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Penn State Wrestling’s Roman Bravo-Young & Max Dean Closing Out Collegiate Careers At NCAA Championships

For Penn State wrestling’s two veteran wrestlers, Roman Bravo-Young and Max Dean, the NCAA Championships will mark their final time hitting the mat for Penn State.

Roman Bravo-Young has had a storied five years as a Nittany Lion, while Max Dean’s two years with the team gave him his first national championship title and a renewed passion for the sport.

Hailing from Arizona and Michigan, respectively, the two have had quite a path to get to where they are today. This is especially the case for Dean, who began his collegiate career in 2017 at Cornell.

Entering their final competition on Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the pair have a long list of accomplishments and accolades that would be beautifully topped off with back-to-back NCAA titles.

Most recently, Bravo-Young took home his third Big Ten individual title, as well as his 50th consecutive win. Dean also hit his 100th career win against Iowa’s Jacob Warner.

The two have both earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week awards this season. Dean’s came this past December following his win over Oregon State’s Tanner Harvey, and Bravo-Young’s came in January after his pin of Brody Teske during the Bryce Jordan Center Dual against Iowa.

Bravo-Young emerged from the bracket selection for the NCAA Tournament as the favorite at No. 1 at 133 pounds, followed by rival No. 2 Daton Fix from Oklahoma State. Bravo-Young defeated Fix in the 2022 NCAA Championship to take the title.

In an interesting turn from the top spot, Dean earned the No. 9 seed. Dean had two tough losses early in the season to Ethan Laird from Rider and Michael Beard from Lehigh but didn’t lose another bout until the Big Ten Championships against Silas Allred from Nebraska.

Dean acts as the defending champion, so it’s a somewhat shocking place for the veteran wrestler. But, head coach Cael Sanderson knows it’s just a part of the process.

“It’s easy to look at the brackets and just scratch your heads, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. You have to go wrestle,” Sanderson said. “You get who you get and you just have to move on.”

As the No. 9 wrestler, Dean’s first opponent is No. 24 Levi Hopkins from Campbell, with a possible second-round matchup being a rematch of the Big Ten Championship final where Dean dropped the bout in a 6-3 decision to Allred.

Bravo-Young and Dean, along with the rest of the Nittany Lions, will start their championship run at noon on Thursday, March 16, for session one out of six of the NCAA Tournament. This session can be streamed on ESPNU.

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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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