Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis Wins 4th NCAA Wrestling Title

TULSA, Okla. –Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell became the fifth Division I wrestler to win four national titles and Penn State won its 10th tag team title in 12 years on Saturday at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, with the former president Donald Trump present for the evening session.

Trump shook hands and took selfies with fans and greeted several of the national champions. He sat down with staffers and US Senator Markwayne Mullin. The crowd rose when he took to the arena floor before the start of the nightly session with Mullin and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.

Diakomihalis capped off the night by beating Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso 4-2 in the 149-pound final. He joined Kyle Dake, Pat Smith, Logan Stieber and Cael Sanderson – the Penn State coach – as the only four-time Division I champions.

“All these guys are great because they’re different,” Diakomihalis said. “And, you know, my style is different. I could take bits and pieces from every guy, but when you see the end product, it’s its own form.”

Diakomihalis, 23, won national titles in 2018 and 2019. He took an Olympic year in a redshirt trying to make the USA team in 2019-20, then couldn’t wrestle in college during the 2020-21 season because the Ivy League canceled winter sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. He came back to win in 2022 and 2023, and now has bigger goals in mind with the Olympics coming up in 2024.

“What I did this weekend was far from the best version of myself,” he said. “And that’s far, far, far from what I need to be Olympic champion, world champion.”

Penn State ran away with the tag team title, mathematically clinching before the start of the evening session. The Nittany Lions finished with 137.5 points. Iowa was second with 82.5 points and Cornell was third with 76.5.

Two Penn State wrestlers have won titles for the third consecutive season – Penn State’s Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 184.

Starocci pinned Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola early in the second period. He beat Labriola in the Big Ten final and inflicted his only two losses of the season. Brooks, the No. 3 seed at 184, beat top seed Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa 7-2.

Not everything went as planned for Penn State. Third seed Vito Arujau of Cornell beat Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young – two-time defending champion and undefeated No. 1 seed – 10-4 for the title at 133. Bravo-Young had the most the country’s long winning streak at 56 matches. .

“The team had a great weekend,” Sanderson said. “A lot of courage, great performances. It’s an individual sport as well as a team sport. So as a coach you are always – your heart and your mind are with the guys who don’t reach very much their goals. But we have something to be happy and proud of.”

Iowa’s Spencer Lee was in contention for his fourth title before losing in the semifinals to Purdue’s Matt Ramos at 125 on Friday night. Lee withdrew from Saturday’s action and officially finished sixth.

Ramos continued his stunning upset by taking on Princeton’s Pat Glory, the undefeated No. 2 seed who was second in class last year. Glory won 3-1 to claim Princeton’s first national title since 1951.

Glory expected a battle from Ramos.

“Not everyone walks away and knocks Spencer Lee down like that,” Glory said. “It takes cojones, and I knew he would have the same mentality going into the game. I knew it was going to be a dogfight. And I knew it was going to be an opportunity and I had to capitalize and I knew I was going to be ready when he comes.”

In other finals, at 141, Andrew Alirez of northern Colorado beat Real Woods of Iowa 6-4 in an undefeated matchup. There was a long delay to settle a series of moves in the second period, and the challenge from Northern Colorado paid off. It gave Alirez four points for a near fall instead of two and it pushed their lead to 6-2. He went on to win his school’s first national title since 1962.

At 157, Austin O’Connor of North Carolina won his second national title with a 6-2 win over real Penn State freshman Levi Haines. O’Connor, who won at 149 in 2021, is now a five-time All-American. O’Connor got on the board with a breakout early in the third, then scored two takedowns to take command.

At 165, Keegan O’Toole of Missouri repeated by beating David Carr of Iowa State, 8-2. The second-seeded O’Toole avenged two losses to Carr this season by dominating the third period to pull away. Carr, the 2021 champion at 157, was undefeated and the No. 1 seed this season.

At 197, Pitt’s No. 1 seed Nino Bonaccorsi finished an undefeated season by beating South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan 5-3. Sloan, the No. 7 seed, took a 2-0 lead on a first-period ground takedown. Bonaccorsi took a 4-3 one-out lead in the final minute to take the lead permanently. Bonaccorsi lost to Oklahoma State’s AJ Ferrari in the 197 Finals in 2021.

And at 285, Michigan’s Mason Parris ended an undefeated season with a 5-1 win over Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet, the No. 3 seed. Parris and Kerkvliet had already shared six college matchups. Parris lost to Minnesota’s Gable Steveson in the 2021 Finals.


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