Darrion Caldwell at the 2009 NCAA Championships (photos courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
We're just a few hours removed from one of the most shocking college wrestling upsets in recent memory. Wisconsin's Austin Gomez put together a 9-3 victory over three-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell. Gomez took Diakomihalis to his back in the second period for four points and later added two additional takedowns. The win itself was pretty difficult to fathom; however, the manner in which he achieved it is just remarkable. Diakomihalis' 75-match winning streak was shattered as were possibly Hodge Trophy aspirations.
Within a few minutes after Gomez's victory, some on social media were asking how this ranks in comparison to other collegiate wrestling upsets. That's a great question, as we went back to find some of the most shocking upsets of the last 20 years.
For clarification's sake, generally only returning NCAA champions were considered. As you peruse the list, you'll see that there were a few wrestlers that were never NCAA champions among this group, but if you go back in your DeLorean you'll find they were significant favorites. Also, clearly injured wrestlers were not considered.
Some that come to mind but did not make the cut include:
Kyle Snyder/Nick Gwiazdowski (2016 NCAA's) - A decent amount of people favored Snyder in the match.
Bubba Jenkins/David Taylor (2011 NCAA's) - While a shocking match, Bubba was capable of anything and could beat anyone on his best day.
Tyler Caldwell/Andrew Howe (2011 NCAA's) - Earlier in the year, Jordan Burroughs beat Howe pretty good at the Midlands. That kind of took away an aura of invincibility from Howe, though the Caldwell loss was eye-opening.
Fred Santaite/Troy Nickerson (2010 NCAA's) - Huge upset of a returning champion; however, Nickerson was not close to prime condition.
Cole Konrad/Steve Mocco (2006 National Duals) - Konrad unofficially beat Mocco at the All-Star Classic earlier in the year in an ugly bout. This was amazing and was via fall which gave Minnesota the team title.
Sean Stender/Jon Trenge (2005 NCAA's) - Trenge actually had a loss earlier in the year to Hofstra's Chris Sketkowicz, along with two via disqualification. The result was definitely one I didn't see coming.
Now, onto our most shocking results!
2022 NCAA Round of 16 - Hunter Willits (Oregon State) over David Carr (Iowa State)
We don't need to look very far back to find this shocking result. David Carr was the top seed at 157 lbs and riding a 55-match winning streak that dated back to December 2019. The dangerous Carr could never get his offense on track and was stymied by Willits 2-1 in tiebreakers. Though the two did not meet again, Carr finished third while Willits was seventh.
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