Penn State Wrestling Crowns Four Individual Champions, Falls Just Short Of Iowa For National Title

Penn State wrestling capped off the NCAA Championships with a bang Saturday night. The Nittany Lions finished 6-0 on the day and crowned four national champions.

Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, and Carter Starocci all picked up upset victories in overtime while Aaron Brooks won in regulation to keep Penn State perfect in the finals.

Despite the amazing effort, Penn State came up just short in the team race. Sanderson’s group finished second with 113.5 points just behind the Hawkeyes with 125 points.

How It Happened

The finals kicked off at 133 pounds as No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young took on No. 1 Daton Fix of Oklahoma State. The two wrestled evenly through the first period as neither wrestler could score a takedown and were tied at 0-0. Bravo-Young would come up huge in the second period, riding out Fix for the entire period and gaining two minutes of riding time.

He’d go on to get the escape point in the third period to take a 1-0 lead but was questionably called for stalling twice which gave Fix a 2-1 lead. Bravo-Young’s riding time would tie the match at 2-2 and the two went to overtime. In sudden victory, Bravo-Young did what he’s done best all year, using his lightning speed to get a takedown and secure the 4-2 upset over Fix. His national championship was the first for a Penn State wrestler at 133 pounds.

Next up in the finals for the Nittany Lions was No. 2 Nick Lee against No. 1 Jaydin Eierman of Iowa at 141 pounds in a rematch of the Big Ten finals.

Both wrestlers got in on shots in the first period, but neither scored a takedown. Eierman would start the second period down and got the escape to take a 1-0 lead. Lee smartly choose neutral in the third period, which would pay off, as he secured a takedown to take a 2-1 lead. He couldn’t manage to keep Eierman down as he got an escape to tie the score and force overtime.

Lee would not be denied in sudden victory as he pushed the pace in search of a match-winning takedown. He would eventually get that takedown and complete the upset with a 4-2 decision. Lee’s championship victory made him the first national champion for Penn State at 141 pounds.

After a bit of a break, No. 3 Carter Starocci took on No. 1 Michael Kemerer of Iowa in another rematch from the Big Ten finals at 174 pounds. This time Starocci got the better of Kemerer in another overtime victory win for Penn State.

The two traded escape points in the second and third period which sent them to sudden victory overtime. Starocci got in on a deep double leg and converted to pick up the 3-1 overtime upset. He’d keep the Nittany Lions perfect in the finals with his first career national title.

Top seeded Aaron Brooks capped off an undefeated finals run for the Nittany Lions at 184 pounds against No. 2 Trent Hidlay NC State. Brooks reversed Hidlay in the second period and forced a stalling call in the third which would end up being the difference in the match, as he won 3-2.

It appeared Hidlay might have had a late takedown on the edge to put him up 4-3, but he was not rewarded the points after an official review. Brooks would hold on for the win to achieve his first national title and keep Penn State undefeated in the finals.

Michael Beard and Greg Kerkvliet won seventh place in the tournament after their victories earlier in the day. Beard won in overtime against Stephen Buchanan of Wyoming to cap off his tournament with a 4-2 record and earn All-American honors as a freshman. Kerkvliet majored Trent Orndorff of Ohio State 13-1 to also claim All-American honors as a freshman.

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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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