First off, I'd like to congratulate the wrestling finalists with what was for the most part an action packed final. The matches were mostly close, sprinkled liberally with offense and provided satisfying amounts of drama. This event provided a nice showcase for the sport of wrestling at an important juncture for the sport. I'm happy to say that this event delivered in every possible way.
Two story lines dominated all the individual championships. First, going into the finals, the team championship was very much in doubt. It was not until Quentin Wright's rousing win in the 197 pounds finals that Penn State secured the title from the rapacious hands of a surging Oklahoma State.
Once the team title was confirmed, all the anticipation turned toward the final match at 165. Here, Cornell's Kyle Dake attempted to win a fourth national title at a fourth weight class without the benefit of a red shirt. In his way was Penn State's David Taylor, a defending champion who has savaged every other wrestler in the class. Dake and Taylor's match exceeded all expectations. It featured offensive take downs from both wrestlers, and Dake's victory was in doubt till the end. Ultimately, wrestling got the result it needed to snag national attention at a crucial time. Kyle Dake, college wrestling's all time king, ascended to his throne.
174: Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) dec. Matt Brown (Penn State), 2-1 TB
This match featured little offense and went into a tie breaker. Chris Perry (in orange) achieved a ride out in his 30 second period on top. In the second 30 second period, Brown chose to let Perry loose in an attempt to take him down or draw a second stalling warning for a penalty point. Fully aware that he couldn't afford to take a stall, Perry deftly dropped to a single leg and held on for dear life to ice the match.
184: Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. Robert Hamlin (Lehigh), 12-4
Defending NCAA champ Ed Ruth (in blue) erased any doubt as to his superiority with a fairly effortless single leg takedown early in the first period. Lehigh's Hamlin didn't stand much of a chance.
Ruth continued to pour it on in the third period, taking down Hamlin twice in short order at the end of the third period to earn a major decision. Sometimes it just seems that Ruth can just will himself to a take down whenever he really wants.
197: Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Dustin Kilgore (Kent State), 8-6
Two NCAA champs meet in the finals at 197. Quentin Wright (in blue) is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, but I gave him little chance to win this match against the beastly Kilgore. Once again, as he has done so many times in his career, Wright proves me wrong.
Wright was able to score on the more powerful Kilgore several times with surprising ease. Here he takes Kilgore down with his patented under hook knee pick with a step around trip. He drives Kilgore over with an under hook with his left arm, blocks a knee with his left hand and steps around with the other leg for a trip.
Kilgore took a short lived lead in the first period, scoring on Wright by driving into his leg from a front head lock position.
Ultimately Wright and his under hook series proved to be to much too much for Kilgore. He scored twice more with it, once scooping a single on the under hook side and going behind Kilgore on the edge of the mat, and again using the under hook to leverage himself into a running double leg.
285: Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. Mike McMullan (Northwestern), 6-2
I have to confess I'm pleasantly surprised with the level of action in the heavyweight final. Tony Nelson (in gold) scored an offensive take down in this first period, and McMullan was in on a number of deep shots. Here McMullen attempts his preferred sweep single to the left, and Nelson responds with a brutal sprawl and go behind for the deciding take down in the match.
125: Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. Nico Megaludis (Penn State), 7-4
This is the single greatest move of the finals. The match was tightly contested and tied heading into the third period. A scramble occurred in the third period, and somehow Jesse Delgado (red ankle band) was able to lock up a modified far side cradle. He rocks Megaludis back in the hold, earning control for the take down, as well as three back exposure points.This put the match out of reach and secured a national title for Delgado.
133: Logan Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Tony Ramos (Iowa), 7-4
Logan Stieber (in grey) looked like he would cruise to a win with two first period take downs. Here he feints and catches Ramos driving in on his knees, and scores with a super quick high tie slide by.
This match was not without controversy. In the second Ramos penetrates by re-shooting with a knee pull single to the left side. As he elevates Steiber's leg, Logan attempts an Abas roll and grabs Ramos's ankle, but in the process leaves himself stuck on his hip. Ramos smartly wraps Stieber's head and leg and brings him to his back in an almost cradle. The refs scored this a take down for Ramos, but did not award back points. The call was confirmed on video replay, but doubt still remains.
141: Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) dec. Mitchell Port (Edinboro), 4-3
Kendrick Maple earns a workmanlike victory over the Boro's Mitchell Port. Here Maple secures Ports far lat with an under hook, picks up the near leg and trips the far leg for the take down.
149: Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) dec. Jason Chamberlain (Boise State), 3-2
In a match featuring very little action, Jordan Oliver (in orange) scores the only points he needs in the waning seconds with a high tie slide by. He feints to prompt forward motion from Chamberlain, pops Chamberlain's right arm with his right arm, pivots and whips Chamberlain past him with outside collar tie. Chamberlain was left with no time to answer.
157: Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Jason Welch (Northwestern), 3-2
Here Welch, after a third period St. John escape, earns the only offensive take down of the bout with a timely pelvic thrust. Unfortunately for Welch, this was not enough as St. John won on the strength of riding time, an escape, and a weird penalty point for locked hands.
165: Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. David Taylor (Penn State), 5-4
In the match of the century, David Taylor (in blue) opens the scoring with a cross ankle pick. Taylor collars with his left hand, reaches across Dake's body and grabs the ankle with his right hand and when Dake turns and attempts to kick away, Taylor secures the second leg for two points.
Taylor's lead didn't last. Later in the first period Dake drops into a low single on Taylor. Dake elevates his chest out the back door, hooks Taylor's bottom leg, and rotates around for the take down. Notice how Dake manually adjusts the bottom leg hook to insure his leg is hooked knee deep around Taylor's.
Kyle Dake caps off a great division 1 NCAA Wrestling championships with the greatest achievement in the history of college athletics.