Yesterday gave us one of the biggest gut punches in program history when Spencer Lee found him self on the wrong end of a pin. He was up late, but decided to challenge Matt Ramos and went for a ride and unfortunately it’s a ride he’ll spend the rest of his life dissecting.
Over the next several days, months, and years we can play that fateful match back in our heads and dream about the what-if, but now is not that time.
We still have 6 Hawks, including Lee, battling their way back eyeing a 3rd place medal with Real Woods our lone finalist. And man, what a semifinal performance did he put on! After literally lucking out in the quarters he absolutely blew Nebraska’s Brock Hardy out of the arena and stormed into the National Finals.
Lee’s loss could’ve broken this team, so it was incredible to see us go 6-0 with our heads on the chopping block in the cons. Max Murin, Nelson Brands and Jacob Warner all went 2-0 to stay alive. Not only did they secure All-American status, they went above beyond and are still battling back for 3rd.
Session III was devastating with half our team bowing out, in fact it was perhaps one of the worst I have seen, but the Blood Round in Session IV was one of the best. Polarizing to say the least, but our survivors rose to the occasion and are doing what they can to lock up a 2nd place team trophy.
Everyone wants to talk about Lee, naturally we should. So all I’ll say is tomorrow we’ll find out who he truly is. He’ll ultimately be remembered for his accomplishments, but he’ll be defined by his resolve. Right now I’m going to take the positive approach and say this loss could be his greatest motivator. The single greatest event that reshaped his drive and focus and pushed him to knew heights.
Tomorrow, during his lowest moment, we’ll see what he’s made of.
Dan Gable 2.0 sounds pretty damn good right about now.
But last night was all about Max Murin, Nelson Brands, and Jacob Warner. I am SO DAMN HAPPY for those three. Murin for finally punching his way through 4 previous trips to the blood round and finally making it. Nelson for wrestling the best he has ever wrestled. He’s on a mission and looks like a guy that is finally “clicking” and Jacob Warner.
All the shit he’s been through. Everyone saying he looks done and that he doesn’t have the drive anymore (I admit I’ve been there). Watching him battle back and the raw emotions he’s shown, well, we can take our opinions and shove them. He’s now a 5x AA and always shows up in the post-season. Mr. Clutch, no, more like Mr. March.
So our 5 in the cons will all have early matches before wrestling their medal rounds. Woods won’t take the mat until later this evening.
#1 Real Woods vs #2 Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado)
#1 Spencer Lee vs #10 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State)
#8 Max Murin vs #3 Kyle Parco (Arizona State)
#11 Nelson Brands vs #4 Chris Foca (Cornell)
#14 Jacob Warner vs #3 Rocky Elam (Missouri)
#4 Tony Cassioppi vs #10 Zach Elam (Missouri)
1 PSU 116.5
2 IOWA 77
3 CORNELL 64
4 OSU 62
5 MIZZOU 55
8 ISU 44
15 UNI 29
Session V (Medal Rounds) - 10AM God’s Time (Central) // Saturday, March 18th, 2023
Session VI (FINALS) - 6PM God’s Time (Central) // Saturday, March 18th, 2023
TV: Session III is available on ESPNU, Session IV will be on ESPN
Streaming: Individual mats for all sessions are available on ESPN+
Radio: iHeartRadio (AM800 KXIC)
Location: BOK Center // Tulsa, OK
Mat Tracking: Trackwrestling