There are only ten games left in the 2022-23 NCAA D1 wrestling season, and I’m here in Tulsa, Oklahoma to blog them live from the BOK Center!
live now · March 16-18, 15:00 UTC
2023 NCAA Championships Watch Party
We start at 157 pounds and finish with Yianni Diakomihalis to join wrestling royalty and the four-time champion club.
We have a little time before the first whistle, but here’s a preview of the arena a few hours before the start of the broadcast on ESPN.
National Anthem Practice Run pic.twitter.com/Ik7avW9WgS
— Andrew Spey (@SpeyWrestle) March 18, 2023
The numbers below are seeds, by the way.
157: #1 Austin O’Connor, NC vs. #2 Levi Haines, Penn State
AOC is a four-time All-American and a five-time qualifier. The Chicago native placed third as a freshman, won a title in 2021 and finished 8th last year.
Haines is a true freshman and Pennsylvania native. He trained as Penn State legend David Taylor’s wrestling club in high school.
1st period: And here we go! Oh yes, Trump is here, with Congressman MarkWayne Mullin. But no offense to anyone on planet earth, I’m going to stick to wrestling blogging from now on. I also won’t joke about how this first game showcases AOC. I will not do it. It wouldn’t be prudent. I’m not about that. I just thought that was a bit remarkable. No score midway through the first period. A few half shots but nothing risky and the period ends 0-0.
2nd period. AOC deferred and Haines opted down. Haines rolls onto his back and had to be careful but no sweep. AOC rolls for 45 seconds before going out of bounds. Haines rolls again and this time AOC gets two hits. Or does he? A timely brick comes out of the PSU corner. The action continues. AOC shortens the driving time to 1:28 before going out of bounds again. They will review the impending call. And the points go out of the table, the call is cancelled. They wind the clock back to the time of the call and AOC stays on top. AOC is hard at the top and overcomes the period. Still 0-0 but O’Connor has 2:00 RT.
3rd period: O’Connor tower below. AOC is up and out in 7 seconds, not much effort to hold AOC down, which is probably the right move strategically. AOC blasts that plan by securing a low brace and extending their lead to 3-0. Quick escape from O’Connor, Haines attacks but AOC counters and with another takedown that will probably freeze him. An escape by Haines but with RT locked in this one is in the bag. And that’s all. Austin O’Connor is a two-time NCAA champion
6-2 is the final. AOC is the second two-time champion in UNC history. The other is 3X champ TJ Jaworsky.
And AOC can shake hands with Trump. Again, don’t make any further comments, just note a fact that might be of interest. No jokes here.
165: 1 David Carr, Iowa State vs #2 Keegan O’Toole, Missouri
Wisconsin native Keegan O’Toole is a triple AA. He placed 3rd as a freshman in 2021 and won a 165lb title last season.
David Car is also an NCAA champion, winning at 157 in 2021. He placed third last year. Carr also beat KO’T in the regular season and in the Big 12 Finals this season. David’s father was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1988.
174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State vs. #2 Mikey Labriola, Nebraska
Carter Starocci, a native of Erie, Pa., is in his third NCAA tournament, a tournament in which he has never lost a game, after winning the last two titles at 174 pounds.
Also a Pennsylvanian, but across the state in the Lehigh Valley, Labriola is a five-time NCAA qualifier and four-time AA. He has placed 6th, 3rd and 7th in the last three NCAA championships played.
184: #1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa vs. #3 Aaron Brooks, Penn State
Keckeisen is, like O’Toole, originally from Wisconsin and trained at the Askren Wrestling Academy. He’s ranked third at 184 the past two seasons.
Maryland native Aaron Brooks is a two-time defending NCAA champion and, like teammate Starocci, has never lost an NCAA game.
197: #1 Nino Bonaccorsi, Pitt vs. #7 Tanner Sloan, South Dakota State
Pittsburgh native Nino Bonaccorsi is a 5-time qualifier and a two-time All-American, having made the Finals in 2021. He’s been around blood in 2019 and 2022.
Sloan is a first-time All-American. The Iowa native finished in the Round of 16 two years ago and went 1-2 last season.
285: #1 Mason Parris, Michigan vs. #2 Greg Krkvliet, Penn State
Parris, a native of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is a 5X qualifier and three-time usher. He was a runner-up in 2021 and placed 5th last season. He also had numerous D1 football scholarship offers which he turned down to pursue the sport of wrestling full-time in college.
Kerkvliet is a Minnesota native who has qualified for three NCAA tournaments, placing in all of them. He finished 7th two years ago and 4th last year. He’s also been beaten by Parris twice this year, in duels and at the Big Tens.
125: #2 Pat Glory, Princeton vs. #4 Matt Ramos, Purdue
A graduate of Delbarton in Morris County, New Jersey, Glory is a four-time qualifier and three-time AA, placing 6th in 2019 and 2nd in 2022. He was forced to sit out the 2021 season under Ivy League rules.
Matt Ramos is a redshirt sophomore in his second NCAA Tournament. The Chicagoland native was a boar last year. This year he beat Spencer Lee in the semi-finals. You may have heard.
133: #1 Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State vs. #3 Vito Arujau, Cornell
Roman Bravo-Young hails from Tuscon, Arizona and is seeking his third NCAA title. It also ranked 8th in 2019. Also, RBY is an expert on Call of Duty or one of those other First Person Shooter video games, which I can’t remember right now. But if you want to know more, just watch the RBY documentary which you can find on FloWrestling or YouTube and probably other places.
Vito Arujau is a Long Island, New York junior and three-time All-American, placing 4th in 2019 and 3rd last season. His father, like David Carr’s father, is an Olympic bronze medalist.
141: #1 Real Woods, Iowa vs. #2 Andrew Alirez, Northern Colorado
Woods, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico and went to Montini Catholic High School in Chicago, is a 2X AA who started his career at Stanford before transferring to Iowa ahead of the 2021-22 season. where he placed 6th for the Hawkeyes.
Alirez’s hometown is Greeley, Colorado, the same town where you’ll find the Northern Colorado campus. As cultured as can be, Alirez qualified for his third NCAA Tournament, although this is the first time he has qualified for medals.
149: #1 Yianni Diakomihalis, Cornell vs. #2 Sammy Sasso, Ohio State
We end with Hilton, NY native Yianni Diakomihalis looking to win his fourth NCAA title and become just five humans to accomplish the feat. Yianni also won a world silver medal at 65kg last summer, the first men’s freestyle medal at that weight since 2006.
Sammy Sasoo, who is, like Labriola, from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, is trying to reverse Yianni’s historic quest for four titles (something that happened once before here in Tulsa). He placed fifth last year and was a runner-up in 2021.