Jesse Mendez Wins NCAA Championship Match at 141 Pounds, Ohio State’s First Title Since Kyle Snyder in 2018

By Chase Brown on March 23, 2024 at 9:50 pm
Jesse Mendez
Nick Tre. Smith/USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Mendez is a national champion.

On Saturday, Mendez defeated Penn State's Beau Bartlett, 4-1, and won an NCAA title at 141 pounds, becoming Ohio State's first national champion since Kyle Snyder in 2018.

Mendez won his title in last-second fashion.

After a scoreless first period, Mendez started the second on bottom and took a 1-0 lead when he escaped Bartlett's clasp. The wrestlers traded shots for the next two minutes. Bartlett almost secured a takedown as the clock approached zeroes. However, in a heads-up defensive move, Mendez wrapped himself around his opponent's foot, keeping their position neutral.

With Mendez leading 1-0, Barlett started the third on bottom and – like Mendez in the second – escaped with relative ease. Tied 1-1, a takedown in the final moments would win the match for the Big Ten opponents.

With 10 seconds left, Mendez made his move. He landed the takedown and won an NCAA championship.

It was the third time this season that Mendez and Bartlett faced off on the mat. Bartlett bested Mendez in sudden victory, 4-3, during Ohio State and Penn State's dual in the regular season, but Mendez knocked off the top-seeded Bartlett in the Big Ten championship match at 141 pounds. At the conference tournament, Mendez was relentless in a 4-1 win and earned his first Big Ten title – and the Buckeyes' only conference crown in 2023-24.

Rocco Welsh, the Buckeyes' NCAA championship representative at 174 pounds, also competed for a national title on Saturday. The freshman phenom faced off with Penn State's Carter Starocci in the final. While Welsh persevered with three sudden victories to reach the final, Starocci outmatched the Ohio State wrestler in their seven-minute dual. The Nittany Lion wrestler secured a 2-0 decision and his fourth NCAA championship.

Mendez, Welsh and Nick Feldman received All-American honors for their performances in the NCAA championship. Feldman took fifth place in the heavyweight division, with his only loss coming to Penn State's Greg Kerkvliet, the No. 1 overall seed in the class.

Ohio State's NCAA Championship Results

Brendan McCrone, 125

  • Matt Ramos (Purdue) defeats McCrone, 4-3
  • McCrone defeats Noah Surtin (Missouri), 14-0
  • Nico Provo (Stanford) defeats McCrone, 12-6

Nic Bouzakis, 133

  • Bouzakis defeats Braxton Brown (Maryland), 8-5
  • Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) defeats Bouzakis, 5-4
  • Bouzakis defeats Derrick Cardinal (South Dakota State), 14-8
  • Aaron Nagao (Penn State) defeats Bouzakis, 3-0

Jesse Mendez, 141

  • Mendez defeats Todd Carter (Garner-Webb), 26-13
  • Mendez defeats Isaiah Powe (Chattanooga), PIN (4:37)
  • Mendez defeats Brock Hardy (Nebraska), 6-2
  • Mendez defeats Anthony Echemendia (Iowa State), 6-4
  • Mendez defeats Beau Bartlett (Penn State), 4-1, to win a national championship

Dylan D'Emilio, 149

  • D'Emilio defeats Joseph Zargo (Wisconsin), 7-2
  • Jackson Arrington (NC State) defeats D'Emilio, 8-1
  • D'Emilio defeats Caleb Rathjen (Iowa), 7-2
  • D'Emilio defeats Gabe Willochell (Wyoming), 9-7
  • Casey Swiderski (Iowa State) defeats D'Emilio, TB-1, 2-1

Isaac Wilcox, 157

  • Wilcox defeats Nick Stampoulos (Buffalo), 8-2
  • Levi Haines (Penn State) defeats Wilcox, 17-2
  • Wilcox defeats Brock Mauller (Missouri), 13-10
  • Cael Swensen (South Dakota State) defeats Wilcox, 8-5

Rocco Welsh, 174

  • Welsh defeats Danny Wask (Navy), 4-2
  • Welsh defeats Austin Murphy (Campbell), SV-1 4-1
  • Welsh defeats Edmond Ruth (Illinois), SV-1 4-1
  • Welsh defeats Lennox Wolak (Columbia), SV-1 4-1
  • Carter Starocci (Penn State) defeats Welsh, 2-0, in national championship match

Ryder Rogotzke, 184

  • Rogotzke defeats Reece Heller (Pittsburgh), PIN 2:28
  • Isaiah Salazar (Minnesota) defeats Rogotzke, SV-1 4-1
  • Nate Dugan (Princeton) defeats Rogotzke, 8-5

Luke Geog, 197

  • Silas Allred (Nebraska) defeats Geog, 10-3
  • Zach Glazier (Iowa) defeats Geog, 16-6

Nick Feldman, 285

  • Feldman defeats Keaton Kluever (Hofstra), PIN 2:27
  • Feldman defeats Bradley Hill (Iowa), 11-2
  • Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) defeats Feldman, 1-0
  • Feldman defeats Josh Heindselman (Oklahoma), SV-1 8-5
  • Feldman defeats Taye Ghadiali (Campbell), 10-4
  • Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force) defeats Feldman, 14-5
  • Feldman defeats Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), 11-4, to take fifth place
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