In one of the most shocking upsets in collegiate sports history, Purdue’s Matt Ramos pinned three-time national champion Spencer Lee of Iowa with one second remaining in a 125-pound NCAA national semifinal Friday. The upset prevented Lee from becoming just the fifth four-time national champion in the sport’s history.
Lee had won 58 consecutive matches entering his matchup with Ramos, who the Iowa wrestler pinned in 2:54 on Jan. 8. Lee led 7-5 with about 30 seconds left in the match before Ramos went to his back and caught Lee for a takedown. Before Lee could pull through, Ramos put the Iowa wrestler on his back and secured the fall in 6:59.
“Spencer’s the guy to beat at ’25,” Ramos told ESPN afterward. “I’ve been working for that. He’s been in my head every single day. I’ve just been striving for it.”
(4) Matt Ramos pins (1) Spencer Lee! @Matt_Ramos2 is headed to the finals!
ESPN#NCAAWrestling x @PurdueWrestling pic.twitter.com/Jalh7tD9Il
— NCAA Wrestling (@NCAAWrestling) March 18, 2023
In 18 previous NCAA Tournament matches, Lee was 18-0 with 14 bonus-point victories. He was going for his 99th win in college. Lee won titles in 2018, 2019 and 2021. He won the Hodge Trophy — wrestling’s equivalent of the Heisman — in 2020 and shared it with former Minnesota heavyweight Gable Steveson in 2021.
Ramos, the No. 4 seed at 125 is Purdue’s first All-American at the NCAA Tournament since 2013. He won his first three matches by one point apiece. In a quarterfinal match against West Virginia’s Killian Cardinale, Ramos scored a reversal with only two seconds left to win 8-7.
In their previous meeting, Ramos put Lee on his back early in the match and led 8-1 before Lee rallied for the fall. Ramos also started this match strong with a 4-1 lead before Lee rallied with a takedown and two back points to move ahead 5-4 at the end of the second period.
Ramos will face Princeton’s Patrick Glory for the national title on Saturday. Lee, who won the 2021 title with torn ACLs in both knees and sat out the 2022 season after surgery, could finish third. He plans to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 2024.
(Photo: Shane Bevel / NCAA Photos via Getty Images)