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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | March 18, 2023

Penn State wins the 2023 DI men's wrestling team title

Carter Starocci vs. Mikey Labriola - 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championship (174 lbs)

TULSA, Oklahoma — Penn State clinched the 2023 NCAA DI wrestling team title on Saturday morning and crowned two individual national champions on Saturday night to add to the impressive legacy Cael Sanderson is cementing in State College.

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Carter Starocci, now a three-time individual champion, kicked off the wins for Penn State as he picked up a statement first-period pin against No. 2 Mikey Labriola. Teammate Aaron Brooks followed up this performance with a dominant win of his own, as he took down No. 1 Parker Keckeisen 7-2, putting on a takedown clinic along the way.

Levi Haines, Greg Kerkvliet and Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State’s three other finalists, took second in their finals matches, with Haines dropping to North Carolina’s now-two time NCAA champion Austin O’Connor at 157 pounds, Kerkvliet losing to Mason Parris at heavyweight and Bravo-Young taking a loss to Cornell’s Vito Arujau. These performances were uncharacteristic for a team that has a nearly perfect record in the finals, but the Nittany Lion didn’t need those victories. Their team lead was too great for anyone to catch them.

But the story wasn’t all about Penn State. Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis made history himself when he won his fourth NCAA title, this time against Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the 149-pound final. Diakomihalis is the fifth overall wrestler to achieve this feat and the second in Cornell history, with Kyle Dake being the first. Between Diakomihalis and Arujau, Cornell had two NCAA champions in 2023.

Then there’s the Princeton Tigers, who broke a 72-year-old streak without a national champion when 125-pounder Patrick Glory beat Purdue’s Matt Ramos 4-1 to take home gold, the culmination of a long journey for the senior. The Ivy League produced three national champions this year, a major statement for the conference.

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Missouri, the Big 12 champions this season, may have come up short of a team trophy, but the Tigers did produce an individual champion in the deepest weight class, as No. 2 Keegan O’Toole took down David Carr for the 8-2 win, a result that contrasts his two earlier season losses to the Cyclone and propelled him to his second overall title.

“It was a blessing to have someone like David move up [to 165 pounds] because he's an elite wrestler,” O’Toole said in advance of his match against Carr. “In the past I might have been able to get away with stuff because of my sheer technique and knowledge of the sport, but wrestling someone like him, I got to be on all the time. I hate losing, but those losses are much more important and valuable to my character and how I bounced back than any win.”

The Missouri Tigers finished fifth as a team. Iowa finished second, despite the fact that the team’s lone finalist, Real Woods, dropped 6-4 to Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez. Cornell took third, while Ohio State came in fourth and will take another trophy back to Columbus.

Michigan finished sixth as a team and crowned an individual champion in Mason Parris at heavyweight while and Pittsburgh, a teams outside of the trophy race, finished with a national champion at 197 pounds courtesy of Nino Bonaccorsi. 

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES
WEIGHT
CHAMP
SCORE
125
N0. 2 PATRICK GLORY
4-1 over No. 4 Matt Ramos
133
NO. 3 VITO ARUJAU 
10-4 over No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young
141
NO. 2 ANDREW ALIREZ
6-4 over No. 1 Real Woods 
149
NO. 1 YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS
4-2 over No. 2 Sammy Sasso
157
NO. 1 AUSTIN O’CONNOR
6-2 over No. 2 Levi Haines
165
NO. 2 KEEGAN O’TOOLE
8-2 over No. 1 David Carr
174
NO. 1 CARTER STAROCCI
FALL over No. 2 Mikey Labriola 
184
NO. 3 AARON BROOKS
7-2 over No. 1 Parker Keckeisen
197 
NO. 1 NINO BONACCORSI
5-3 over No. 7 Tanner Sloan
285
NO. 1 MASON PARRIS
5-1 over No. 3 Greg Kerkvliet

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