No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Blanks Rider 45-0 In Regular-Season Finale
No. 1 Penn State wrestling (17-0, Big Ten 8-0) did its thing one last time ahead of the postseason on Sunday.
A 45-0 performance against Rider (4-10) was the definition of dominance for the Nittany Lions. Today’s dual began with the 157-pound matchup and saw three pins in a row. Plus, Penn Stat recognized its senior class, too.
How It Happened
The dual’s first bout was a 157-pound matchup between No. 11 Brady Berge and Cole McComas of Rider. Berge had a successful first period, leading 4-1 with 1:53 in riding time. He held a 9-2 lead with 2:24 in riding time into the third period. Berge came away with a 14-4 major decision to put Penn State up 4-0.
Creighton Edsell found himself up against Max Wilson at 165 pounds next. The bout was close after the initial period when Edsell’s lead was 5-3. Right away in the second period, the Nittany Lion grabbed a quick point off an escape. With under ten seconds left in the bout, Wilson tied things up 6-6. However, Edsell’s 1:58 in riding time gave him a sneaky 7-6 victory.
The 174-pound bout saw No. 1 Carter Starocci take on an unranked opponent in Rider’s Shane Reitsma. Starocci got off to a fast start and posted four takedowns in the first period en route to an 8-3 lead. He racked up four more points in the second period to go up 12-5. Starocci came away with 1:38 in riding time and earned a 22-9 major decision to put Penn State up 11-0.
At 184 pounds, Donovan Ball got the call to match up with Rider’s Corey Connolly. After the first period, Ball held a 4-1 lead. With nearly 25 seconds remaining in the second period, the Rider coaches threw out the challenge brick and wanted two points awarded to Connolly, but they weren’t successful. Ball’s lead appeared to be in a good position with a 7-1 ahead of the third period. This bout was another display of dominance for Penn State as Ball came away with 2:27 in riding time and a 13-3 major decision victory. Ball’s victory extended the Nittany Lions’ lead 15-0.
No. 1 Max Dean showed out as he faced Rider’s Azeem Bell. It did not take long for Dean to tack on a few more team points, as he recorded a fall at 0:54 of the first period. Penn State entered the break up 21-0.
After the intermission, we saw a 285-pound matchup between No. 5 Greg Kerkvliet and David Szuba. After grabbing a takedown, Kerkvliet followed up on Dean holding his fall at the 1:11 mark of the first period. The Nittany Lions’ lead was now 27-0.
No. 5 Drew Hildebrandt took on Tyler Klinsky in the 125-pound bout. Hildebrandt tacked on six points and got the fall with essentially no time left at the 2:59 mark of the first period. This was the third fall in a row for the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s dominant lead was now 33-0.
No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young took on Richie Koehler at 133 pounds. Unfortunately, there was no pin after the first period, but there was a 10-4 lead in Bravo-Young’s favor. Bravo-Young held an 18-7 lead after two periods. The Penn State star earned a 26-11 tech fall (not another pin) at the 6:08 point of the bout. The Nittany Lions’ lead was now 38-0.
No. 1 Nick Lee’s final dual at Rec Hall came against No. 25 Quinn Kinner. In the first ranked matchup of the day, Lee held a 4-2 lead following a couple of takedowns in the first period. Lee started the third period still holding that lead. Kinner came out with a late escape point, but with under 10 seconds, Lee received a takedown to come away with a 6-3 victory.
In the final bout of the day, No. 19 Beau Bartlett looked to complete the shutout for Penn State as he went toe to toe with Bryan Miraglia at 149 pounds. 32 seconds into the bout, an official timeout was called to clean up the mat after Miraglia had a bit of blood. After everything was set, Bartlett scored two takedowns and jumped out to a 4-2 lead after the first period. Bartlett extended his lead 9-3 after the second period. Following a 12-4 major decision victory, Bartlett completed the 45-0 shutout for the Nittany Lions.
As Penn State completes an undefeated regular season, its next test will be conquering the Big Ten Tournament. Session one of the Big Ten Tournament will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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About the Author
Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.