Steveson becomes NCAA champion again and retires

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Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson of Minnesota successfully defended his heavyweight title in his final college match.

Top-seeded Steveson, who won gold in Tokyo last summer, won 6-2 over second-seeded Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz. Steveson took control from the start, scoring a takedown in the opening seconds.

After the match, he bowed three times to the crowd. Fans at Little Caesars Arena continued to cheer, urging him to do his victory backflip. He executed it perfectly and flexed again.

Then he walked to the center of the mat, sat down, and took off his shoes and left them there, the age-old practice of wrestlers signaling their retirement. Steveson has won his last 54 games.

“I’m done,” he said in a post-match ESPN interview. “I did what I came to do. I was going to win Olympic gold and win the national tournament again.

Steveson’s retirement from amateur wrestling was expected. He said he wanted to become a professional wrestler and would compete at WrestleMania in April, although he didn’t say if he would be involved in any way.

“I hope to gain many WWE fans when I take the next step,” he said.

Other Champs

Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis became a three-time champion at the event. Diakomihalis was never seriously threatened in his five games, winning the 149-pound title with an 11-5 decision over Nebraska’s 10th seed Ridge Lovett.

And Penn State won its ninth tag team title in 11 years before the Finals, then saw five of its wrestlers win individual championships. Michigan finished second for its best team finish in program history, and 2021 champion Iowa finished third.

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