One of the most decorated prep wrestlers in Colorado history can now call himself national champion.
Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez claimed the NCAA Division I national title at 141 pounds on Saturday night, beating Iowa’s Real Woods in a 6-4 decision inside the BOK Center.
Alirez, who went 153-1 in winning four state titles at Greeley Central, became the first Northern Colorado wrestler to win a national title since 1962. And he did it cap a perfect season: 28-0.
“When it was time to meet the moment, I was as prepared as anybody,” Alirez said on Saturday night’s ESPN broadcast.
Alirez scored the win in audacious fashion, pulling off what amounted to a six-point move in the second period by hooking Woods’ leg and flipping him onto his back on the mat.
NCAA champ Andrew Alirez goes big with a hook lateral in the NCAA finals. Essentially a lat drop with an inside leg lace which helps to provide hip rotation. This was a 6 point move that ultimately won Alirez the match. Was this the move of the tournament?
@NCAAWrestling https://t.co/IgUxNauuVJ pic.twitter.com/hgwRzWIH0U
— Dan Sweeney (@DPSBreakdowns) March 19, 2023
“That’s what was there. It’s all I had in a sense and it was either now or never.” Alirez said.
“… The guy who goes out there and gets it is the one who’s going to win, (so) I let it fly. I said earlier, ‘I’m willing to die out there, you’re going to have to come take it from me, I’m going to give it everything I got.’ I don’t even do stuff like that (winning move), but I throw it out on the biggest stage.”
Alirez chose to stick around his hometown for college when several programs outside the state courted him. That he was able to parlay that into the school’s first national title in 61 years was no surprise to him.
“I believed in the program,” he told ESPN. “I’ve been around that program since eighth grade. I’ve seen the levels we’ve jumped and the strides we’ve continued to make, and I just believed in it. I knew Coach Troy (Nickerson) could get me there. I knew the staff would get me there. I put all of my faith into it. I did everything I possibly could for this moment and now I got it.”
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports