No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Downs No. 14 Rutgers 35-3, Tallies 1,000th Program Win
No. 1 Penn State wrestling (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) took down No. 14 Rutgers (10-5, 3-4 Big Ten) on Monday in the Bryce Jordan Center. Dawning throwback black and pink singlets, the Nittany Lions’ victory marked 1,000 wins in the program’s rich history just one dual after head coach Cael Sanderson won the 200th dual of his illustrious career.
Highlighting the dual were pins from Levi Haines and Aaron Brooks, a technical fall from Mitchell Mesenbrink, and upset victories from Terrell Barraclough and Lucas Cochran.
How It Happened
Kicking off the dual at 125 pounds was No. 2 Braeden Davis taking on No. 19 Dean Peterson. Both wrestlers stuck to their feet in the first period and held onto a 0-0 score heading into the second period. An escape from Peterson to start the second period was the only point scored in the middle two minutes, and Davis started in the bottom position as the third period began.
A quick escape from Davis leveled the score at 1-1 with nearly the entire third period remaining, however, no more points were scored and the match moved into sudden victory. In the first sudden victory period, Davis wasted no time continuing his offensive pressure and finished off the match’s first takedown, giving the true freshman a 4-1 decision victory.
Next to the mat were No. 6 Aaron Nagao and No. 10 Dylan Shawver. After falling victim early to the match-opening takedown, Nagao bounced back with a flurry of offense of his own, securing a takedown and nearly a minute of riding time as the bout entered the second period with a score of 4-3 favoring the Nittany Lion.
A last-second takedown attempt from Nagao was interrupted by the buzzer, keeping the score the same after two periods. Two escapes from Nagao in the third period kept the Nittany Lion in the bout after a takedown from Shawver, locking up the score at 6-6 after regulation. Opposite of the previous match, Shawver secured the winning takedown seconds into sudden victory. Nagao dropped the 9-6 decision.
The dual score was tied 3-3 after the first two matches.
Walking out after a short break was No. 1 Beau Bartlett battling against Max Hermes. After the wrestlers took the first period to figure each other out, the score remained 0-0 heading into the second period. Similar to the period before, an escape from Bartlett was the only point scored as neither wrestler could land a serious offensive move. Hermes evened the score at 1-1 with an escape of his own to start the third period, and with just five seconds remaining in the period, Bartlett made the turn for the match’s first takedown to secure the 4-1 decision victory.
At 149 pounds, No. 10 Tyler Kasak took on No. 26 Michael Cetta. Two dominant takedowns from Kasak paired with over 60 seconds of riding time gifted the freshman a 6-2 lead heading into the middle period. A quick spinning reversal from Cetta cut into Kasak’s lead moving into the third period with the score reading 6-4. Kasak then escaped out of bottom position to start the third period and, despite giving away a stalling point, displayed impeccable takedown defense to keep any additional points off the board. The true freshman found himself back in the win column with a 7-5 decision victory.
After a short break, No. 1 Haines walked out to wrestle against Dylan Weaver. Haines made short work of the Rutgers wrestler, securing a takedown and moving into a cradle position to take the win by fall at 1:31.
The dual score read 15-3 in favor of Penn State heading into intermission.
Wrestling first after the intermission was No. 7 Mesenbrink and Anthony White. A pair of takedowns from Mesenbrink in the first period created a 6-1 lead for the Nittany Lion with over 120 seconds of riding time after the first three minutes. A final trio of takedowns and a set of back points granted the freshman an 18-3 tech fall at 6:52.
In action next were Barraclough and No. 13 Jackson Turley. Turley secured the bout’s first takedown and held a 3-1 lead heading into the middle two minutes. A reversal out of bottom position from Barraclough evened the score at 3-3 with a minute left to wrestle in the second period. A complete third-period rideout from Barraclough secured a 4-3 decision victory after riding time.
The dual score read 23-3, mathematically giving the Nittany Lions the dual win with three bouts to go.
Taking to the mat next was No. 6 Bernie Truax staring down Shane Cartagena-Walsh. An emphatic trip from Truax opened up the scoring for the graduate transfer, taking a 4-0 lead into the second period. An escape and a stalling point given to Truax extended his lead to 6-0 as the final two minutes were underway. Strong takedown defense in the third period allowed Truax to hang on for the 7-0 decision.
Wrestling at 197 pounds was No. 1 Brooks and Michael Toranzo. After a quick headgear change from Brooks, the three-time national champion finished off Toranzo with a first-period fall at 1:45
Finishing off the dual at heavyweight was Lucas Cochran battling against No. 8 Yara Slavikouski. Cochran grabbed the bout’s opening takedown with just inches to spare on the outside of the mat, taking a 3-1 lead into the second period. Despite missing out on a second takedown opportunity, an escape from Cochran to start the second extended his lead to 4-1 entering the final two minutes. A second takedown from Cochran in the third period secured the 7-1 decision over a top-10-ranked opponent.
The final score of the dual was 35-3 in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State will be in action next when it takes on No. 5 Nebraska on Sunday, February 18, in Rec Hall. The dual will begin at 4 p.m. and be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
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“I believe we can do it. I believe we have the depth. Thirteen women in there got to believe it.”
“I’m really glad I did it, and I’m really glad I listened to my sister for once.”
Hicks has scored double-digit points in the past seven games.