Penn State Wrestling Overpowers Bucknell 42-3
No. 1 Penn State wrestling traveled an hour east on I-80 to face neighbor Bucknell for an early season out-of-conference dual Friday. The Nittany Lions won 42-3 in front of a sold-out Sojka Pavilion with more than 4,200 fans in attendance. The scrappy yet vastly overmatched Bison kept it close early by limiting the bonus points surrendered. However, the wins continued to fall for the Nittany Lions who pulled away as the dual wore on.
Ironically, Friday was the first time in 110 years of Penn State wrestling that the Nittany Lions visited Lewisburg.
How It Happened
The dual began at 125 lbs. with Devin Schnupp facing Bucknell’s Geo Barzona. Schnupp took an early 2-1 lead with a first period takedown, but the bout went to the third period with score tied 2-2. Schnupp began the period on the bottom and rattled off three points with an escape and a takedown to clinch a 5-2 win.
The win gave Penn State an early 3-0 lead and was the first dual win of Schnupp’s career. He had previously lost his first 11 dual bouts.
True freshman Roman Bravo-Young wrestled a seven-minute match for the first time in college. In the 133-lb. bout against Bucknell’s Brett Rezendes, he won with a 20-7 major decision. His first four bouts had resulted in three falls and a technical fall. Leading 12-5 after two periods, Bravo-Young went on an 8-2 run in the third period to blow open the match, falling just short of a technical fall.
No. 4 Nick Lee extended the Nittany Lions’ lead over the Bison to 11-0 with a 15-5 major decision against Matthew Kolonia. He has scored bonus points in every match this season.
No. 13 Brady Berge earned the start over Jarod Verkleeren and made his dual debut as a Nittany Lion with an emphatic 25-10 technical fall win over Joey Schiele. Berge got off to a fast start, peppering off three takedowns and totaling more than two minutes of riding time in the first period to take a 9-3 lead. Berge accomplished the rare feat of winning by tech fall without scoring any back points. He put on an offensive clinic on his feet, taking Schiele down 12 times en route to the 15-point win.
After a scrappy start by the Bison to keep the dual somewhat close, No. 1 Jason Nolf finally broke through for the Nittany Lions to close out the first half of wrestling. He recorded their first fall of the evening by pinning Nick Stephani with a second-period cement mixer. The fall made the dual 22-0 halfway through and was the 50th of Nolf’s career. After entering the season with 45, Nolf needs only three more to tie Zain Retherford, David Taylor, and Josh Moore’s program record.
Bo Pipher made a surprising appearance at 165 lbs. in place of two-time national champion Vincenzo Joseph. Joseph’s absence was felt by the Nittany Lions. Bucknell’s DJ Hollingshead wore down Pipher, who was wrestling up a weight class, en route to a 10-5 decision, Bucknell’s only win of the dual.
The third period began with Pipher leading 4-2 lead, but a clutch six-point move in the closing seconds of the bout gave Hollingshead the win. With the clock about to expire and the scored tied 4-4, Hollingshead took down Pipher with an inside trip and set him to straight to his back for four back points. The win did little to stop the bleeding. It cut Penn State’s lead to 22-3.
Joseph appears to have been a late scratch for Penn State; Pipher wasn’t listed on the team’s projected lineup for Friday. Whether Joseph will be available for Sunday’s dual against Lehigh remains to be seen.
No. 2 Mark Hall got the Nittany Lions back on track with a 20-7 major decision against Nick Stephani to make the team score 26-3.
At 184 lbs., the legend of No. 5 Shakur Rasheed lived on. He needed only 31 ticks on the clock to pin Kyle Inlander with his trademark cross face cradle. The pin was his fifth in six bouts this season and the 25th of his career. For context, he has only 27 wins that didn’t end in a fall.
There’s something about Drew Phipps that No. 1 Bo Nickal just doesn’t have completely figured out yet. Last year, he lost to Nickal 16-6. He lost by the same the score on Friday night.
The funniest part about all of this? We see a problem with Nickal only beaten someone via major.
Nickal’s major decision made the dual 36-3 entering the final bout, which No. 5 Anthony Cassar used to stamp an exclamation point on the dual by pinning Brandon Stokes in the first period. In the most stereotypical heavyweight fall, Cassar barreled over Stokes to put him on his back. He used one more second than Rasheed to tack six points on the board for the Nittany Lions. What was that about Cassar not being able to score bonus points?
Wrestler of the Dual: Brady Berge | Redshirt freshman | 149 lbs.
In his Penn State dual debut, Berge made a case for the starting job at 149 lbs. that was just about as convincing as Jarod Verkleeren’s was two weeks ago. His 12 takedowns demonstrated the type of dynamic, score-from-the-feet firepower he brings and that could be key come March.
Penn State returns home Sunday to face Lehigh at 1:30 p.m. in Rec Hall. This is the 107th consecutive year the in-state foes are wrestling.
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After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
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