OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It was a long time coming for Iowa senior Tony Ramos.
Ramos, a fifth-year senior, won the 133-pound national championship Saturday night in his second straight trip to the finals.
Ramos scored two nearfall points in the first tiebreak to defeat Wisconsin’s fifth-seeded Tyler Graff, 3-1.
Ramos, the No. 3 seed and returning NCAA runner-up, wrestled his way into the championship finals with late heroics, and the final match of his collegiate career was no different.
After a scoreless first period, Ramos and Graff exchanged escapes in the second and third periods to send the match to overtime tied, 1-1.
Neither man scored in the first sudden-victory period, and Ramos was unable to get out from bottom in the first tiebreak, meaning he had to extend the match by staying on top of Graff for 30 seconds, or find a way to expose Graff’s shoulders to the mat. He chose the latter.
“I knew he liked to roll,” said Ramos. “As soon as he hit that roll, I was just finding some way to score. I caught that arm and thought if I just fall back a little bit… I’m just glad I got it.”
Wisconsin challenged the official’s call, but video review confirmed the back-points and Ramos rushed into the stands to embrace his family.
“It’s awesome. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get out of here, take that drug test, celebrate with my family, get my bracket, go home and put it on the wall,” said Ramos, who became the 53rd Hawkeye in school history to win the NCAA title.
“He put together five matches in the ‘W’ column,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “The match was similar where you have to ride to win. The way this one went was overtime, the Big Ten final with Graff was ride him out in the third period. We ride him, we get the nearfall, and we held him.”
Ramos defeated Graff in the Big Ten finals on March 9. His national title marks the 61st time in program history a wrestler has won both championships in the same season. He finished his career with three All-America honors, one NCAA title, one Big Ten title, and 120 career wins — the 19th highest total in program history.
Iowa finished fourth in the team race with 78.5 points. Penn State won its four straight NCAA title with 109.5 points. Minnesota (104) and Oklahoma State (96.5) finished second and third, respectively.