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Penn State Wrestling Finds Success At Journeymen Collegiate Classic

Penn State wrestling started its season in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at Freedom High School in the Journeymen Collegiate Classic on Sunday. Twenty wrestlers competed throughout the day for the Nittany Lions, each participating in three bouts.

Penn State went 45-15 in the season-opening round-robin, featuring 10 pins. After taking home the 2023 National Championship, it was a strong opening for the Nittany Lions.

How It Happened

No. 20 Robbie Howard (125 pounds)

After facing a series of injuries the past two seasons, Howard took to the mat. The sophomore began the day winning a fall against Purdue’s Ashton Jackson, but his next two bouts took a turn when he lost by major decision 13-1 against Dylan Ryder of Hofstra and lost again 8-5 against Max Gallagher from Penn.

No. 2 Beau Bartlett (141 pounds)

Bartlett also started strong with a pin of Dante Frinzi of Harvard in the first period. He then earned two ranked wins against No. 13 Vince Cornella of Cornell 4-1 in sudden victory and No. 12 Malyke Hines of Lehigh in a major decision victory 15-3.

No. 2 Shayne Van Ness (149 pounds)

In perhaps the most impressive performance of the day, Van Ness earned three straight pins all in the first period. The falls came against Army’s Eddie Hummel, Bloomsburg’s Cade Balestrini, and Lehigh’s Kelvin Griffin.

No. 1 Levi Haines (157 pounds)

Another electric performance came from Haines going 3-0. His day began with a tech fall of Lehigh’s Luca Frinzi 18-0 and continued with a fall of Harvard’s Cael Berg in the second period. He then rounded out with a major decision win against No. 27 Max Brignola of Lehigh.

Mitchell Mesenbrink (165 pounds)

In his Nittany Lion debut, Mesenbrink pulled through with two tech falls and a decision wins. After starting off with a 14-10 win against Arizona State’s Nicco Ruiz, Mesenbrink moved on to defeat Eric Shindel of Hofstra 19-3 and Cooper Noehre of Purdue 20-5.

While Mesenbrink’s plan for the season is unknown, this was a solid outing to make his case for a collegiate season.

No. 1 Carter Starocci (174 pounds)

Reigning NCAA National Champion Starocci started his season nothing short of dominant with a pin and a tech fall. Starocci’s first bout was a medical forfeit from Max Wilner of Arizona State but channeled his energy into the fall of Harvard’s Luke Rada and tech fall of No. 14 Nick Incontrera of Penn.

No. 2 Bernie Truax (184 pounds)

Truax was the next Nittany Lion to go 3-0 with two major decisions and a decision win. First off was No. 33 James Rowley of Purdue 7-4, then back-to-back major decision wins against Cael Valencia of Arizona State 17-4 and James Conway of Franklin & Marshall 13-4.

No. 1 Aaron Brooks (197 pounds)

Brooks added to the fall count with two of his own against Martin Cosgrove of Penn and Jacob Meissner of Arizona State. He also earned a tech fall No. 33 John Crawford from Franklin & Marshall 19-3.

No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet (285 pounds)

Rounding out the potential list of starters, Kerkvliet also finished off his day 3-0. First up was a technical fall win against Purdue’s Tristan Ruhlman 17-5. Next was No. 19 Nathan Taylor of Lehigh who went down 6-1 and No. 8 Owen Trephan of North Carolina State 7-2.

Eleven other Nittany Lions competed. Their records are as follows:

  • Gary Steen (125 pounds): 2-1
  • Braeden Davis (125 pounds): 3-0
  • Baylor Shunk (133 pounds): 0-3
  • Sean Wang (133 pounds): 1-2
  • David Evans (141 pounds): 2-1
  • Connor Pierce(149 pounds): 2-1
  • Matt Lee (165 pounds): 2-1
  • Terrell Barraclough (165 pounds): 3-0
  • Aurelius Dunbar (174 pounds): 1-2
  • Donovon Ball (184 pounds): 1-2
  • Josh Barr (184 pounds): 3-0)

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to West Point, New York, to participate in the Army Black Night Invite on Sunday, November 19. The round-robin will start at 9 a.m. and be streamed through FloWrestling.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a junior 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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