Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez attained a momentous victory on Saturday when he locked in the NCAA Division I national championship at 141 pounds, claiming the crown with a 4-2 decision over Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher.
Alirez, a junior from Greeley, Colo., had previously fallen to the Buckeye in the 2018 Big Ten Championship, but this time around, he was able to demonstrate his superiority, edging out Pletcher for the coveted title.
The match was a tightly-contested affair that concluded with Alirez prevailing in the final period. After a scoreless first period, Alirez earned an escape point in the second, but Pletcher responded with two takedowns to take a 4-1 lead. Alirez, however, was undeterred, and he pulled off a crucial escape in the closing moments to make it a 4-2 contest.
In the ultimate period, Alirez was able to capitalize on a few key opportunities. He earned a reversal, and with it, the decisive point to secure the championship.
Alirez’s accomplishment marks a monumental achievement for the Northern Colorado program, as he is the first wrestler in school history to win a national title. It’s also a momentous occasion for the state of Colorado, as he is the first wrestler from the state to win a Division I crown since 2004.
Alirez’s triumph is a remarkable feat, as it required him to defeat a highly-touted opponent, and he did so with a display of technical proficiency and mental fortitude. He has now cemented his place as one of the premier wrestlers in the nation, and he has undoubtedly earned the respect of his peers.