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No. 2 Penn State Wrestling Overpowers No. 11 Cornell 21-16

No. 2 Penn State wrestling (7-0) came out with a 21-16 victory over No. 11 Cornell (2-1) at Raider Arena in Niceville, Fla. Monday night, securing a 2-0 evening.

The 71st meeting between these two storied wrestling programs came down to the wire. Greg Kerkvliet solidified the win for Penn State in its most brutal battle yet.

How It Happened

Jake Campbell started the dual against No. 5 Vito Arujau at 125 pounds. The match did not last long as Arujau recorded the fall at the 0:58 mark. Penn State trailed in the dual 6-0.

Despite the early loss, No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young tried to gain momentum for Penn State as he took on Dom LaJoie at 133 pounds. Bravo-Young successfully pulled off a few takedowns as he led 6-2 after the first period. Bravo-Young’s second period was a breeze as he tacked on three more takedowns and extended his lead 12-5, headed into the third period. Bravo-Young was a takedown machine throughout this bout and ultimately picked up a 21-9 major decision victory. However, the Nittany Lions still trailed 6-4 in the dual.

Trying to take their first lead of the evening, No. 1 Nick Lee took the mat for the Nittany Lions against Cole Handlovic. Lee had a successful start to the bout as he had two takedowns in the first period and led 4-1. The second period was not as eventful for Lee. Lee did manage to tack on another point and extend his lead 5-1 with 3:09 in riding time. Lee’s match was essentially no challenge as he rolled through to a 13-3 major decision victory. Penn State took its first lead in the dual 8-6.

No. 22 Beau Bartlett came into an exciting opportunity on the mat wrestling opposite of No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis. Diakomihalis had a successful first period after picking up two takedowns and a 4-1 lead. The second period put Bartlett in a tough spot as he was taken down two more times and trailed into the third 8-1. In the third, Bartlett managed to escape and pick up another point, but it was Diakomihalis that picked up another takedown and an 11-3 major decision victory. The Nittany Lions once again trailed 10-8.

At 157 pounds, Joe Lee made his season debut for Penn State as he faced No. 25 Colton Yapoujian. Lee picked up a takedown and an early 2-1 lead after the first period. Yapoujian picked up a takedown in the second period and managed to take the lead 4-2 into the third period. Lee chose to start in the neutral position in the third, but it didn’t matter as both wrestlers scored no points in the final period. Yapoujian won the bout by a 4-2 decision. Penn State trailed 13-8.

No. 26 Creighton Edsell took on No. 9 Julian Ramirez at 165 pounds. After successfully executing two takedowns, Ramirez accumulated a 4-2 lead after the first period. The third period was one of the more eventful of the evening as it came down to Edsell needing a takedown with little time left in the third period. Despite one heck of a fight, Edsell couldn’t accomplish the upset and lost by a 7-5 decision. The Nittany Lions trailed 16-8.

With hopes of making a comeback, No. 1 Carter Starocci wrestled No. 12 Chris Foca at 174 pounds. The first period was back and forth between both wrestlers, as each almost obtainined a takedown. Foca did come away with the first points of the bout on a takedown late in the period, and an escape for Starocci made it a 2-1 Foca lead after the first. This takedown was Starocci’s first he had given up all season. Following an escape, Starocci made it a 2-2 bout at the end of the second period. The third period almost depended entirely on Starocci being able to ride out Foca. Starocci successfully rode out and picked up a point in riding time, giving him a 3-2 victory. Penn State trailed 16-11.

In a push to take the lead, No. 1 Aaron Brooks faced off against No. 15 Jonathan Loew at 184 pounds. Right away, Brooks was close to obtaining a fall. However, he couldn’t complete it. Instead, Brooks picked up six near fall points. Brooks breezed through to a few more takedowns in the second period and racked up four more points and 2:14 in riding time, extending the lead to 12-3 heading into the final period. With 2:49 in riding time, Brooks picked up a 15-3 major victory. The Nittany Lions only trailed 16-15 in the dual.

No. 3 Max Dean faced a lot of pressure and faced his former teammates of Cornell, specifically No. 19 Jacob Cardenas, in the 197 pound bout. The first period ended with no score for the pair of wrestlers. However, Dean was able to grab an escape early in the second, just before Cardenas scored two points on the first takedown Dean has given up all season. Luckily, Dean escaped and tied the bout at 2-2. The third period started in the neutral position, and Dean came up big as he went in on a beautiful double leg takedown to take a 4-2 lead that eventually gave him a victory decision. The Dean victory gave Penn State an 18-16 lead.

The dual depended on the 285-pound bout between No. 4 Kerkvliet and No. 18 Lewis Fernandes. The winner-take-all bout started with a Kerkvliet takedown and an early 2-0 lead. Early in the second period, Kerkvliet was rewarded a stunning reversal and went over a minute in riding time, extending his lead to 4-0. Kerkvliet won by a decision of 5-0 with 1:45 in riding time. Kerkvliet’s win clinched the 21-16 victory for the Nittany Lions.

What’s Next?

Penn State will take on Arizona State at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Raider Arena in Niceville, Fla.

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected]

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