Senior captain Jordan Leen has a long season ahead of him as he builds up to his last NCAA tournament, and the rare chance to repeat as the titleholder at 157 pounds. Leen is in good position on his personal road to a repeat. But despite his confident exterior, his experience at last year’s championships was far from easy, as the then-junior, ranked No. 8, upset the top-2 seeds en route to becoming only the second NCAA champion from his home state of Tennessee, and the lowest-ranking wrestler of the meet to capture a title.
Def. Ryan Hluschak
The two wrestlers battled to a scoreless tie in the first period. Leen scored first in his opening match of the tournament, after tallying an escape from the down position to begin the second period. Hluschak countered with an escape of his own. In the third period, Leen took a 2-1 lead following another escape from the down position.
Hluschak made it interesting, scoring a takedown, but Leen fought back, racking up a reversal to secure the decision.
Def. Brian Letters
Leen started off the first period of the match strong, earning a takedown over the Maryland native. The second period was a scoreless tie as both wrestlers battled back and forth. Leen started in the down position to kick off the third period, and earned an escape. He then counteracted this with a second stalling warning, which awarded a point to his opponent. However, riding time tipped the balance of the match ultimately in Leen’s favor.
Def. Gregor Gillespie
Leen once again scored first with a takedown against his top-ranked opponent. Gillespie countered with an escape, but Leen scored again to end the first period with a second takedown. Gillespie began the second period in the down position, earning an escape. Leen then scored yet another takedown, also racking up over two minutes in riding time. Leen earned an escape in the third period, and scored the impressive upset.
Def. Josh Zupanicic
In the first period, Leen scored a quick takedown, which was countered by a Zupanicic escape.
The second period was the Leen show, as the Red wrestler earned a point following Zupanicic’s second stall warning. He also racked up considerable riding time. In the third period, Leen earned an escape, and finished the match with over four minutes in riding time.
Def. Michael Poeta
Leen took an early 2-0 lead in the first period, but Poeta came back with an escape. In the second period, Leen stared in the down position and earned an escape. A Poeta penalty awarded Leen another point, giving him a cushion going into the third period. Leen needed it, as Poeta roared back with an escape, followed by a takedown. In the end however, the effort was too little, too late, and Leen completed his impressive tournament with his first ever NCAA title.