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No. 3 Penn State Wrestling Flexes Muscles In 29-13 Win Over Northwestern

No. 3 Penn State wrestling (2-0) squared off against Northwestern Saturday afternoon in its second match of a tri-meet in Evanston, Illinois.

Following a generally loppy performance against Indiana earlier in the day, the Nittany Lions returned to the mat with a vengeance. Thanks to dominant performances from Nick Lee, Roman Bravo-Young, and Aaron Brooks, Cael Sanderson and his squad earned their second victory of the day, 29-13.

How It Happened

Penn State’s dual against Northwestern started off at 125 lbs., where the Nittany Lions forfeited after having no 125-pounders cleared to wrestle.

At 133 lbs., No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young got things started against Dylan Utterback from Northwestern. Utterback displayed some impressive defense early in the first period but Bravo-Young turned up the pace and scored five takedowns in the last minute to give himself a 10-4 lead. Bravo-Young continued the pace in the second and earned a pinfall victory early in the period. The pin erased Northwestern’s six-point headstart, tying the score 6-6.

No. 2 Nick Lee continued his dominance from earlier in the day at 141 lbs. against Frankie Tal-Shahar of Northwestern. The inexperienced Tal-Shahar did his best to fight off Lee’s strong attack but ultimately ended up losing from giving up too many stall warnings. The stall-out increased Penn State’s lead to 10-6.

Terrell Barraclough stepped in for Jarod Verklereen at 149 lbs. to make his dual debut for the Nittany Lions. He faced off against Yahya Thomas from Northwestern. The two wrestled pretty evenly through the first two periods but Thomas’ takedown in the first put him up 3-1. The pesky Barraclough got an escape in the third to make the score 3-2 but could not pick up a takedown to win the match. Northwestern’s decision pulled them within 10-9 of Penn State.

The 157 lbs. weight class featured Penn State’s Brady Berge against Northwestern’s Maxx Mayfield. Berge got on the attack right away, gaining two takedowns in the first period and adding on some riding time as well. Much of the same occurred in the second period as Berge got a few more takedowns and secured a riding time point. Berge’s 12-7 win pushed Penn State’s lead to 13-9.

No. 6 Joe lee picked up a win in at 165 lbs. against the Wildcats David Ferrante. Lee led the first period 5-2 and managed to gain over two minutes of riding time. Ferrante battled back in the second with an escape and a takedown to tie the score. He also erased Lee’s two minutes of riding time from the first and received a stall point to give him a 6-5 lead going into the final period.

The two started on their feet to begin the third. Lee got a takedown after a series of scrambles to take back the lead. Ferrante managed to escape late but Lee gained back his riding time to give him an 8-7 victory. The decision added three more points to increase Penn State’s lead to 16-9.

Fifth-ranked freshman Carter Starocci took the mat at 174 lbs. for Penn State against Troy Fisher. Neither grappler could get an advantage in the first period but Starocci got the scoring going in the second with a quick escape and a takedown to gain a 3-0 lead. Starocci fended off Fisher’s late comeback attempt to win 4-1, giving him his first dual win as a Nittany Lion. The decision made the score 19-9 in Penn State’s favor.

At 184 lbs., No. 3 Aaron Brooks looked impressive yet again against Northwestern’s Jack Jessen. Brooks got takedowns whenever he wanted to and controlled the match from start to finish. After a powerful double-leg in the third period, Brooks turned Jessen with ease to gain four back points. His riding time bonus point gave him the 21-6 technical fall. The tech fall pushed Penn State’s lead to 24-9.

Donovan Ball, who’s listed at 184 lbs. for Penn State, squared off against No. 11 Lucas Davison of Northwestern at 197 lbs. The inexperienced Ball wrestled tough but ultimately was no match for the veteran Davison. Davison’s flurry of takedowns and strong top game earned him a 12-3 major decision. The major cut Penn State’s lead to 24-13.

At heavyweight, Seth Nevills took on the Wildcat’s Brendan Devine. Nevil’s size advantage was apparent from the beginning and it proved to be a major factor in controlling the match. In the first, Nevills scored six takedowns and had already mounted a 16-5 lead. The scoring continued for Nevills in the second period as he earned a 24-9 tech fall, which gave Penn State a 29-13 victory over the Wildcats.

What’s Next?

Sanderson’s squad’s next match will be on February 7 against Wisconsin. The match was originally supposed to be a tri-meet in Ann Arbor between Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin but Michigan pulled out due to COVID-19. The time and place of the match remain unknown.

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About the Author

Max Tolson

Max is a senior majoring in print journalism. He hails from the small town of Millsboro, DE and loves to watch the Eagles and Penn State wrestling. Follow him on twitter @TolsonMax or send emails to [email protected] Go Birds!

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