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Roman Bravo-Young Eyes Up Final Season With Penn State Wrestling

Just about seven months ago, Roman Bravo-Young fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an NCAA champion by completing a comeback against the top-ranked 133-pound wrestler in the country.

The road to Bravo-Young’s first national title was long and winding, but both he and his many fans knew he had championship potential from day one. Wrestling for Penn State as a freshman and becoming an All-American right off the bat was far from a lucky break.

Now, with his ultimate collegiate goal fulfilled, Bravo-Young says he’s ready for one last ride with the Nittany Lions. He confirmed on Tuesday that he won’t use the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA granted to student-athletes amid pandemic-canceled seasons. Instead, he intends to make his senior year count.

“I’m just trying to get some more pins,” Bravo-Young joked. “Obviously, I want to win every match, but whatever happens happens. Can’t really get too worked up about it, but I just want to go out there and make sure I’m having fun and enjoying myself. I know a lot of people change their perception after they win, but mine’s staying the same.”

As he attempts to claim a second national title, Bravo-Young is also working hard to profit off of the use of his name, image, and likeness thanks to a landmark NCAA ruling over the summer. As soon as he could, Bravo-Young hit the market to launch raffles, debut his own jersey, and partner with local businesses like Wings Over.

Head coach Cael Sanderson spoke positively about his team’s NIL opportunities and noted that Bravo-Young has led the charge.

“Roman’s done a really good job, and he’s done a great job building his brand,” Sanderson said. “He was building his brand before this, obviously, so he kind of got a head start. But I just want him to go compete with some enthusiasm because his following will just continue to increase.”

141-pound fifth-year Nick Lee, who also won a national title last year and is using his extra year of eligibility, has benefited from NIL rules by partnering with businesses back home in Indiana. As an unquestioned leader in the Nittany Lions’ locker room, Lee says he’s enjoyed watching his teammates flourish alongside him, too.

“It kind of shows some skills that you might not know that wrestlers have — business skills, marketing skills and stuff like that,” Lee said. “I think it’s really cool, and as someone who’s not as skilled with that stuff, it’s kind of cool to see different wrestlers and the way they deal with that stuff. It’s pretty awesome. It’s a really awesome thing for the sport.”

With a national title under his belt and off-the-mat opportunities aplenty, Bravo-Young’s future seems as stable as ever. The success he’s found along the way is giving him a unique sense of calm entering what should be his final season with the Nittany Lions.

“My goal is just to go out there and have fun,” Bravo Young said. “I already got a monkey off my back by winning last year, so I just want to go out there and be the best me and enjoy it. It’s my last year…so I’m just going to go out there and just have fun every match and just let it fly. Try to get those highlight reels like I always do.”

Bravo-Young’s first steps toward another national title will arrive on Saturday, November 13, when Penn State heads to Manheim, Pa., for a pair of duals against Sacred Heart and Oregon State. The Nittany Lions’ home opener against Army will follow on Thursday, November 18.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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