Penn State Wrestling Stays Hot In Session Two, Sends Seven To NCAA Championship Quarterfinals

Penn State wrestlers stayed hot to finish day one of the NCAA Championships. The Nittany Lions sent seven wrestlers to Friday’s quarterfinals by posting a 7-2 record in session two, and finished with a 15-3 record on the day.

No. 12 Brady Berge and No. 15 Michael Beard kept the Nittany Lions hot with surprising runs to the quarterfinals. Berge’s victory was huge for the team race, as it came over No. 5 Kaleb Young of Iowa. Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Beard, and Greg Kerkvliet all scored bonus points in their wins.

The Nittany Lions kept within a manageable distance of the leading Hawkeyes (33.5) in the team score with 28 points.

How It Happened

Session 2A

Penn State got the second round started with No. 23 Robbie Howard wrestling No. 7 Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley at 125 pounds. Neither wrestler earned a takedown in the first period and the score was tied at 0-0.

The two would go on to trade escape points in the second and third period, but LaMont managed to grab over a minute of riding time and that was the difference in the match. Howard’s 2-1 loss sent him to Friday morning’s consolation bracket.

No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young got the Nittany Lions back on track against No. 18 Kyle Burwick of Wisconsin at 133 pounds. Bravo-Young got out to a good start with two takedowns in the first period. He did exactly the same in the second with two more takedowns and led 8-2 going into the final period. With a riding time bonus point, Bravo-Young won by major decision 11-3. He’ll move on to face No. 10 Louie Hayes of Virginia in the quarterfinals.

At 141 pounds, No. 2 Nick Lee took on No. 15 Clay Carlson of South Dakota State. Lee poured on the points early, leading 10-2 after the second period with over two minutes of riding time. He would add another takedown and an escape point to win by major decision 14-3. He’ll advance to the quarterfinals to face No. 10 Zachary Sherman of North Carolina.

No. 12 Brady Berge squared off with No. 5 Kaleb Young at 157 pounds. Berge took an early advantage over Young with a first period takedown and he led 2-1. Young managed to get an escape point in the second period to tie the score at 2-2. In the final period, however, Berge got the escape and held off Young’s shot attempts to pull of the upset with a 3-2 decision. Berge’s big win sent him to the quarterfinals against No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia of Rider.

Session 2B

After about an hour break, No. 23 Joe Lee wrestled in round one of the consolations against No. 26 Andrew Nicholson of Chattanooga. The two traded blows in the first period and the score was tied 4-4. Lee couldn’t manage to come up with any points after the first as he dropped a 10-4 decision to Nicholson. The loss would end Lee’s tournament run after an 0-2 performance.

No. 3 Carter Starocci squared off against No. 14 Hayden Hastings of Wyoming at 174 pounds. Starocci got out to a slim 4-2 lead but did have over two minutes of riding time after the second period. He would get an escape point to start the third and used another takedown and riding time to earn the 8-2 decision. His second victory of the tournament pushes him to the quarterfinals where he’ll face No. 6 Andrew McNally of Kent State.

The score may not have shown it, but No. 1 Aaron Brooks dominated yet again at 184 pounds against No. 17 Owen Webster of Minnesota. Brooks scored a takedown in the first period and used an escape paired with a stall warning against Webster to lead 4-0. After riding out Webster for the entire third period, Brooks’ riding time gave him the 5-0 decision. He advances to the quarterfinals, where he’ll take on No. 8 Taylor Venz of Nebraska in a rematch of the Big Ten finals.

At 197 pounds, No. 15 Michael Beard took on No. 31 Owen Pentz of North Dakota State. Beard continued his cinderella run in the tournament as Pentz couldn’t stop him on his feet. He managed to score eight takedowns and a riding bonus point to earn the 17-8 major decision. He’ll face upset-minded No. 26 Jake Woodley of Oklahoma in the quarterfinals.

In a a battle of the big men, No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet squared off with No. 8 Jordan Wood of Lehigh at heavyweight. Kerklivet used his speed to gain an early takedown and led 2-1 after the first period. Wrestling in perhaps his best match of the year, the big man continued to pour the points on, increasing his lead to 9-1 after the second period.

He used another takedown and a riding time point to get the 12-2 major decision over Wood. His victory pushed the Nittany Lions record to 7-2 in the session. He’ll draw hammer No. 1 Gable Steveson of Minnesota in the quarterfinals.

What’s Next?

The third session of the NCAA Championships will start back up at 11 a.m. Friday morning. Fans can watch all the action go down on ESPN’s family of channels.

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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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