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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | March 19, 2022

Gable Steveson caps his historical college wrestling career with a second NCAA title

Gable Steveson vs. Cohlton Schultz: 2022 NCAA wrestling championship final (285 lb.)

DETROIT — For the fans. That’s why Gable Steveson came back to wrestle for the University of Minnesota in his final season, and that’s why — after his 2022 NCAA championship victory — the Olympic champion performed his legendary backflip on the mat one more time. He wanted to put on a show in this last performance, and that's exactly what he did. 

In his four year career as a Golden Gopher, Gable Steveson has built himself into one of the most dominant collegiate wrestlers of all time. He lost just twice in 91 matches, both to Anthony Cassar in 2019, but he hasn’t given up a match since, and he’s only given up a handful of takedowns during that time as well. When he steps on the mat, magic happens. 

"The feelings you get when you go out on the mat, there is nothing like it," Steveson said in the press conference after his semifinal win. "It's one on one, it's do or die. You get your hand raised or you don't." 

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Steveson had his hand raised just about every time he competed. 

His final NCAA collegiate brought all of the hype and fanfare that you would expect for an Olympic champion, from home mat cheers and rival teams paying his admiration for his style and his titles. On January 7, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, even Iowa fans showed just how much Steveson is respected across the country; they gave Steveson a standing ovation after his major decision win over Iowa All-American Tony Cassioppi. The honors continued as the champ cruised through the regular season and the Big Ten championship with a 100% bonus rate, generating cheers every time he stepped on the mat.

On the biggest stage in college wrestling at the 2022 NCAA tournament, Steveson beat Tyrell Gordon of UNI by technical fall, Zach Elam of Missouri by technical fall, Lucas Davison of Northwestern 10-5 and Greg Kerkvliet of Penn State 8-3 before his final 6-2 win against Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz. 

His run had ended. One of the greatest of all time earned his second title and his fourth All-American honor, and now he would do the thing he promised he would do at the end of his college wrestling career: leave his shoes on the mat. Following the time-honored wrestling retirement tradition, Steveson slowly unlaced his wrestling shoes in front of the crowd. The move was deliberate.

This was how Steveson intended to go out: as a champion under the spotlight. 

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