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A Look Back At Penn State Wrestling’s Roman Bravo-Young’s Career

Perhaps one of the most dominant wrestlers ever at 133 pounds, Roman Bravo-Young is the newest legend among Penn State wrestling alumni.

Bravo-Young recently finished his career with a 101-10 record, two national championships, and three Big Ten titles. He was also a Hodge Trophy finalist in 2022.

Before he ever even set foot in Happy Valley, Bravo-Young went 182-0 at Sunnyside High School in Tucson, Arizona, and won four straight state titles. He also became one of three wrestlers to ever win the Arizona State Championship Outstanding Wrestler honor in all four years of high school.

Within his first year at Penn State, Bravo-Young earned the starting spot and a 25-7 record. The then-true freshman did take some time off due to an injury to his right leg, but he was quick to make his way back and became an All-American, taking eighth place at the NCAA Championships.

The Nittany Lion began his COVID-addled sophomore season going 12-1 in dual meets before moving on to the Big Ten Championship, where he defeated No. 8 Sammy Alvarez of Rutgers and No. 2 Austin DeSanto of Iowa to advance to the championship bout.

Though he lost in the 2020 finals bout to No. 10 Sebastian Rivera, it was Bravo-Young’s only loss for the next three years.

When the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bravo-Young earned first-team All-American honors.

The dominance truly began for Bravo-Young during his junior season when he compiled a perfect 14-0 record. He was also awarded the Big Ten title, became the Penn State Male Athlete of the Year, and notched first-team All-Big Ten honors.

His junior year also marked the beginning of a rivalry between Bravo-Young and Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, who the Nittany Lion would later defeat en route to his first NCAA title.

In what many believed would be the wrestler’s last collegiate season, Bravo-Young stunned the crowd at 133 pounds once again during his senior year with another undefeated season — this time going 22-0 with four major decisions, four technical falls, and four pins.

During the 2022 NCAA tournament, Bravo-Young found himself in the finals against Fix for the second consecutive year. But, Bravo-Young came out on top with a 3-2 win, defeating Fix for the his second title and becoming one of five Nittany Lions to stand at the top of the podium.

The senior didn’t disclose his exact plans after the season, but in May 2022, Bravo-Young made the decision to return to Happy Valley one more time.

His final season at Penn State resulted in a 20-1 record, with perhaps his most notable wins coming from Michigan’s Dylan Ragusin and former Penn State wrestler Brody Teske.

Unfortunately for Bravo-Young, he was defeated by Cornell’s Vito Arujau 10-4 in the championship bout, landing Bravo-Young in second place to finish off the season.

Before that, though, Bravo-Young passed the threshold for 50 consecutive wins and briefly held the longest winning streak in collegiate wrestling following Iowa’s Spencer Lee’s shocking loss.

Bravo-Young will forever be known for his long list of accomplishments in Happy Valley, and although his exact plans are not set, the accomplished athlete shouldn’t have a problem competing wherever he goes next.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a sophomore 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 at the Linc. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected]

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