TULSA, Okla. — Purdue’s Matt Ramos pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA Division I wrestling history by ending Iowa’s Spencer Lee’s pursuit of four national titles in the final seconds of Friday night’s semifinal match.
Ramos, the No. 4 seed at 125 pounds, was knocked down with one second left in the third period, ending the nation’s longest winning streak at 58 matches.
Ramos was confident he could beat Lee.
“I work really hard and I believe in what I believe and say it’s there – I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything, but if I can’t get it out into the world, then I don’t believe it,” he said.
That leaves Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis as the lone wrestler in contention for a fourth title on Saturday. He defeated Penn State’s Shane Van Ness 8-3 in his semifinal match at 149 pounds. If Diakomihalis defeats Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the finals, he will become the fifth wrestler to win four Division I national championships.
Dikomichalis Lee was well aware of his defeat before the semi-finals.
“That moment was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know what to think,'” Diakomihalis said. “I mean, he’s one of those guys who’s very dominant, probably more dominant than me.”
Diakomihalis said he understands the pressure Lee is under.
“Gotta feel it a little, right?” he said. “I’m in the same situation. The whole arena is waiting for you to lose. Maybe they’re not rooting for you, but secretly it gets louder when the other guy goes. dial.”
Penn State is closing in on its 10th national title in 12 years. The Nittany Lions have 116.5 points. Iowa is second with 77.5, followed by Cornell (64) and Ohio State (62).
But the story of the night was Ramos. He led Lee 4-1 at the end of the first period, but Lee scored four near falls in the second period to take a 5-4 lead and set up the drama in the third period.
Ramos will face Princeton’s Pat Glory, who beat Nebraska’s Liam Cronin 8-2, in the other semifinal Saturday for the championship. Glory, No. 2 stand, undefeated.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Ramos said. “The work is not done yet.”
Three Penn State wrestlers — Roman Bravo-Young at 133, Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 184 — all advanced to the finals as they seek their third national title.
Bravo-Young scored two points in sudden victory against Arizona State’s Michael McGee. He now has the longest winning streak in the country at 56 matches.
“It was an exciting match,” Bravo-Young said. “He found a way to do it.”
Bravo-Young will face Cornell’s Vito Arujau, who beat Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix 11-3, in the other semifinal. Fix was beaten three times in the finals, but he lost and finished second.
Starocci defeated Cornell’s Chris Foka in the semifinals to advance to face Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the finals. Starocci defeated Labriola 6-1 in the Big Ten finals in an undefeated battle.
Brooks, seeded third, defeated No. 2 Trent Hilday of North Carolina 6-3 in the semifinals. He will face top seed Parker Kekkeisen of Northern Iowa in the finals.
Penn State became the fourth finalist when the freshman, the No. 2 seed, beat Nebraska’s Peyton Robb by 157 points. He will face North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor in the finals. The senior remained undefeated even after defeating Lehigh’s Josh Humphreys.
At 165, No. 1 seed David Carr defeated Princeton’s Quincy Monday 6-5 in the semifinals. Monday’s father is 1988 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Kenny Monday.
Other No. 1 seeds to advance to the finals were Michigan’s Mason Parris at 285, Pitt’s Nino Bonacorsi at 197 and Iowa’s Real Woods at 141.