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Snyder wins NCAA championship in front of record-breaking crowd

Kyle Snyder became the fifth heavyweight in history to win three NCAA championships Saturday night as he defeated Michigan's Adam Coon by a 3-2 score with a takedown with 23 seconds left in the match.

Snyder, who weighed in at 226 pounds, was giving up 57 pounds to Coon, who weighed in at 283. It was one of the biggest size differences in an NCAA championship match in history.

The two men spent most of the match cautious, with neither wanting to make a mistake. Each scored points on quickly escaping from the down position, Snyder at the start of the second round and Coon in the third. Neither made a strong attempt at a takedown until Snyder made a move in the third round that Coon was able to block, which would have been a success with just about any other opponent.

Snyder's next major attempt succeeded to go up 3-1. Coon quickly escaped but had little time to get what would have been a match winning takedown, and wasn't able to do so.

Snyder became the first heavyweight since Carleton Haselrig to win three Division I titles. Haselrig holds a record that will likely never be broken with six NCAA titles, as he won both the Division I and II championship for three straight years.

Snyder's win wasn't enough for Ohio State to win the team title. The team race was close going into the final session, but Penn State put five men in the finals and had four winners. Ohio State only had Snyder and Myles Martin in the finals.

The match that made the difference was at 184, when Penn State's Bo Nickal pinned Ohio State's Myles Martin, which won the title for Penn State. Had Martin won the match, Ohio State would have won the team title.

The crowd of 19,776 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland was both the largest in NCAA tournament history and also the largest indoor crowd for a collegiate wrestling match of all-time. There were two outdoor events that have drawn bigger crowds in recent years.

In something completely unprecedented, with six sellouts in three days, and one other dual meet at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA, seven of the eight largest wrestling crowds in the U.S. in 2018 will be for collegiate matches as opposed to pro matches, with WrestleMania as the exception to that rule.

Zain Retherford of Penn State also captured his third NCAA title, at 149 pounds, beating Ronnie Perry of Lock Haven, who had scored upset after upset in the tournament.

Final results:

  • 125 -- Spencer Lee (Iowa) def. Nick Suriano (Rutgers), 5-1
  • 133 -- Seth Gross (South Dakota State) def. Steve Micic (Michigan), 13-8
  • 141 -- Yianni Diakomhalis (Cornell) def. Bryce Meredith (Wyoming), 7-4
  • 149 -- Zain Retherford (Penn State) def. Ronnie Perry (Lock Haven), 6-2
  • 157 -- Jason Nolf (Penn State) def. Hayden Hidlay (North Carolina State), 6-2
  • 165 -- Vicenzo Joseph (Penn State) def. Isaiah Martinez (Illinois), 6-1
  • 174 -- Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) def. Mark Hall (Penn State), 8-2
  • 184 -- Bo Nickal (Penn State) def. Myles Martin (Ohio State) via pin in 2:29
  • 197 -- Michael Macchiavello (North Carolina State) def. Jared Haught (Virginia Tech), 3-1
  • 285 -- Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) def. Adam Coon (Michigan), 3-2