NewsUSA WrestlingCollegeUSAW

Penn State goes four for four in the 2021 NCAA Championship finals, but Iowa brings home the team title

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Photo of Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young courtesy of John Sachs.

St. Louis, Mo. – There was no dramatic showdown for the team title in the final session of the 2021 NCAA Championships. The Iowa Hawkeyes already clinched it in this morning’s medal round. However, Penn State held a narrow two-point lead over Oklahoma State for control of No. 2 position in the team standings. In tonight’s finals, the Nittany Lions locked it down, earning four individual champions.

In the first match of the night Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young defeated Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, 4-2, in sudden victory in the 133 pound finals, which ended the Cowboy’s hopes of overtaking PSU for second place. Bravo-Young rode Fix for the entirety of the second period. However, he was dinged two stalling points in the third period, resulting in overtime. Bravo-Young kept his composure and iced the match, converting on a low-level reattack.

In the very next bout, Penn State’s Nick Lee downed Iowa’s Jaydin Eierman in the 141 pound finals. This match also came down to sudden victory, where Lee was able to score the winning takedown, avenging a 6-5 loss he took to Eierman in the Big Ten finals two weeks ago.

Penn State’s next champion came at 174 pounds, where freshman Carter Starocci pulled perhaps the biggest upset of the night, with a 3-1 sudden victory over Iowa’s Michael Kemerer. Starocci previously fell to Kemerer in the Big Ten finals, 7-2. He credited the Penn State coaching staff for helping him make the necessary adjustments to reverse the result this time around.

“I learn every second of the day. I learned through that match on many things that I can get better on and do better. I learn all the time, so yeah for sure I learned a lot. Me and my coaches, we went through some things that I could have fixed and that I could improve on, so that’s what we did. Even during that match, I mean I won, but I can still be better,” Starocci said.

Aaron Brooks, the only Penn State wrestler favored in his final, also delivered with a 3-2 victory over NC State’s Trent Hilday at 184 pounds, capping a perfect season for the Nittany Lion sophomore.

Spencer Lee was Iowa’s lone champion, earning his third NCAA title at 125 pounds with a 7-0 decision over Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney. After the match, Lee revealed to the media that he suffered a severe ACL injury in the Big Ten finals. This is the third major ACL injury Lee has experienced since his senior year of high school. While doctors thought he might not be able to compete, Lee battled through the tournament like a true warrior, earning bonus point victories in every match on his way to the finals. Incredibly, Lee also stated that as of right now he still plans to participate in the 57 kg Olympic Team Trials in two weeks.

Iowa finished the tournament with 129 team points and seven All-Americans. In addition to their four champions, Penn State earned two seventh place finishers in the morning medal round, netting 113.5 total points. Third place Oklahoma State finished with 99.5 team points and six total All-Americans. AJ Ferrari earned a national title at 197 pounds for the Cowboys. The true freshman bested Pittsburgh’s Nino Bonaccorsi, 4-2, in the finals.

Arizona State finished fourth in the team race with 74 points, also securing a team trophy.

Stanford’s Shane Griffith brought the stadium to its feet after defeating Pittsburgh’s Jake Wentzel, 6-2, in the 165 pound finals. Seconds after winning his match, Griffith threw on a “Keep Stanford Wrestling” hoodie and the arena erupted with a “Bring back Stanford wrestling" chant. Last summer, Stanford’s administration made the decision to cut 12 sports programs, including wrestling, after the 2021 season. Griffith, who was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler, is the second NCAA champion in school history and the first since 2004.Stanford freshman Jaden Abas also earned All-American honors, placing seventh at 149 pounds. The Cardinal wrestling team finished in 17th place at the tournament.

North Carolina earned their first NCAA champion since 1995 with Austin O’Connor bringing home the title at 149 pounds. O’Connor defeated Ohio State’s top-seeded Sammy Sasso, 3-2.

Minnesota’s Gable Steveson remained perfect on the season with an 8-4 decision over Michigan’s Mason Parris at 285 pounds. Steveson, who controlled the action throughout the match, capped his victory with an impressive round-off into a backflip. Steveson also defeated Parris in the Big Ten finals, 12-4.

David Carr became Iowa State’s first NCAA champion during the Kevin Dresser era with a 4-0 victory over Jesse Dellavecchia of Rider in the 157 pound finals. David joins his legendary father Nate Carr as an NCAA champion for the Cyclones. The elder Carr earned three NCAA titles during his college career.

2021 NCAA Div. I Championships

At St. Louis, Mo

Finals Results (in order)
133: No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State), 4-2 (SV-1)
141: No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) DEC No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa), 4-2 (SV-1)
149: No. 2 Austin O’Connor DEC No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State), 3-2
157: No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) DEC No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider), 4-0
165: No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) DEC No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh), 6-2
174: No. 2 Carter Starocci (Penn State) DEC No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 3-1 (SV-1)
184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) DEC No. 3 Trent Hidlay (NC State), 3-2
197: No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State) DEC No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh), 4-2
285: No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) DEC No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan), 8-4
125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State)

Final Team Scores

1. Iowa 129.0
2. Penn State 113.5
3. Oklahoma State 99.5
4. Arizona State 74.0
5. Michigan 69.0
6. NC State 68.0
7. Minnesota 64.0
7. Missouri 64.00
9. Ohio State 46.5
10. Northwestern 45.0
11. Pittsburgh 40.5
12. Nebraska 38.0
13. Iowa State 37.5
13. Rutgers 37.5
15. Virginia Tech 36.5
16. North Carolina 36.0
17. Stanford 35.5
18. Illinois 25.0
19. Northern Iowa 24.5
20. Rider 22.0
21. Utah Valley 21.5
22. Central Michigan 20.0
23. Wisconsin 18.5
24. Oklahoma 17.0
25. Cal Poly 16.5
26. Purdue 15.5
26. South Dakota State 15.5
26. Wyoming 15.5
29. Northern Illinois 13.5
30. Michigan State 13.0
31. Lehigh 11.5
31. Virginia 11.5
31. West Virginia 11.5
34. Bucknell 11.0
35. Fresno State 10.5
35. North Dakota State 10.5
37. Navy 7.5
38. Appalachian State 6.5
38. Binghamton 6.5
38. Campbell 6.5
41. Air Force 6.0
41. Army West Point 6.0
41. CSU Bakersfield 6.0
44. Hofstra 5.5
44. Kent State 5.5
46. Indiana 5.0
46. Oregon State 5.0
48. Drexel 3.5
48. Duke 3.5
48. Northern Colorado 3.5
51. Clarion 1.5
51. Cleveland State 1.5
51. Gardner-Webb 1.5
54. Bloomsburg 1.0
54. Buffalo 1.0
54. Chattanooga 1.0
54. Ohio 1.0
58. Edinboro 0.5
58. Little Rock 0.5
60. American 0.0
60. Sacred Heart 0.0
60. SIU Edwardsville 0.0
60. The Citadel 0.0

Placement Match Results
3rd – Patrick McKee (Minnesota) MD Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan) 5-3
5th - Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley) DEC Sam Latona (Virginia Tech), 4-1
7th – Killian Cardinale (West Virginia) DEC Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), 12-7

3rd - Austin DeSanto (Iowa) DEC Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) , 10-6
5th – Lucas Byrd (Illinois) FALL Michael McGee (Arizona State), 6:17
7th - Chris Cannon (Northwestern) MD Louie Hayes (Virginia), 11-3

3rd -Tariq Wilson (NC State) MD Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) 15-5
5th - Dylan Duncan (Illinois)DEC Chad Red (Nebraska), 3-0
7th -Zachary Sherman (North Carolina) DEC Clay Carlson (South Dakota State), 11-4

3rd - Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) DEC Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), 5-3
7th – Jaden Abas (Stanford) DEC Jonathan Millner (Appalachian State), 5-3

3rd – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) DEC Jacori Teemer (Arizona State), 1-0
5th – Hayden Hidlay (NC State) MD Brayton Lee (Minnesota), 11-2
7th – Kaleb Young (Iowa) DEC Wyatt Sheets (Oklahoma State), 3-2

3rd – Keegan O`Toole (Missouri) DEC Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State), 4-3
5th – Ethan Smith (Ohio State) DEC Zach Hartman (Bucknell), 7-5 (SV1)
7th – Cameron Amine (Michigan) DEF Anthony Valencia (Arizona State), MFF

3rd – Mikey Labriola (Nebraska) DEC Bernie Truax (Cal Poly), 8-3
5th – Logan Massa (Michigan) DEF Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) (MFF)
7th – Daniel Bullard (NC State) DEF Jackson Turley (Rutgers), MFF

3rd – Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) DEC over John Poznanski (Rutgers), 5-4
5th – Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State) DEC Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois), 6-0
7th - Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech) DEC Lou Deprez (Binghamton), 6-3
3rd Place Match

3rd – Myles Amine (Michigan) DEC Jacob Warner (Iowa), 5-3
5th – Rocky Elam (Missouri) DEC Jake Woodley (Oklahoma), 9-3
7th – Michael Beard (Penn State) DEC Stephen Buchanan (Wyoming), 10-8 (SV-1)

3rd – Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) 13-3 DEC Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), 5-0
5th – Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State) DEC Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), 10-7
7th – Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) MD Tate Orndorff (Ohio State) 13-1