Bacon, Steveson win NCAA titles

A montage of images of Sarah Bacon.

For the fourth time in her exceptional collegiate career, redshirt-senior Sarah Bacon is an NCAA champion. Bacon won her first career title in the three-meter springboard on March 19, effectively sweeping the springboard diving events at the 2021 NCAA Championships.

Her four individual NCAA titles make her the winningest woman in any sport in Minnesota history, the next closest having only secured two.

Right from the get-go, Bacon was a force on the board as her prelim six-dive score of 380.70 comfortably secured her the top seed in the night's finals session for the second consecutive day, sitting more than 19 points ahead of each of her 45 adversaries.

The night's finals session told almost exactly the same tale, though it was even possibly more impressive. The Indianapolis native tore through her competition, rattling off six straight dives of more than 60 points, three of the final four of which were either a 70.50 or above. She'd ultimately finish with the championship winning six-dive score of 408.60, more than 24 points ahead of her nearest competitor.

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A year after his opportunity to win a national title in front of his home state at U.S. Bank Stadium was taken away by the pandemic, junior Gable Steveson reached the pinnacle of college wrestling on March 20. His 8-4 decision against No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan delivered his first NCAA Championship. He celebrated the victory with his trademark backflip on the mat.

Steveson becomes the first Gopher to win a national title since Tony Nelson won back-to-back crowns in 2012-13 and the 18th to win at least one national title. He also becomes the fourth Minnesota heavyweight since 2000 to finish first, joining Nelson, Cole Konrad (2006-07) and Brock Lesnar (2000). Only Ohio State has had multiple winners during that period with two.