two-point nearfall, before the Bear scored a reversal and a four-point nearfall to lead 6-3 entering the third. The first-time All-American allowed a third-period escape for the school’s first national championships in 61 years.
149 – #1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) dec. #2 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State), 4-2 — The sport’s fifth four-time champion accomplished this feat when the Big Red senior broke open a scoreless second period when he scored a reversal 30 seconds into the frame before adding another takedown before the third period. The Buckeye’s three-time All-American, competing in his second final, added two escapes.
157 — #1 Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) dec. #2 Levi Haines (Penn State), 6-2 — After two scoreless periods, the Tar Heel became his school’s second multiple national champ when he scored two takedowns — off a double at the 1:26 mark and another off a low single 20 seconds later and added a 2:19 riding time advantage. Only three-time champ T.J. Jaworsky (1993-95) has won more titles for the Tar Heels.
165 — #2 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri) dec. #1 David Carr (Iowa State), 8-2 — The Tiger avenged two losses to the Cyclone this season and captured his second straight championship when the junior scored two takedowns, one with 37 seconds left in the first period and another with a minute left. The second takedown led to a two-point nearfall before O’Toole added a 1:55 riding time advantage.
174 — #1 Carter Starocci (Penn State) pinned #2 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska), 2:46 — Unlike his first two national titles, which the Nittany Lion won in overtime in 2021 and 2022, Starocci scored a takedown with 20 seconds left in the first, then quickly caught the Husker on his back for the fall.
184 — #3 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. #1 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa), 7-2 — The Nittany Lion captured his third national championship when he scored a takedown in both the first off a single with 31 seconds left and another off a double 30 seconds into the second period. Brooks added a 1:12 riding time advantage.
197 — #1 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. #7 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State), 5-3 — The Panther, who lost in the 2021 finals and failed to place last year, became his school’s first national champion since his coach Keith Gavin accomplished the feat in 2008. Rallying from a 3-0 deficit, the ACC’s second champ of the night first scored off a single with one minute left in the second period, then added another with 53 seconds left before adding a 2:10 riding-time advantage.
Hwt — #1 Mason Parris (Michigan) dec. #2 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), 5-1 — The Wolverine used a first-period fireman’s carry takedown, then added two escapes and a 1:45 riding time point for his third win over the Nittany Lions this winter and his first national championship.