Penn State Wrestling Jumps Out To Team Lead At NCAA Championships With 9-0 First Round
Penn State wrestling set the tone early at the NCAA Championships during the first session on Thursday afternoon. The Nittany Lions rattled off nine wins, including five falls, to wrack up 21 points and jump out to a commanding lead atop the field.
After one session, Penn State sits atop the team standings, ahead of Ohio State (15.5), Oklahoma State (15), and Iowa (14). The Nittany Lions have all of their wrestlers alive in the championship bracket.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions’ first action came at 133 lbs. when Roman Bravo-Young took on No. 23 Mario Guillen of Ohio. After a scoreless first three minutes, Bravo-Young broke the stalemate with an escape to begin the second period. Guillen quickly took him back down, before Bravo-Young escaped and registered a takedown of his own to go up 4-2.
Needing a spark in the third period, Guillen chose neutral but failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Bravo-Young scored another takedown and two near-fall points to finish off an 8-2 first round decision. Next, he’ll face No. 7 Austin DeSanto of Iowa tonight in perhaps the most anticipated match-up of the session.
No. 3 Nick Lee got the parade of bonus points started for Penn State when he pinned Purdue’s Nate Limmex. Lee jumped out to a 6-1 lead and clocked nearly two minutes of riding time before sending Limmex to his back.
No. 12 Brady Berge made it 3-for-3 when he won his first-round match against Khristian Olivas of Fresno State. Berge scored a pair of first period takedowns to go up on Olivas 4-2 and never looked back, hanging on for a 6-2 decision.
No. 1 Jason Nolf continued the Nittany Lions’ first round conquest with a first period pin over Duke’s Ben Anderson. Nolf quickly took Anderson down and locked him up with a cradle to secure the 60th fall of his career.
After about a half hour of inactivity for the Nittany Lions, No. 2 Vincenzo Joseph and No. 1 Mark Hall wrestled simultaneously.
Joseph recorded the team’s third pin of the session and his 14th of the season against Clarion’s Evan Delong. Hall won by major decision with a 10-2 win over North Carolina’s Devin Cane. Although he didn’t win by pin-fall, Hall dominated from start to finish, riding Cane for 4:38 and taking him down four times.
After another brief layover, No. 2 Shakur Rasheed and No. 1 Bo Nickal took the mat together. Pacing himself with teammate and best friend Nolf, Nickal made short work of Ethan Laird of Rider, pinning him in the first period. He now has 57 career falls, three behind Nolf’s program record.
On the mat diagonal to Nickal, Rasheed pulled out an 11-2 major decision over Kevin Parker of Princeton in a scrappy, reversal-filled bout.
Rasheed took an early 4-0 lead off a takedown and two near-fall points, but Parker made things interesting with a wild sequence that resulted in him reversing Rasheed. Rasheed adjusted with a reversal of his own 12 second later to take a 6-2 lead into the second period. Rasheed registered two more reversals and rode out Parker for the remainders of the second and third periods to run the score up to 11-2.
No. 2 Anthony Cassar wrapped up the first session for the Nittany Lions against No. 31 Antonio Pelusi of Franklin and Marshall. While leading 5-0 at the 4:20 mark, he capped off Penn State’s show-stopping first round with its fifth fall of the session.
What’s Next: Second Round Match-Ups
No. 10 Roman Bravo Young vs. No. 7 Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
No. 3 Nick Lee vs. No. 19 Sa’Derian Perry (Old Dominion)
No. 12 Brady Berge vs. No. 5 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton)
No. 1 Jason Nolf vs. No. 16 John Van Brill (Rutgers)
No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph vs. No. 15 Connor Flynn (Missouri)
No. 1 Mark Hall vs. No. 16 Brandon Womack (Cornell)
No. 2 Shakur Rasheed vs. No. 15 Chip Ness (UNC)
No. 1 Bo Nickal vs. No. 16 Josh Hokit (Fresno State)
No. 2 Anthony Cassar vs. No. 15 Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley)
Wrestling resumes tonight at 7 p.m.
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About the Author
Inspired by a truly awful cut three years ago, Shaun Flaherty started cutting hair to fix some questionable cuts from the barbers in upstate New York.
“I couldn’t really think of any other place to do it because everyone is the happiest there.”
Penn State fell to under .500 for the first time this season.