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Andrew Alirez wins the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championship

Caleb Swiech-Olney
April 20, 2023

Andrew Alirez capped off his undefeated season by winning the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championship on March 18th.

Alirez, a Greeley native, set the goal before the season to bring a championship to his hometown. To do so, he had to go through three-time All-American Real Woods of Iowa, who was also undefeated until he met Alirez in the finals.

Alirez is a junior at UNC, but he has represented Greeley in wrestling all his life. While attending Greeley Central High School, he was the number one recruit coming out of the 2019 class and finished with several awards and honors, including four state championships.

Since attending UNC, Alirez has added to his seemingly endless number of awards including the 2020 Northern Colorado Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, 2020 and 2021 NCAA Qualifies, and 2022 Big 12 Champion.

Alirez was also a candidate for this year’s Hodge Trophy, a prestigious award that can be best described as the “Heisman Trophy of Wrestling.” The winner is voted on by the fans, but he lost to the University of Michigan’s Mason Parris.

Alirez’s historic championship win is also a first for UNC Wrestling Head Coach Troy Nickerson, who first joined the program during the 2014 and 2015 season.

Alirez is already looking forward to taking this year’s accomplishments and using them as an inspiration to further elevate his wrestling career.

“I gave my life to this game, and to be able to reap the benefits from it means the world to me. It is what I set out to do, and it is what I am going to continue to do,” Alirez said.