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No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Defeats No. 13 Wisconsin 28-11 In Big Ten Opener

No. 1 Penn State wrestling (8-0) took down No. 13 Wisconsin (6-2) 28-11 Friday night in Madison.

The Nittany Lions struggled early, splitting the first six matches 3-3. However, as the dual entered the stronger half of the Penn State roster, the Nittany Lions went 4-0 in the final matches of the dual, three of which ended in bonus point victories. However, as the contest was far from perfect, Penn State continues to succeed when it matters.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions’ 125-pound Gary Steen took on Eric Barnett to open the conference dual. A quick takedown from Barnett gave him early control of the match against a struggling Steen. Barnett reinforced his dominance by securing a two-second and a four-second near fall, taking an 8-0 headed into the second period.

Barnett would then collect another four-second near fall and an additional takedown to take a 14-0 lead into the final period. Not long after that, Barnett secured a technical fall at the beginning of the third period, which gifted the Badgers with an early 5-0 overall lead.

Roman Bravo-Young was next to the mat and faced Wisconsin’s Taylor Lamont. A Bravo-Young takedown highlighted a period full of stand-up action as he lead 2-1 going into the second period. After opting for the bottom position, Bravo-Young escaped with not much trouble. Two more Bravo-Young takedowns followed the escape as he took a 7-2 lead heading into the final period. Three additional takedowns in the third period gave Bravo-Young a 14-5 major decision, cutting into the Badgers lead 5-4.

Then, 141-pound-Beau Bartlett challenged Felix Lettini. Bartlett showcased his speed with two takedowns to start the first period, and took a quick 4-1 lead. After an escape from Lettini to start the second period, Bartlett secured two more takedowns to increase his lead to 8-3. Bartlett started the third period from the bottom position and earned a brisk escape point. Another Bartlett takedown, paired with riding time, gave him the 12-3 major decision.

The Nittany Lions led the dual 8-5 after three matches.

Later, at 149 pounds was Shayne Van Ness squaring off against Austin Gomez. Despite some good takedown defense early, Van Ness fell to a Gomez takedown in the middle of the first period, who ultimately took a 2-0 lead into the second period. After, Gomez easily escaped from the bottom position and extended his lead to 3-0. Despite a Van Ness takedown in the final seconds, Gomez took the match 5-2, which tied the dual at eight all.

Next at 157 pounds, Levi Haines took on Garrett Model. The Nittany Lion freshman started off the match with a strong takedown, facing arguably his toughest opponent to date. An additional takedown paired with a four-second near fall gave Haines the 8-2 lead headed into the second period. An escape from Model to start the period was quickly combated with another double leg from Haines. Haines then secured his fourth takedown of the match as he now led 12-4 heading into the final period. Another Model takedown attempt was just too late as Haines secured his fifth takedown, and took the match 16-6.

The Nittany Lions led the dual 12-8 as they headed into the intermission.

The action started back up at 165 pounds with Matt Lee against Dean Hamiti. An early takedown from Lee was followed up by a response takedown from Hamiti, taking a 3-2 lead into the second. After some pushback, Lee managed to escape from the bottom position, only to be taken down once again for a four-second near fall. Hamiti led 9-3 heading into the final period and an incredibly dominant third period for Hamiti gave him the 18-6 win, tying the dual at 12.

Carter Starocci took the mat next in a 174-pound battle against Josh Otto. Three dominant takedowns from Starocci gave him a 6-1 lead after the opening period. Another handful of Starocci takedowns looked too easy as he cruised his way to a 22-8 major decision in the final two periods.

The Nittany Lions reclaimed the lead at 16-12 headed into the final three matches of the night.

Then at 184 pounds, Aaron Brooks challenged Tyler Dow. Brooks was in complete control for the entirety of the first period, and secured a takedown paired with a four-second near fall as he led the match 6-0 after one period. A pair of four-second near falls gave Brooks a most dominant win, extending the Nittany Lion lead to 21-12

Max Dean squared off against Braxton Amos in the 197-pound category in the closing matches of the night. A strong takedown from Dean was followed by an escape from Amos, which granted Dean the 2-1 lead headed into the second period. History then repeated itself as the only points scored in the second period were a takedown from Dean and an escape from Amos, but Dean still in maintained the lead 4-2. A two-second and a four-second near fall gave Dean the ultimate 11-2 win.

The Nittany Lions now led the dual 25-12 heading into the final match.

Finally, at heavyweight, Greg Kerkvliet faced off against Trent Hillger to close the dual. Two takedowns from Kerkvliet were the story of the first period as he took a 4-2 lead headed into the second period. An escape from Kerkvliet was the only point scored in the second period, and the score read 5-2. Kerkvliet held top control for the rest of the match and battled to overcome Hillger 5-2.

The Nittany Lions won the dual 28-11 after a point was deducted from Wisconsin.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will continue their Big Ten dominance with a matchup against Michigan. The dual will take place at 7 p.m. on January 20, at the Bryce Jordan Center. The dual marks the first match of the season in the much larger and louder Bryce Jordan Center.

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About the Author

Brendan Wagner

Brendan is a sophomore majoring in print and media journalism. Born in Pittsburgh, he now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan, you can find him on Twitter, @brchwags, often complaining about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady.

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