ST LOUIS-- Cornell junior Jordan Leen (The Baylor School) defeated Illinois' Michael Poeta 5-4 in the finals of the 157-pound bracket to claim his first national title on Saturday evening at the 2008 NCAA wrestling championship.
Leen was the No. 8 seed coming into the tournament.
Leen took a shot with 50 seconds left in the first period and converted to go up 2-0, but with 10 seconds left, Poeta escaped.
The Big Red grappler started the second period in the down position and went up 3-1 with an escape.
Leen earned another point when Poeta was hit with a penalty for fleeing the mat. Leen thought that they were out of bounds, and Poeta nearly countered to score before the referee blew the whistle.
Poeta began the third period down on the mat and came within two with an escape. The Illinois wrestler tied up the bout with a takedown, but Poeta let Leen up looking for another takedown to win. Leen evaded Poeta with time running out to win a 5-4 decision for a National Championship title.
The last Big Red wrestler to win a NCAA title was Travis Lee in 2005 at 133 pounds. Leen‘s title is the ninth in Cornell history, and the third under head coach Rob Koll.