It opened with an intense stare-down worthy of an MMA bout… and it ended in overtime, as No. 3 seeded senior Tony Ramos of Iowa defeated Big Ten rival, No. 5 seed Tyler Graff of Wisconsin, 3-1, SV2 to win the 133-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City Saturday night.
It was the fifth meeting between the Hawkeye and the Badger, all decided by a two-point-or-less margin. In their last match prior to the NCAA finals, Ramos and Graff battled for the 2014 Big Ten title… with Ramos edging his Wisconsin rival, 2-1.
Ramos found himself in the finals for the second straight year. At the 2013 NCAAs, the Hawkeye lost to defending champ Logan Stieber of Ohio State, 7-4. (Stieber moved up a weight class, winning the 141-pound crown this year by beating Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter for his third consecutive NCAA title.)
How Ramos (32-2 season record) got to the finals: Rd. 1: dec. unseeded Shelton Mack (Pitt), 3-1; Rd. 2: dec. No. 14 Zane Richards (Illinois), 6-4, SV1; Qtrfinals: dec. No. 6 Mason Beckman (Lehigh), 3-1; Semifinals: dec. No. 2 A.J. Schopp (Edinboro), 5-1.
How Graff (31-5 season record) go to the finals: Rd. 1: tech fall unseeded Dominic Malone (Northwestern), 25-9, 6:21; Rd. 2: dec. No. 12 Joe Roth (Central Michigan), 10-5; Qtrfinals: dec. No. 13 Cody Brewer (Ohio), 9-6; Semifinals: dec. No. 1 Joe Colon (Northern Iowa), 6-4.
- 1st Period: Before Ramos and Graff even shake hands, they lock eyes for an extended period. Other than that psych-out battle, there was no scoring.
- 2nd Period: Graff chooses down, escapes right away. No other scoring. 1-0 Graff.
- 3rd Period: Ramos selects down, escapes. No other scoring. Match ends in regulation, tied 1-1.
- Sudden victory: No scoring in the 60-second overtime.
- Tiebreaker 1: Ramos chooses down, not able to escape because of Graff’s 30-second ride. Still tied 1-1.
- Tiebreaker 2: Graff chooses down. When the Badger tried to roll out, Ramos scored two nearfall points. Wisconsin issued a video challenge, but the points stood, resulting in a 3-1 win for the Hawkeye, concluding his collegiate career with his first NCAA title. Immediately after leaving the platform, Ramos ran into the stands to be embraced by his family, friends and Iowa supporters.
Quotes from the champ:
- How it feels to be crowned champ: “It’s awesome. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get out of here, go take that drug test, then celebrate with my family, get my bracket, and go home and put it on the wall.
- Match-ending action in second tiebreaker: “I knew he liked to roll. As soon as he hit that roll, I was just finding some way to score. I knew if I caught that arm and I was like, you know, if I just fall back a bit, I'm gonna get a quick count. Just glad I got it this year, unlike last year. That’s why you don’t roll. For young kids, never roll. Solid wrestling always wins.”
- How Graff gave himself away: “He looked down. He looked down. He gave it away, right away. You can't hide it. He knows he made a mistake.”
2014 NCAA All-Americans – 133 pounds
- Tony Ramos (Iowa)
- Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
- Joe Colon (Northern Iowa)
- A.J. Schopp (Edinboro)
- David Thorn (Minnesota)
- Mason Beckman (Lehigh)
- Joe Roth (Central Michigan)
- Cody Brewer (Oklahoma)
Take a look back: For all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2014 NCAAs, click here... and check out Mat Bracketology, College Wrestling Examiner's weight-by-weight analysis of seeded wrestlers, by clicking on the Mat Bracketology link.
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