The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Live updates | Drake Ayala competes for 125-pound national title

He will face No. 8 Richard Figueroa of Arizona State.
Cody Blissett
An official holds up Iowa 125-pound Drake Ayala’s arm during the fourth session of the NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday, March 22, 2024. Ayala defeated Wisconsin Eric Barnett by decision, 3-2.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The final session of the NCAA Championships begins at 6 p.m. at the T-Mobile Center. It will be broadcast on ESPN.

Iowa’s Drake Ayala, the only Hawkeye who advanced to the finals, will compete for a title at 125 pounds. He will face No. 8 Richard Figueroa of Arizona State. The pair matched up twice in high school, each winning a match.

Iowa currently sits fourth in the team standings, one and a half points behind Cornell and two and a half points ahead of Iowa State.

Penn State has two wrestlers looking to become four-time national champions, Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 197. On Friday, the Nittany Lions clinched their 11th team trophy in the last 13 tournaments.

Team points ahead of session VI

1 Penn State, 155.5 (six finalists)

2 Michigan, 71.0 (two finalists)

3 Cornell, 68.5 (one finalist)

4 Iowa, 67.0 (one finalist)

5 Iowa State, 64.5 (one finalist)


Championship matches

Heavyweight: No. 1 Greg Kervliet (PSU) vs No. 10 Lucas Davison (MICH)

The match is all Kerkvliet as he scores four takedowns and an escape en route to a 13-4 win and a national title.

125 pounds: No. 3 Drake Ayala (UI) vs No. 8 Richard Figueroa (ASU)

Period 1: Scoreless.

Period 2: Figueroa starts down and escapes for a 1-0 lead. He then scores a late takedown for a 4-0 lead, but the Iowa coaching staff challenges it, and it is confirmed.

Period 3: Ayala stars down and escapes, making it 4-1. Stall on Figueroa 4-2. Figueroa scores a takedown and wins it 7-2.

133 pounds: No. 1 Daton Fix (OKST) vs No. 6 Vito Arujau (COR)

Arujau is the aggressor throughout the match, and a takedown in the third gives him a late 5-2 lead. Fix would escape but couldn’t land a takedown of his own. Arujau wins 5-3.

141 pounds: No. 1 Jesse Mendez (OHST) vs No. 2 Beau Bartlett (PSU)

It was a back-and-forth match between the Nittany Lion and the Buckeye, with both only scoring an escape point with under 10 seconds left in the third. The two were initiated in a scramble, and Mendez sunk in a takedown right before the buzzer to win it 4-1.

149 pounds: No. 4 Caleb Henson (VT) vs No. 6 Austin Gomez (MICH)

Caleb Henson puts on a dominant performance nearly pinning Gomez in the first period, but Gomez escaped. Henson goes on to win 15-7.

157 pounds: No. 1 Levi Haines (PSU) vs No. 2 Jacori Teemer (ASU)

Haines wins 5-0.

165 pounds: No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU) vs No. 4 David Carr (ISU)

Carr wins 9-8 after a point for riding time.

174 pounds: No. 6 Rocco Welsh (OHST) vs No. 9 Carter Starocci (PSU)

Starocci wins 2-0.

184 pounds: No. 1 Parker Keckeisen (UNI) vs No. 3 Dustin Plott (OKST)

Keckeisen wins 14-5.

197 pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (PSU) vs No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NCST)

Brooks wins 6-1.

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.