In the NCAA Championships semifinal round on Friday night, Spencer Lee’s quest for a record-breaking fourth national championship came to a shocking halt.
Lee, Iowa’s star 125-pounder and three-time NCAA champion was pinned by Purdue’s Matt Ramos in the waning moments of their semifinal match tonight at the BOK Center, a result that will go down as one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Wrestling history.
After the game, Ramos told ESPN’s Quint Kessenich, We had a gameplan. “Every day, we train for this. At 125, Spencer is the competitor to beat. For that, I’ve been working. He has been on my mind nonstop. I’ve only been working towards it. Now, I’m an All-American. The national finals are where I am. You have to let it fly.”
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Historic moment for @Matt_Ramos2!
📺 ESPN#NCAAWrestling x @PurdueWrestling pic.twitter.com/3JpZSJWNP3
— NCAA Wrestling (@NCAAWrestling) March 18, 2023
Ramos, a redshirt sophomore for the Boilermakers, had a 4-1 advantage against Lee in the opening frame after throwing Lee to the ground for a takedown and two near-fall points. After opting to go on top in the second period, Lee came back by scoring four straight points to take the lead at 5-4. With about a minute left in the third, Lee scored a takedown on the edge to take a 7-4 lead.
Ramos swiftly made his way out of that situation after that, and with 30 seconds left, he brought Lee to the ground for a takedown that tied the contest at 7-7. Ramos kept Lee there until the pin was called with one second remaining in the timer.
Ramos added in his post-game interview, “It’s unreal, it hasn’t really hit me. “I believe in speaking it into reality and manifesting it. When I stated in an interview that I was prepared to face Spencer, many people questioned how I could possibly defeat him.
I put in a lot of effort and have faith in my convictions. I don’t want to come out as arrogant or anything, but if I can’t talk it into existence, I don’t think it will come to pass. But it will happen thanks to my Purdue training.
Back in January, these two faced off in a tense encounter in which Ramos defeated Lee twice in the opening frame to take an 8-1 advantage. Before the first period was done, Lee answered by pinning Ramos, igniting Iowa’s 37-6 victory over Purdue.
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Ramos has displayed a penchant for exciting conclusions all week. He advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Jarrett Trombley of N.C. The state was 3-2 in the first round and 6-5 in tiebreaker overtime. With two seconds left, Ramos beat West Virginia’s Killian Cardinale there on Friday morning, winning 8-7.
Then, on Friday night, Lee, a two-time Hodge Trophy winner and perhaps one of the most dominant wrestlers to emerge from Iowa’s illustrious wrestling program, pulled off a huge shock. For a very, very long time, it will be a result that both inside and outside of the wrestling community will talk about.
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