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No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Overwhelms No. 20 Michigan State 34-6

No. 1 Penn State wrestling (10-0, 3-0 Big Ten) returned to Rec Hall Sunday afternoon, taking on No. 20 Michigan State (7-4, 0-4 Big Ten) en route to a 34-6 victory. The Nittany Lions entered the match with a win against No. 3 Michigan in their back pocket, as the Spartans came into the outing on a three-match skid, all against Big Ten opponents.

The Nittany Lions took care of the Spartans handily, winning eight of the 10 total matches. Penn State had four bonus point wins in two tech falls from Greg Kerkvliet and Carter Starocci, including two pins from Roman Bravo-Young and Shayne Van Ness respectively.

How It Happened

To start off the dual at 125 pounds, Gary Steen took the mat to face off against No. 24 Tristan Lujan. Despite some close takedown attempts from Steen, Lujan displayed great defense and kept the match tied at 0-0 after one. A similar second period full of defense ended 1-0 in favor of Lujan after an early escape. An escape from Steen with 60 seconds to go tied the match up 1-1, however, no further action would bring the match into sudden victory. A hard-fought takedown from Steen in overtime gave him the 3-1 victory, marking his first win of the year and in the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions took a 3-0 lead after the first match.

Next up at 133 pounds, No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young taking on Rayvon Foley. Bravo-Young shot for two takedowns and over 120 seconds of riding time as he took a 4-1 lead heading into the second period. Then, Bravo-Young secured another pair of takedowns to extend his lead to 8-2 heading into the third. The top-ranked lightweight was able to follow up another two takedowns with a pin to win the match with 34 seconds left on the clock, increasing the Penn State lead to 9-0.

The win marked No. 45 in a row for the two-time national champion.

At 141 pounds, No. 4 Beau Bartlett battled Jordan Hamdan. Another defensive-focused period saw no blood as the 0-0 starting score carried over into the second period. Bartlett was able to break the stalemate with an escape followed up by a takedown to give himself a 3-0 lead heading into the final period. Bartlett secure a go-ahead takedown to win the match 7-1, keeping the Nittany Lions in front 12-0.

Next to take the mat at 149 pounds was No. 14 Shayne Van Ness matched up against Braden Stauffenberg. Two takedowns from Van Ness gave him the 4-1 advantage heading into the second period. Another takedown and ride out for Van Ness gave him the 6-2 lead with nearly 2:30 seconds of riding time. Van Ness secured a pin at the 1:16 second mark in the third to win the match.

The Nittany Lions were now leading 18-0.

At 157 pounds, Terrell Barraclough faced off against No. 15 Chase Saldate. A swift Barraclough takedown gave him the 2-1 lead after the first period. However, Barraclough found himself unable to escape from the bottom position, granting Saldate 1:46 of riding time while the score remained 2-1. After an escape early in the period, Saldate grabbed the winning takedown as the buzzer sounded, winning the match 6-2.

The Nittany Lions’ lead was cut to 18-3 as the dual headed into intermission.

After the break at 165 pounds, No. 16 Alex Facundo shared the mat with No. 25 Caleb Fish. A full period of standup grappling saw no points as the match headed into the second period. An escape from Facundo was the only action in a lackluster match thus far as he took a 1-0 lead heading into the final period. An escape from fish tied up the match 1-1 after regular time, moving the battle into sudden victory for the second time of the dual.

Facundo fought for a tough takedown with 45 seconds remaining in sudden victory to secure a 3-1 win and extend the Penn State lead to 21-3.

Taking the mat next at 174 pounds was No. 1 Carter Starocci against Ceasar Garza. Starocci quickly obtained three physical takedowns to take a 6-2 lead heading into the second period. Starocci tallied on another takedown and two stalling points as he extended his lead to 11-2 after two. Another flurry of takedowns in the third gave Starocci the 19-4 tech fall, adding to the dual lead with a score of 26-3.

At 184 pounds, Donovan Ball stared down Layne Malczewski. A sprawling takedown from Malczewski gave him the 2-0 lead heading into the final period of action. After tripping Ball for his second takedown of the match, Malczewski won the match with a score of 6-0.

The Nittany Lions continued to lead the dual 26-6 heading into the final two matches.

At 197 pounds, No. 4 Max Dean took on No. 14 Cameron Caffey. A close takedown attempt from Dean never came to fruition as the match was locked 0-0 after one. Dean finally secured his first takedown late into the second to give him a 3-0 lead heading into the final period. Dean remained in control of the top position for the entirety of the third period, giving him the 4-0 win with 1:46 riding time.

The dual score reflected 29-6 as the final two wrestlers walked up to the mat.

To wrap up the contest with the heavyweight bout, No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet battled Ryan Vasbinder. Kerkvliet quickly took control of the match holding a 10-2 lead after the first period. Then, Kerkvliet grabbed another handful of takedowns to win the match by tech fall with a final score of 19-4.

The Nittany Lions won the dual with a final score of 34-6.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions are back in action Friday, January 27 when they take on Iowa in the Bryce Jordan Center. The match will begin at 8:30 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.

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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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