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No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Dominates No. 22 Indiana 35-8

No. 1 Penn State wrestling (13-0, 6-0 Big Ten) knocked off Indiana (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten) 35-8 on the road at Wilkinson Hall Sunday afternoon.

After falling victim to a slow start highlighted by an 8-0 deficit, the Nittany Lions tacked on 35 unanswered points en route to earning a commanding win. With the triumph, Penn State has now won 10-straight matchups over the Hoosiers.

Solid performances from Beau Bartlett, Carter Starocci, and Max Dean capped off another dominant victory for Cael Sanderson’s group.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions entered the matchup with a lineup alteration, as sophomore Marco Vespa took the starting spot of Gary Steen to face Jacob Moran. Moran started hot for Indiana with two takedowns in the first two minutes of the bout, leading 4-1 after the first period. The Indiana native continued to dominate Vespa in the second and earned the technical fall win with 12 seconds left in the second period.

At 133 pounds, the Nittany Lions sent out Baylor Shunk against No. 29 Henry Porter. Porter struck first with the takedown, but Shunk answered with an escape, bringing the deficit to a 2-1 mark after the first. Porter tacked on three more points to go up 5-1, but a reversal and two near-fall points for Shunk evened the score at 5-5 heading into the last period.

Both sides were able to score two more points and make it a 7-7 tie at the end of regulation. The sudden victory period started as an even battle, but Shunk suffered a takedown blunder and dropped the bout 9-7.

The Nittany Lions were then down 8-0 to start off the dual.

Nex to the mat was No. 5 Beau Bartlett against Cayden Rooks. Bartlett wasted no time in his bout pinning Rooks just 12 seconds into the first period to walk away with the stress-free win.

After the pin, at 149 pounds, No. 13 Shayne Van Ness saw Graham Rooks. Van Ness took the lead in the first 6-2 and continued to dominate, upping the score 8-4 with 1:27 riding time after two periods. The Nittany Lion continued to dominate in the third frame, earning a number of near-fall points and takedowns to earn the major decision win, 17-5.

The last bout before intermission came at 157 pounds between No. 9 Levi Haines and Derek Gilcher. Haines earned two takedowns in the first period and racked up over a minute of riding time. Haines kept a 5-1 lead in the second, but a challenge for a reversal call then came from Indiana. The call was officially ruled an escape upon further review. The Nittany Lions’ true freshman was able to add another takedown in the last 10 seconds of the bout and earn the 8-2 decision win.

Penn State then extended its lead, grabbing a 13-8 edge.

At 165 pounds, No. 8 Alex Facundo wrestled Robert Major. Facundo started off with a 4-2 lead and added eight points in the second period to go up 12-6. The eighth-ranked wrestler then added a few more takedowns and a riding time bonus point to win 20-9.

In a revenge match from 2021, No. 1 Carter Starocci was next against No. 15 DJ Washington at 174 pounds. In an unusual turn of events for Starocci, Washington was first on the board with a takedown. Starocci then was down 2-1 after the first period, but another escape and a takedown put him up 4-2 after two. The third period showed pure supremacy from Starocci as he scored three takedowns and got the riding time bonus point, and walked away with the 11-3 major decision win.

Another change from the normal lineup saw Donovon Ball wrestle in place of No. 1 Aaron Brooks against Clayton Fielden. Ball earned the first points of the match with a takedown and held a 2-0 lead through the first. He then went up 7-2 after the second period and was able to finish out the bout with a 10-3 win.

At 197 pounds, No. 4 Max Dean battled against Drayton Harris. Much like Bartlett, Dean made quick work of his opponent, earning the pin just 1:29 into the first period. This was also Dean’s second pin of the weekend.

For the last bout of the afternoon, No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet faced No. 28 Jacob Bullock. Kerkvliet came out hot taking an 11-0 lead in the first period with 2:34 of riding time. Kerkvliet then finished out the bout in the second with a 16-0 technical fall win.

With Kerkvliet’s triumph, the Nittany Lions rounded out the matchup with a 35-8 win.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will stay on the road and head to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Rutgers at 7 p.m. Friday, February 10. The matchup will air live on BTN+.

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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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