The 2023 Pac-12 champion Oregon State Beavers (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
The 2023 Pac-12 Championships was one of the closest tournaments in recent history. Four out of the six teams had a legit chance to win the title after the first session
"I don't know the last time I've seen points this close across the board," Oregon State's coach Chris Pendleton said. "Back side guys are fighting tooth and nail. It's going to come down to each team controlling their own destiny."
Despite trailing by a point in the second session, the Beavers won the Pac-12 title for the first time since 2016.
"It's getting harder and harder to win this conference and that's great," Pendleton said. "We have four top-25 teams, which has not been like that in years prior."
The Beavers shocked several teams in the tournament with some surprising wins in multiple rounds. Although Arizona State had six finalists and Oregon State had five, the Beavers swept the finals.
The most surprising win was Brandon Kaylor finally defeating Brandon Courtney in overtime. Zeke Jones threw three challenges during the bout but all failed.
"We are not used to losing at 125," Jones said. "There is a little bit of a jinx. Josh Shields didn't win his fourth, Zahid Valencia didn't win his fourth, Kordell was going for four and got beat, Courtney was going for four and got beat, and Anthony went for five and got beat."
The next Beaver to become a Pac-12 champion was former Sun Devil Cleveland Belton. Although he pinned ASU's Emilio Ysaguirre, the match came down to the wire too.
"I think he is in a good spot to get an at-large bid," Jones said. "He has quality wins and was one spot outside of allocation."
Even though Ysaguirre lost, he showed signs of becoming the next biggest problem coming from the West.
"It was a quick turnaround for myself pulling the redshirt," Ysaguirre said. "But, I turned the corner pretty late and I've been doing big things. If you beat me, then you beat me. If not, it will be one hell of a ride."
The Beavers' other champions were Matthew Olguin defeating Shane Griffith for the second time this season, Aaron Olmos defeating Tyler Eischens and Trey Munoz defeating Anthony Montalvo.
Oregon State will also send Jason Shaner and Tanner Harvey to the NCAAs. Arizona State sends Courtney, Michael McGee, Kyle Parco, Cael Valencia and Colhton Schultz.
Stanford, who finished second in the tournament with 113.5 points, sends Jaden Abas, Daniel Cardenas, Griffith and Nick Stemmet.
Cal Poly finished third with 112 points and sends Antonio Lorenzo, Ethan Rotondo and Bernie Truax.