Navigating through a field full of upsets, one program establishes itself above the rest
March is almost over, and the magic that happens in collegiate tournaments this month is almost gone with it and the 2022 NCAA wrestling championship is no exception.
Throughout the three-day tournament, 10 individual national champions and one school took home trophies thanks to their performances.
However, those champions faced challenges throughout the tournament, and although the 2022 edition of the NCAA wrestling championships has come and gone, it didn’t leave without creating a few notable storylines.
Here are the most important events that happened during the tournament.
It wouldn’t be March without upsets
The men’s basketball tournament isn’t the only tournament that features a slew of unexpected upsets, as the unexpected also happened on the mats of Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
In the second round of the tournament, No. 1 seed David Carr, last year’s 157-pound national champion, and No. 2 seed Jaydin Eierman, last year’s runner-up at 141 pounds, were knocked to the consolation bracket, ending their chances at a national title early.
While Carr rebounded and brought home a third-place finish for Iowa State, Iowa’s Eierman was bounced from the tournament only two matches later.
Saint Peter’s basketball isn’t the only No. 15 seed that made noise in March, as 141-pounder and fellow No. 15 seed Kizhan Clarke out of North Carolina made it to the finals before falling to Penn State’s Nick Lee.
Penn State wrestling is on another level
The NCAA tournament also featured some history in the making as Penn State had five wrestlers win individual national titles, tying an NCAA record.
Four of those champions — Lee, Roman Bravo-Young, Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks — repeated their performances from the last tournament, becoming back-to-back champions.
Max Dean finished off the Nittany Lions' historic performance with his first national title of his career, defeating Iowa’s Jacob Warner for the second time in the same season to take home the 197 pound crown.
Unsurprisingly, the five individual titles were easily enough for Penn State wrestling to win the national team title as well, beating out Michigan by a score of 131.5 to 95.
The team's national title is the ninth in the last 11 years for Cael Sanderson’s squad, establishing themselves as one of college athletics’ most decorated programs over the last decade.
One of the sports’ best calls it quits
For some wrestlers, this was the last time they’ll take the mat in their careers, and that was exactly the case for Minnesota’s heavyweight Gable Steveson.
Steveson is a reigning Olympic gold medalist, so it’s not surprising that he found his way to the national championship without much resistance.
After defeating Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz 6-2 to win his second national title, the Golden Gopher left his shoes in the middle of the mat, a gesture that signifies the end of a wrestler’s career.
The heavyweight finished his career on top of both the collegiate and international levels, which is about as good of a send-off as it gets.
Steveson has already announced that his next chapter will be in a different type of wrestling — the WWE.
Zach Allen is a second-year majoring in digital & print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org