No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Clinches Big Ten Regular Season Title With 21-13 Win Over No. 12 Nebraska
No. 1 Penn State wrestling (16-0, Big Ten 8-0) rolled over No. 12 Nebraska (5-4, Big Ten 2-4) 21-13 in its second dual of the weekend on Sunday afternoon at a packed Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions came out and dominated right away. Nebraska cut it as close as 14-10, but it didn’t matter as Aaron Brooks and Greg Kerkvliet took care of business to finish the afternoon. Sunday’s victory clinched the 2021-22 Big Ten Regular Season Championship for Cael Sanderson’s group.
How It Happened
Starting the day at 125 pounds, No. 6 Drew Hildebrandt took on Nebraska’s Jeremiah Reno. After the first period, Hildebrandt took a 2-0 lead and accumulated 0:49 in riding time. Hildebrandt got to 2:49 in riding time after the second period and then grabbed an escape early in the third period extending his lead 3-0. The Nittany Lion’s 2:41 in riding time ultimately gave him a 4-0 victory by decision. Penn State led Nebraska 3-0 after the initial win.
No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young had a breeze of a bout when he took on Dominick Serrano. Bravo-Young was a takedown machine in the first period as he built a comfortable 10-4 lead with 1:26 in riding time. The score through two periods was not a reflection of the dominant performance that Bravo-Young had as he recorded a technical fall, 4:02 in riding time, and a 23-8 victory. The Nittany Lions grabbed five points, extending their lead to 8-0.
At 141 pounds, No. 1 Nick Lee had the first ranked opponent from Nebraska on the day as he faced off with No. 8 Chad Red Jr. Lee got the initial points of the bout and led 2-0 after one period. The Indiana native had a 3-0 lead into the third period, but Red scored his first point on an escape. However, Red’s point didn’t matter as Lee came away with a 4-1 victory by decision after obtaining 1:20 in riding time. Penn State’s lead grew to 11-0.
The 149-pound bout featured No. 18 Beau Bartlett and No. 8 Ridge Lovett. After one period, Lovett shut out Bartlett and grabbed a sneaky three points. Bartlett had to try and play a game of catch up in the third period as he trailed 5-0. Bartlett’s attempt to come back didn’t pan out, as Lovett came away with a 6-0 win and the Cornhuskers’ first victory of the day. The Nittany Lions still led Nebraska 11-3.
Terrell Barraclough had a tough opponent in No. 5 Peyton Robb at 157 pounds. Barraclough held his own against Robb as he only trailed 2-1 after the initial period. Barraclough escaped to make it a 3-2 score early in the third period. Despite a late comeback attempt and nearly recording a takedown, Robb came out on top 3-2. Penn State led Nebraska 11-6 into the intermission.
Creighton Edsell took on Tahjae Jenkins-Harris out of the intermission in the 165-pound matchup. Edsell got a takedown with under 20 seconds left in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. In the third period, after an official review, a takedown wasn’t awarded to Edsell. However, it didn’t matter, as Edsell grabbed two more takedowns and 2:44 in riding time, giving him a 9-2 victory by decision. The Edsell win extended Penn State’s lead 14-6.
At 174 pounds, Penn State sent out Mason Manville, who took on No. 5 Mikey Labriola. A scoring machine, Labriola scored eight points through the first two periods. Labriola tallied six more points through the third period, giving him a 14-4 major decision victory. Nebraska was closing the gap as Penn State led only 14-10.
No. 1 Brooks aimed to keep Penn State afloat when he took on No. 9 Taylor Venz in a top-ten 184-pound bout. Brooks was awarded two takedowns after the first period. He grabbed three more takedowns in the second period, including one that came in the final five seconds of the period. Brooks came away with a 14-4 major decision victory after having 2:15 in riding time when it was all said and done. Penn State extended its lead 18-10.
At 197 pounds, Penn State sent out Michael Beard to wrestle No. 3 Eric Schultz. Beard held a 2-1 lead following a takedown at the end of the first period. Schultz tied things up at 2-2 at the end of the second period, setting up an exciting third. With under a minute remaining, Beard took the lead, but there were controversial two stalling calls, which ultimately led to Schultz’s 6-4 decision. Penn State still led Nebraska into the final match 18-13.
In the final bout at 285 pounds, No. 5 Kerkvliet took on No. 12 Christian Lance. Kerkvliet held a 2-1 victory after one period. The big man extended his lead 5-1 through the second period and had a beautiful mat return that got Rec Hall roaring. Kerkvliet ultimately grabbed an 8-2 victory which gave Penn State a 21-13 win over Nebraska.
The Nittany Lions will return to action at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, at Rec Hall when they take on Rider University.
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