Derek Moore has his hand raised after becoming the first Aggie to ever earn an NCAA Division I national championship. (Randy Martin)
March 17, 2007
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Senior Derek Moore realized a life-long dream on Saturday night as he became the first ever UC Davis student-athlete to capture an NCAA national championship as he earned a 17-2 technical fall at 5:41 over No. 1 seed and previously undefeated Ryan Lang of Northwestern in the 141-pound championship match live on ESPN in front of an NCAA wrestling record crowd of 17,780 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. With five wins, one by fall and one by technical fall, Moore was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament to cap the historical night.
Moore's win gives the Aggies a school-record point total of 29, which gives them a three-way tie for 22nd. The victory also makes Moore the only UC Davis wrestler to ever go undefeated in a season as he finished the year at 24-0.
Minnesota won the team title with 98 points while Iowa State finished second with 88.5.
"It's such a relief and a dream come true," said Moore. "It wasn't even in my wildest dreams that I thought I could earn a technical fall in the national championship match. It's a great way to end my collegiate career."
Lang started the match with a takedown from a low leg attack. Much like last night, Moore earned a reversal with 1:39 left in the period to tie the match at 2-2. After Lang deferred to start the second period, Moore chose bottom and scored another reversal to go up 4-2. Moore then scored a two straight three-point near falls to close out the period. Another take down to start the third period followed by a two-point near fall and three-point near fall off a tilt ended the match with 1:29 remaining as Moore earned the technical fall.
With the win, Moore becomes the first national champion from a California school at the 141-pound division since the NCAA reclassified the weight divisions in 1999. He also becomes the first UC Davis wrestler to earn All-American, a natinal championship and the Most Oustanding Wrestler.
Lang was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation all season, and a two-time All-American and Big Ten champion.
"I haven't seen Lang wrestle all season except for about a minute or two the other day," said Moore. "He was really strong and got me quick at the start of the match, but he was riding deep and I was able to reverse him and use my funky style to roll him a few times."
"Anytime you can crack that barrier and win a national title... it's just incredible," said head coach Lennie Zaleskey. "He (Moore) is one of the best competitors I've ever seen and he's got a heart to be the best. I hope this sends the message to those wrestlers in California that you don't have to leave the state to wrestle at a high level."
Overall at nationals, the Aggies compiled school-record totals of 10 wins and 29 points. UC Davis was the top placing team from the Pac-10 Conference as they had the only national finalist.
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