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Penn State Wrestling True Freshmen Braeden Davis & Tyler Kasak Shining Early

Penn State wrestling was once again dominant in its latest dual against Oregon State, winning all but one match on the back of five bonus-point victories. Those watching the dual and competing in it were equally surprised as Penn State true freshmen Braeden Davis and Tyler Kasak took down top-15 ranked opponents in their respective bouts.

Davis, a 125-pounder, is the third Nittany Lion to wrestle at the weight class in collegiate competition so far this year. The Michigan native is 9-0 after last week’s win, and many of his wins came from the Black Knight Invitational. Davis’ recent success in the weight class could potentially end the 125-pound troubles that have fallen on the program in recent years, however, no decision has been made yet regarding Davis’ redshirt status.

Kasak, on the other hand, is wrestling 149 pounds after a recent season-ending injury to All-American wrestler Shayne Van Ness. After finishing in second place in the Army Black Knight Invitational to teammate Beau Bartlett at 141 pounds, Kasak’s move up in weight has proved fruitful for the freshman following a victory against the No. 12-ranked wrestler in his last outing.

Dominant performances by Davis and Kasak haven’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the Penn State wrestling room, as teammates and coaches alike shared their thoughts on the up-and-coming wrestlers.

“We saw Davis get three takedowns, we saw him get a lot of riding time, we saw him look for opportunities to score… those are the things we look at, those are the things we want someone like that to experience,” assistant coach Cody Sanderson said Tuesday. “On the other hand, Kasak needed to go and get the finish, which is also what we like to see… we gave him specific instructions, and he went right out there and followed them and was able to finish right where he needed to be.”

The coaching staff weren’t the only people who spoke highly of Davis and Kasak. All-American sophomore Levi Haines also had nothing but praise for the new freshman duo.

“I think they are both doing a great job, sometimes it can be harder being younger and going out there into that atmosphere, but I think they are doing a great job and just going out there and letting it fly,” Haines said.

Along with Haines, Bartlett delivered even more positive words about his freshman teammates as he talked about the team’s success over the trip to Oregon.

“Those guys are really stepping up. They compete and they wrestle really hard and they know how to get their hand raised,” Bartlett said. “Seeing these guys off the mat, it’s really cool… I think the future is really bright for them.”

Cody Sanderson stated that Kasak and Davis only have two and one more bouts available to wrestle, respectively, before their redshirts would be pulled, and as the Nittany Lions move into a tough conference schedule, the decision has yet to be made.

Penn State wrestling will return to action against Indiana at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 14. The dual will take place in Rec Hall and stream on BTN+.

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About the Author

Brendan Wagner

Brendan is a Junior majoring in print and media journalism. Born in Pittsburgh, he now lives in Mooresville, North Carolina. As a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan, you can find him on Twitter, @brchwags, often complaining about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Matt Canada

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