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Penn State Wrestling Goes Undefeated In NCAA Championship Quarterfinals

After finishing with 27.5 total points Thursday, Penn State wrestling was back at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan for day two of the NCAA Championships Friday.

The Nittany Lions finished the day with six semifinalists, including No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, No. 1 Nick Lee, No. 1 Carter Starocci, No. 2 Aaron Brooks, No. 1 Max Dean, and No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet. All of them also locked up All-American status.

How It Happened

To start off the day, No. 16 Drew Hildebrandt wrestled his second consolation match of the tournament against No. 15 Brody Teske from Northern Iowa. Hildebrandt quickly went down 4-1 in the first period, before a takedown and an escape evened the score 4-4. But, Hildebrandt could not keep up and Teske scored four more points before the end of the bout. The sixth-year senior finished off 1-2 in the tournament.

Next up, 133-pound No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young took on No. 25 Brian Courtney from Virginia. Once again, Bravo-Young jumped to an early 2-1 lead, and that quickly extended to an 8-3 lead after two periods. The senior finished up the bout with a 13-6 decision win, and he moves on to the semifinals against No. 5 Austin DeSanto from Iowa.

Another quarterfinal match took place just minutes after when No. 1 Nick Lee faced No. 8 Grant Willits from Oregon State. Lee immediately took charge in the first with a 3-0 lead and almost two minutes of riding time. The offensive strikes just kept coming until Lee earned the pin at the 3:45 mark. Lee has now become Penn State’s first-ever five-time All-American.

No. 13 Beau Bartlett was Penn State’s next consolation bout against No. 19 Yahya Thomas from Northwestern. No points were scored through the first until Thomas had an escape and a takedown to go up 3-0. Bartlett was able to bring the score within one, but another takedown from Thomas secured him the 5-3 win. The sophomore ended his tournament run with a 1-2 record.

Directly after Barlett, No. 16 Brady Berge took the mat against No. 15 Johnny Lovett from Central Michigan. Berge came out with a strong start getting the 3-1 lead after two. A reversal from Lovett knotted the score at three, but Berge escaped to walk away with the 4-3 decision win.

After a bit of a break, No. 1 Carter Starocci had his first match of the day against No. 9 Mikey Labriola from Nebraska. The scoring started out slow with nothing in the first, but Starocci turned that around to go up 3-0 with 1:27 of riding time in the second. Labriola had an escape, but Starocci fired back with another takedown. The sophomore moved on to the semifinals with a 6-1 win.

No. 2 Aaron Brooks saw another Ohio State matchup against No. 7 Kaleb Romero. The match started off close, but Brooks began to pull away in the second with a score of 7-1. The intensity never wavered as he continued to roll to his 13-2 major decision win.

Michigan native No. 1 Max Dean was up next against No. 8 Lou Deprez from Binghampton. The action started quickly when Dean went down 2-1, but an escape evened the score. After the tied score, Penn State challenged a Dean takedown and was awarded two points to go up 4-2. The third period brought a Deprez takedown, but Dean ultimately got the win.

In the final semifinal of the session, No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet wrestled No. 12 Christian Lance from Nebraska. Kerkvliet stayed up the whole match with a score of 4-2 through two periods. A few more quick moves and over four minutes of riding time secured the place in the semifinals for Kerkvliet.

One final consolation match from No. 16 Brady Berge rounded out session three as he went against No. 10 Peyton Robb from Nebraska for his second match of the day. Berge started off down 2-1, but a challenge from Nebraska widened the gap to 4-1. Another official review extended Robb’s lead 7-3 and Berge could not climb back. The 157-pounder finished his tournament run with a 2-2 record.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will be back at Little Caesars arena tonight at 8 p.m. for another round of consolation matches and the semifinals. Session four will be streamed on ESPN and you can follow along on Twitter or on our Live Blog for updates.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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