No. 1 Penn State Wrestling capped off the final day of wrestling in the 2023 NCAA Championships by winning another team title while crowning two individual titles
Well before the five Nittany Lion finalists hit the mat for their final showdowns on Saturday night, the Penn State Wrestling Team had already locked up the team title in the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
And in a strange twist of fate, a wrestling legend’s collegiate career ended by a pin in the semifinals, and his subsequent medical forfeit ended up being the deciding nail in the coffin for all of the other teams trying to topple Penn State.
The 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships were chock-full of action, suspense, unbridled joy, gut wrenching losses, and countless number of “Holy crap, did you just see that?” moments.
And the Nittany Lion squad, while the runaway champions, were not immune to any of the above adjectives. But before we dive into exactly how Cael Sanderson led Penn State to their 10th team title in the last 12 NCAA’s, let’s take a quick overview of the final team standings after the dust finally settled Saturday evening.
Below are the final team scores according to FloWrestling:
1 Penn State 137.5
2 Iowa 82.5
3 Cornell 76.5
4 Ohio State 70.5
5 Missouri 64.5
6 Michigan 58.5
7 Arizona State 55.0
8 Nebraska 54.0
9 Virginia Tech 49.0
10 NC State 48.0
As they usually are in the NCAA Championships, the Big Ten was well represented as they had five of the top eight team finishes. The one surprising stat was that the Big Ten accumulated only three of the 10 individual titles.
And yes, I realize the fact that I just used the word “only” in a sentence talking about NCAA individual champions is comical at best. Especially considering that I could barely jog in place for seven straight minutes, let alone pour myself into a singlet and take on the nation’s best grapplers at literally any of the weight classes.
Pat Glory would bend my left leg around my neck. In less than 11 seconds.
I could eat donuts and bear claws for seven straight minutes. So I got that going for me.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the Big Ten.
Personally, I think it’s great that so many other schools across the country got to crown national champions. The Ivy League had three individual champions (Pat Glory, Vito Arujau, and Yianni Diakomihalis), the Big 12 had two (Andrew Alirez and Keegan O’Toole), and the ACC had two (Austin O’Connor and Nino Bonaccorsi). The Big Ten will always be king when it comes to wrestling, but at the same time, it’s fun to see the level of competition the rest of the country has to offer.
In the end it’s a good thing for college wrestling.
Now let’s move on and take a look at the individual performances from each of the nine Nittany Lion wrestlers in the 2023 NCAA Championships.