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Monday, March 20, 2023

Woods Finishes as NCAA Runner-Up; Hawkeyes Second as Team

TULSA, Okla. – University of Iowa wrestler Real Woods finished as the NCAA runner-up at 141 pounds on Saturday night at the 2023 NCAA Championships in the BOK Center.

Woods dropped a 6-4 decision to second-seeded Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado in the finals.  After a scoreless first period, Woods grabbed a 2-0 lead with near fall points, but Alirez countered with a reversal and four-point near fall (that was made four points from two by instant replay) to take a 6-2 lead.

“I wanted it so bad that I put myself in an exposed position and it bit me in the butt,” said Woods.

Woods got a quick escape with 20 seconds left in the period and at the 1:22 mark of the third to close the gap to 6-4, but he couldn’t secure the tying takedown.

The finals appearance was the first of Woods’ career and he finished the tournament a three-time All-American.  He was a first-team All-American in 2020 and finished sixth in 2022.  He finished the 2022-23 season with a 20-1 record.

“I am always proud of myself, I never let that fly,” said Woods. “I am never disappointed in myself.  Interestingly enough, after this outcome, I am not disappointed in myself. I am simply angry. It hurts, I am not disappointed in myself, I am proud of myself. I am ready to move forward.

“That is what life is about and that’s what is so beautiful about this sport. This is the kind of stuff you’re going to deal with in life, through any hardship, you’re going to deal with this pain and the fact you need to move forward and move on and continue to grow.  That’s just life.”

Woods was one of six Hawkeyes to reach the medal stand. He advanced to the title bout by outscoring his opponents, 40-7, and posting three major decisions.  His appearance in the championship round extended Iowa’s streak of NCAA finalists to 33 consecutive tournaments.

Iowa placed second in the team race with 82.5 points to win a team trophy for the 14th time in the last 15 championships.

Five University of Iowa wrestlers – Spencer Lee (125), Max Murin (149), Nelson Brands (174), Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285) – capped their 2023 NCAA Championships run during Saturday’s medal rounds at the BOK Center.

All five Hawkeyes finished in the top six at their respective weights at the championships. Cassioppi finished fourth at heavyweight, Brands and Warner were fifth, respectively, and Lee and Murin both placed sixth.

Woods will return to the Iowa lineup in 2022-23 along with four-time All-American Tony Cassioppi, 2023 All-American Nelson Brands, 2020 All-American Abe Assad and past NCAA qualifiers Drake Ayala, Brody Teske, Cobe Siebrecht and Patrick Kennedy.


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