Iowa senior Tony Ramos appeared to be on his way to defeat in a championship match for the second consecutive season.
Tied at 1-all, Ramos was rode out by Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff during the first 30 seconds of the second overtime session Saturday night. All Graff had to do was escape in the final 30 seconds and he would have been a 133-pound national champion.
Instead, Ramos capitalized on a mistake, scored two nearfall points and escaped the mat with his first-ever national championship.
“I knew he liked to roll,” said Ramos of the mistake he took advantage of. “As soon as he hit that roll, I was just finding some way to score. I caught that arm and thought if I just fall back a little bit … I am just glad I got it.”
It was the fourth consecutive dramatic win at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships for Ramos, who advanced through each round with last-second takedown or nearfalls.
Wisconsin challenged the official’s call, but the video confirmed the back points and Ramos rushed into the stands to embrace his family and friends.
“It’s awesome,” said Ramos, who became the 53rd Iowa grappler to win an NCAA title. “I am way excited. I can’t wait to get out of here, take that drug test, celebrate with my family, get my bracket, go home and put it on the wall.”
Ramos was the only finalist for the Hawkeyes as Iowa ended up fourth in the team standings for the second consecutive season. Penn State won its fourth straight NCAA title with 109.5 points, while Minnesota (104) and Oklahoma State (96.5) were second and third, respectively. Iowa ended up with 78.5 points.
The Hawkeyes ended the year with a shared Big Ten Conference dual title, one Big Ten champion (Ramos), one national champion and six All-Americans.
Iowa heavyweight Bobby Telford was the Hawkeyes’ second-best finisher as he took fourth overall, bouncing back from an injury in 2013. He was fifth as a freshman in 2012.
Senior Derek St. John, the defending national champion at 157 pounds, lost again on Saturday morning and settled for fifth. Freshman Cory Clark also was fifth at 125, Mike Evans was sixth for the second straight season at 174 and Nathan Burak finished eighth at 197.
“I came to this tournament for a purpose,” said St. John, who won 106 matches in his Iowa career. “And placing the lowest you’ve placed in four years kind of stings. It’s a get what you deserve kind of thing I guess.”
St. John ended up a four-time All-American at Iowa and is just the 18th in program history to do that. He was fourth as a freshman, second as a sophomore and first as a junior.
In his first-ever national tournament, Clark won five matches and beat UNI’s Dylan Peters in the fifth-place match.
“I’ve always set high goals. This year’s was winning a national championship and it didn’t happen,” said Clark, who is the fourth Hawkeye freshman in five years to earn All-America honors. “It’s hard not to reach those goals, but the experience will definitely help going into next year.”
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS (#indicated tournament seed)
174 - #1 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) dec. #2 Andrew Howe (Oklahoma), 4-0
184 - #2 Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. #1 Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland), 7-2
197 - #2 J’Den Cox (Missouri) dec. #1 Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 2-1
285 - #2 Nick Gwiazdowski (N.C. State) dec. #1 Tony Nelson (Minnesota), 4-2
125 - #1 Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. #2 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), 3-2
133 - #3 Tony Ramos (IOWA) dec. #5 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 3-1 (TB1)
141 - #2 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) major dec. #4 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech), 10-1
149 - #2 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) dec. #11 Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State), 3-1 (SV1)
157 - #3 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) major dec. #9 Dylan Ness (Minnesota), 13-4
165 - #1 David Taylor (Penn State) dec. #2 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State), 6-0
FINAL NCAA TEAM STANDINGS (top 10 teams)
1. Penn State 109.5
2. Minnesota 104
3. Oklahoma St. 96.5
4. IOWA 78.5
5. Edinboro 62
6. Ohio State 57
7. Cornell 53
8. Virginia Tech 49
9. Northwestern 46
10. Oklahoma 45