Penn State Wrestling Goes 5-For-5 In 2022 NCAA Finals
After clinching the team title Saturday morning, Penn State wrestling crowned five individual champions to wrap up another dominant NCAA Championships tournament.
No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, No. 1 Nick Lee, No. 1 Carter Starocci, No. 2 Aaron Brooks, and No. 1 Max Dean all took the mat in this championship session and emerged as title-winners. The team also finished the tournament with a weekend-high 131.5 points.
How It Happened
First up, defending champion No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young had a 2021 title-match rematch against No. 2 Daton Fix from Oklahoma State. Bravo-Young got the early lead with a takedown, but an escape from Fix brought the score within one. Another escape from Fix knotted the score at two, but Bravo-Young’s quick escape in the third secured the victory. This is the second national title and his last match in a Penn State uniform.
Next to the mat, No. 1 Nick Lee saw No. 15 Kizhan Clarke from UNC. Clarke burst in with a takedown and put Lee down 2-0. However, Lee quickly fought back with an escape and a takedown of his own to go up 3-2 with 1:40 of riding time in the first. The second Penn State defending champion capitalized on offense, going up 7-2 in the second period. The intensity never wavered as Lee continued to add up a takedown and riding time, leading to his second national championship with a 10-3 decision.
Sophomore No. 1 Carter Starocci was next up to defend his title against Virginia Tech’s No. 2 Mekhi Lewis. Following a quiet first period, Starocci earned the escape to go up 1-0 before Virginia Tech challenged a Lewis takedown. The call was confirmed, but Starocci fired back with another escape to trail 3-2 before things ended in regulation tied 4-4. The first sudden victory period saw no winner, while the second and third got escapes from both sides. Starocci secured the victory at the conclusion of the third from his 15 seconds of riding time to defend his title. His win marked Penn State’s 30th individual title since 2011.
In a Big Ten finals rematch, No. 2 Aaron Brooks once again met No. 1 Myles Amine of Michigan on the mat. Brooks started strong from the beginning as he had a takedown within the first minute of the match. These were the only points awarded through two periods, but Brooks racked up his riding time to over two minutes. Brooks continued to stay dominant as he got another takedown at the beginning of the third. The junior was able to hold on after a late Amine takedown and secure the 5-3 win. The victory marked yet another consecutive national championship for the Nittany Lions.
For the final bout of the season, No. 1 Max Dean wrestled No. 6 Jacob Warner from Iowa. No score was made in the first period, but Warner was able to strike first in the second with an escape. Dean evened the bout with an escape in the third and a takedown shortly after. With only a few seconds left, Dean allowed the escape of Warner to run out the clock and claim a national championship of his own.
All in all, Penn State’s five finalists captured five titles. The Nittany Lions’ five individual title-winners tied an NCAA record.
Penn State’s dominant season has come to a close. The Nittany Lions will head home from Detroit with a team title, five individual champions, and a lot to be proud of. Thanks for following along this season!
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Andrea Dowhower will take Sims’ place on an interim basis while the university conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.