2024 NCAA Wrestling Championships Finals Highlights

Updated: March 23, 2024

Photo: Penn State not only won a third-straight team title and 14th since 2011, but set and NCAA record for points (172.5) and scoring margin (100) over Michigan (72.5). (Ginger Robinson photo)

Final Team Scores

Final Brackets

The following are highlights of the 2024 NCAA Division I Championships that were held in Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center. The finals started at heavyweight.

Hwt — #1 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) def. #10 Lucas Davison (Michigan), 13-4

Penn State’s top-seeded Greg Kerkvliet easily won the first championship bout of the night on the strength of four takedowns against the tenth-seeded Wolverine. Kerkvliet, who finished the second 20-0, used two low singles in the first period, a head-outside single in the second, and a snap-down with 29 seconds left in the bout to give him the points needed for a major to seal the win. All four of Davison’s points came off escapes.

125 — #8 Richard Figueroa (Arizona State) dec. #3 Drake Ayala (Iowa), 7-2

The key points of the match came on a Figueroa takedown with one second left of the second period. Ayala had a beautiful shot, only to see the Sun Devil counter on the edge and come around behind for a takedown of his own. The points came so close to the end of the period the officials first reviewed the call themselves … then after confirming it was a takedown, Iowa challenged the call and it was upheld after the coaches’ challenge as well.

The No. 8 -seed Figueroa iced the match with a takedown with 15 seconds to go in the match to take a 7-1 lead.

133 — #6 Vito Arujau (Cornell) dec. #1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State), 5-3

 It appeared the World champ Arujau had broken a 2-2 tie with 1:10 left in the match with a takedown, and he was even awarded the points. However, after officials reviewed the call, the takedown was waived off, most likely because of the new reaction-time rule before takedown points were awarded. The defending champ continued to pursue Fix from their feet, and eventually got the match-winner with 20 seconds left in the bout and rode Fix out for the win.

After a scoreless first period, the first point of the match came at the start of the second period with a locked-hands call on Arujau after the OSU coaches challenged the no call. After a long review, Arujau cut Fix, giving the Cowboy a 2-0 lead. Arujau nearly had a takedown with 52 seconds left in the second period, but no points were awarded. Then, just before the takedown ended, it appeared both guys nearly had the first takedown of the match that eventually lasted 21 minutes, but again no points were awarded.

 In the third, Arujau escaped to start the period then Fix was hit with stalling to even the match 2-2.

141 — #1 Jesse Mendez (Ohio State) dec. #2 Beau Bartlett (Penn State), 4-1

In the rubber match of their three-match set this year, Mendez got the match-winner with four seconds left on a counter takedown to a great Bartlett shot that appeared to almost give the Nittany Lion the winning points. The two traded escapes in the first and second periods, pushing the 1-1 match late into the final period. Both of their first matchups earlier this year ended with the same score, with Bartlett winning the first one in the teams’ dual meet, and Bartlett winning the Big Ten title and the NCAA title by the same margin.

149 — #4 Caleb Henson (Virginia Tech) dec. #6 Austin Gomez (Michigan), 15-7

An explosion of first-period points by Henson was the difference as he blew the match open after giving up the first takedown 20 seconds into the match. After a double-leg by Henson, he immediately transitions into two near-fall points for the 6-3 lead. He then turned Gomez for four more at the 1:42 mark and added a second takedown with :48 seconds left in the period.

 Gomez converted on a single with 39 seconds left in the second period to pull within 14-7, but the Hokie sophomore had a big enough lead he was able to hold off the hard-charging the Wolverine rest of the match for his title.

157 — #1 Levi Haines (Penn State) dec. #2 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State), 5-0

Penn State got their second title of the night when Levi Haines got the 157-pound final’s only takedown 21 seconds into the third period for a 4-0 lead after getting an escape three seconds into the second period. The Nittany Lion sophomore added a fifth point for 1:36 in riding time.

165 — #4 David Carr (Iowa State) dec. #2 Mitchell Mesenbrink (Penn State), 9-8

In what could have been the most anticipated final of the night, it lived up to everything fans thought it would be. 2:06 of riding time for Carr ended up being the difference in his 9-8 win over the undefeated talented Nittany Lion redshirt freshman Mesenbrink. Mesenbrink actually got the last takedown of the match with a three-pointer with 1:07 left, giving him his first lead of the match at 8-7. Carr escaped not long after and held off Mesenbrink for the win.

 Carr opened scoring five seconds into the bout with a low double for the 3-0 lead. Mesenbrink eventually got the escape, and Carr got one of his own to start the second period. Carr was then hit with stalling a second time to make the match 4-2, but the Cyclone senior responded with a second takedown with 30 seconds left in the second for a 7-2 lead. But Mesenbrink got out with one second left in the second to make it 7-3 going into the third period.

 Mesenbrink got a point off a Carr stalling call and then shortly after another point off an escape to start the third period to make the match 7-5. The score then stayed 7-5 until Mesenbrink’s takedown with 1:07 gave him his first lead.

174 — #9 Carter Starocci (Penn State) dec. #6 Rocco Welsh (Ohio State), 2-0

The Nittany Lion became only the sixth wrestler in NCAA history to win four NCAA titles in a low-scoring final. Starocci got his first point when Welsh was hit for stalling a second time in the first period, then got the two-point to lead to start the second period when escaped to start the second period. Welsh chose neutral to start the third and Starocci was eventually hit for stalling, but no further points were scored.

184 — #1 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) major dec. vs. #3 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State), 14-5          

 The Panther controlled the match from start to finish, posting his fifth bonus-point win in as many matches at the 2024 NCAAs … cementing his name as a Hodge Trophy finalist. Keckeisen impressively put up four takedowns in rolling to his first title vs. Oklahoma State’s Dustin Plott. He had two in the first and third periods to blow open the match.

197 — #1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. #2 Trent Hidlay (NC State), 6-1

For the first time in history, a team has two four-time champs in the same year as Aaron Brooks joined teammate Carter Starocci in the prestigious club with a dominant win over NC State’s previously undefeated Trent Hidlay in the final. It was Brooks’ first non-bonus-point win over the tournament. After a stall warning on Hidlay with 38 seconds left in the first period, Brooks hit a high-crotch takedown for the 3-0 lead with six seconds left in the first period.

Brooks escaped to start the second period, then saw his lead go to 5-0 when Hidlay was hit with stalling again with 20 seconds left in the second period. After going down the final period and getting ridden for a long time, Hidlay did get away for his first point of the match but Brooks added 1:49 in riding time for the five-point win and his final title as a Nittany Lion.