TULSA, Okla. – University of Iowa wrestler Real Woods finished as the NCAA runner-up at 141 pounds on Saturday night at the 2023 NCAA Championships in the BOK Center.
Woods dropped a 6-4 decision to second-seeded Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado in the finals. After a scoreless first period, Woods grabbed a 2-0 lead with near fall points, but Alirez countered with a reversal and four-point near fall (that was made four points from two by instant replay) to take a 6-2 lead.
“I wanted it so bad that I put myself in an exposed position and it bit me in the butt,” said Woods.
Woods got a quick escape with 20 seconds left in the period and at the 1:22 mark of the third to close the gap to 6-4, but he couldn’t secure the tying takedown.
The finals appearance was the first of Woods’ career and he finished the tournament a three-time All-American. He was a first-team All-American in 2020 and finished sixth in 2022. He finished the 2022-23 season with a 20-1 record.
“I am always proud of myself, I never let that fly,” said Woods. “I am never disappointed in myself. Interestingly enough, after this outcome, I am not disappointed in myself. I am simply angry. It hurts, I am not disappointed in myself, I am proud of myself. I am ready to move forward.
“That is what life is about and that’s what is so beautiful about this sport. This is the kind of stuff you’re going to deal with in life, through any hardship, you’re going to deal with this pain and the fact you need to move forward and move on and continue to grow. That’s just life.”
Woods was one of six Hawkeyes to reach the medal stand. He advanced to the title bout by outscoring his opponents, 40-7, and posting three major decisions. His appearance in the championship round extended Iowa’s streak of NCAA finalists to 33 consecutive tournaments.
Iowa placed second in the team race with 82.5 points to win a team trophy for the 14th time in the last 15 championships.
Woods will return to the Iowa lineup in 2022-23 along with four-time All-American Tony Cassioppi, 2023 All-American Nelson Brands, 2020 All-American Abe Assad and past NCAA qualifiers Drake Ayala, Brody Teske, Cobe Siebrecht and Patrick Kennedy.
“We have to come back strong, we will we have character and I believe that,” said head coach Tom Brands. “The hard part is putting the right look on your face that has optimism for the future and that’s hard to do right now. I said it last year, I am an envious guy, I am jealous and here we are again.
“The other thing that has to be said is you have to give celebration status to the guys that earned it. We had six All-Americans. It’s not sucking your thumb walking out of here. You have to build and you have to move on.
“Real Woods will move on because of his character, who he is and his roots – his family and people who have coached him. Spencer Lee will do the same. Jacob Warner will do the same, Max Murin will do the same. We have some guys coming back that we have to be thinking the right way, right away walking out of this building.”
Iowa’s NCAA lineup included three graduating seniors that combined for 12 All-America honors. Those seniors include Spencer Lee (125, five-time All-American, three-time NCAA champion), Max Murin (149, two-time All-American) and Jacob Warner (197, five-time All-American, 2022 NCAA finalist).
Iowa secured a team trophy (fourth or better) for the 14th time in the last 15 NCAA Championships. The Hawkeyes have won 14 team trophies in head coach Tom Brands 16 seasons.
The Hawkeyes have 48 NCAA trophies and 68 top 10 finishes in program history. Iowa has finished as the NCAA runner-up seven times.
Spencer Lee and Jacob Warner became the second and third five-time All-Americans in program history.
Tony Cassioppi is the 25th four-time All-American in school history.
Iowa has had an NCAA finalist in 33 consecutive national tournaments (every year since 1990).
Iowa has crowned at least one All-American in 52 consecutive tournaments, a stretch dating back to 1972. Iowa has totaled 323 All-Americans during that stretch.
Iowa has had at least five All-Americans in 10 straight seasons and 15 times in Brands’ 17 years.
2nd – Real Woods (141)
4th – Tony Cassioppi (285)
5th – Nelson Brands (174), Jacob Warner (197)
6th – Spencer Lee (125), Max Murin (149)
NCAA FINALS RESULTS
157 – #1 Austin O’Connor (UNC) dec. #2 Levi Haines (PSU), 6-2
165 – #2 Keegan O’Toole (MIZ) dec. #1 David Carr (ISU), 8-2
174 – #1 Carter Starocci (PSU) pinned #2 Mickey Labriola (NEB), 2:46
184 – #3 Aaron Brooks (PSU) dec. #1 Parker Keckeisen (UNI), 7-2
197 – #1 Nino Bonaccorsi (PITT) dec. #7 Tanner Sloan (SDSU), 5-3
285 – #1 Mason Parris (MICH) dec. #3 Greg Kerkvliet (PSU), 5-1
125 – #2 Patrick Glory (PRIN) dec. #4 Matt Ramos (PUR), 4-1
133 – #3 Vito Arujau (COR) dec. #1 Roman Bravo-Young (PSU), 9-4
141 – #2 Andrew Alirez (UNCO) dec. #1 Real Woods (UI), 6-4
149 – #1 Yianni Diakomihalis (COR) dec. #2 Sammy Sasso (OSU), 4-2
TEAM STANDINGS – TOP 10
1. Penn State 137.5
2. IOWA 82.5
3. Cornell 76.5
4. Ohio State 70.5
5. Missouri 64.5
6. Michigan 58.5
7. Arizona State 55.0
8. Nebraska 54.0
9. Virginia Tech 49.0
10.NC State 48.0