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No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Beats No. 3 Nebraska 22-13 In Final Big Ten Bout Of Regular Season

Top-ranked Penn State wrestling (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) took down No. 3 Nebraska (11-2, 6-2 Big 10) on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out Rec Hall crowd. As its historic season continues, Penn State ended its Big Ten regular season unscathed and undefeated, posting an 8-0 conference record.

The match was highlighted by two top-10 victories by No. 1 Beau Bartlett and No. 1 Levi Haines. Bartlett defeated No. 6 Brock Hardy while Haines defeated No. 8 Peyton Robb.

How It Happened

125 Pounds

Up first, No. 6 Braeden Davis of Penn State took on No. 10 ranked Caleb Smith of Nebraska. The two wrestlers stuck to their feet for the entirety of the first period with plenty of shots taken. The Cornhusker started from the bottom position to start the second. Smith eventually escaped after Davis racked up over a minute in riding time. Smith led by a single point at the conclusion of the second period. Davis escaped somewhat quickly, tying the match at one. Smith gets a takedown and secures near fall points to boot. Smith secured another takedown to ice the match and win 11-3 over Davis.

Nebraska led Penn State 4-0.

133 Pounds

Up next, Baylor Shunk took on No. 15 Jacob Van Dee. The Cornhusker was first on the board with a takedown, letting Shunk escape quickly after. Van Dee secured his second takedown and led the match 6-2 after a second escape by Shunk after the first period. Van Dee took the bottom position to start the second. Shunk did a number on Van Dee, erasing all of the Cornhusker’s riding time without letting up an escape. Shunk took the bottom position to start the third period, and Van Dee held Shunk down for the entirety of the third period and secured the second straight win for the Cornhuskers. Van Dee won 6-2.

Nebraska extended its lead to 7-0.

141 Pounds

The next bout showcased the match’s second top-10 matchup with No. 1 Beau Bartlett taking on No. 6 Brock Hardy. Bartlett struck instantly, hitting a single-leg shot and dropping Hardy for three points. Hardy escaped after 20 seconds of riding time and earned himself a point. The first period ended with Bartlett on top 3-1. The Nittany Lion took the bottom position to start the second and instantly escaped to add to his lead. Bartlett stuffed Hardy’s shot and countered with a takedown of his own. Hardy escaped before the end of the second period, cutting the lead down to 7-2 heading into the third. Hardy escaped from the bottom position quickly to start the period. Bartlett was dropped with a double-leg takedown and quickly got back to his feet. After a potentially dangerous stoppage, Bartlett led 8-6 with less than 30 seconds remaining. The match resumed but did not produce another score. Bartlett secured the Nittany Lions a victory with an 8-6 decision.

Nebraska led Penn State 7-3.

149 Pounds

In the next match, No. 7 Tyler Kasak took on the undefeated Ridge Lovett of Nebraska. Kasak struck first with a three-point takedown that was quickly reversed by Lovett for two points of his own. The Nittany Lion led 3-2 heading into the second period. Lovett chose the bottom position to start. Lovett escapes to tie the match at three a piece. The score doesn’t change before the end of the period. Kasak chose neutral to start the third. The two wrestlers remained on their feet for the majority of the third period with Kasak being the main aggressor. Lovett hit a takedown with less than three seconds remaining, and head coach Cael Sanderson threw the challenge brick but failed to reverse the call. Lovett remained undefeated as he won 6-3 over Kasak.

Nebraska led 10-3 after four bouts.

157 Pounds

Up next, top-ranked Levi Haines took on No. 8 Peyton Robb in a Big Ten final rematch. The two wrestlers failed to score any points in the first period. Robb escapes from the bottom position to take a one-point lead in the second. After neutral position was maintained the entire period, Haines hit a three-point takedown to end the second period. Nebraska challenged the call of a takedown as time expired. The call was unsuccessful, making the lead 3-1. Haines escaped easily to start the third period to extend his lead. The Nittany Lion hits his second takedown of the match before letting the Cornhusker up. Haines hit yet another takedown to put the match on ice. Robb escaped to cut the lead down to seven, but Haines emerged victorious 10-3.

Nebraska led 10-6 heading into the intermission.

165 Pounds

No. 6 Mitchell Mesenbrink opened up the second-half action in his match against No. 11 Antrell Taylor. Mesenbrink was taken down early, making it 3-0 in favor of Taylor. Mesenbrink escaped, getting him on the scoreboard. The score at the end of the first remained 3-1 in favor of Taylor. Mesenbrink escaped from the bottom position to score his second point and hit a thunderous takedown, taking the lead 5-3. Taylor escaped to make it 5-4 before the end of the second. Taylor chose the bottom position and escaped, tying the match 5-5. Mesenbrink answered right back to secure his second takedown of the match. Mesenbrink won 9-5, securing the third decision victory for the Nittany Lions.

Nebraska hung on to a 10-9 advantage.

174 Pounds

No. 1 Carter Starocci took on No. 30 Bubba Wilson in the next matchup. Starocci got on the board first with a three-point takedown midway through the first. He let up Wilson, giving him a 3-1 advantage. Starocci hit his second takedown before riding his opponent into the second period to lead 6-1. Wilson took the bottom position to start, where he escaped quickly. Starocci forced Wilson to the ground where he hit his third takedown. Starocci lets his opponent up again before attacking for a fourth time. Wilson got hit with stalling to add a point making Starocci’s lead 13-3 heading into the third. Starocci escaped quickly and continued to attack, hitting his fifth takedown before letting Wilson up again. Starocci hits his sixth takedown to win 20-4 and secure the tech fall victory.

Penn State overtook Nebraska and led 14-10.

184 Pounds

Up next, No. 10 Bernie Truax took on No. 3 Lenny Pinto in yet another top-10 matchup. Truax was taken down early, giving Pinto the 3-0 advantage. Truax escaped, narrowing his deficit to two. Pinto hit his second takedown to increase his lead. The score remains 6-2 heading into the second period. Truax escaped from the bottom position early in the period, but Pinto leads 6-3 after two. Truax let him up to get back to the neutral position and hit a massive takedown to come within one. Truax let his opponent up once more to make the score 8-6. The Cornhusker narrowly escaped a takedown attempt to win 8-6.

Penn State led 14-13 heading into the next match.

197 Pounds

No. 1 Aaron Brooks faced No. 13 Silas Allred in the next match. Brooks opened with a three-point takedown. He then let Allred up, giving him a point. Brooks hit another takedown to increase his lead to 6-1. Brooks controlled his opponent to rack up close to two minutes in riding time as the first period comes to a close. Allred chose the bottom position to start the second period. Brooks let him up quickly before hitting another three-point takedown. The Nittany Lion once again controlled the top position, posting over three minutes of riding time. He led 9-2 heading into the third period. Starting from the neutral position, Brooks hit his fourth takedown to take a commanding 12-2 lead. He let Allred up and forced the Cornhusker to get docked for stalling. Brooks hit his fifth takedown and let Allred up again. Brooks won the match 17-4.

Penn State extended its lead to 17-13 going into the final bout.

Heavyweight

Top-ranked Greg Kervliet faced dual-sport athlete Nash Hutmacher in the final match. Kerkvliet struck first with a takedown midway through the first. Kerkvliet controlled Hutmacher for the remainder of the period, surpassing the 1:30 riding-time mark. From the restart, Kerkvliet hit a reversal to increase his lead to 5-0. Hutmacher got hit with stalling, adding a point to Kerkvliet’s lead. Heading into the third period, Kerkvliet leads 6-0 with well over three minutes of riding time. Hutmacher was hit with stalling again as he struggled to get out from underneath the Nittany Lion. Kerkvliet won the match 10-0 and iced the win for Penn State.

No. 1 Penn State won the match 22-13 in a competitive set of bouts with No. 3 Nebraska.

What’s Next?

Penn State will return to Rec Hall for the final time this season as it takes on the Fighting Scots of Edinboro on Sunday, February 25. The dual will begin at 2 p.m. and be broadcast on BTN+.

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About the Author

Cooper Cazares

Cooper is a sophomore majoring in digital and print journalism from Virginia Beach, Va. He can be found with a long face on most Sunday afternoons for he is unfortunately a lifelong Washington Commanders fan. When he isn't watching sports, Cooper is usually tearing up at "Rudy" or taking a well deserved nap. To reach him, follow him on instagram (@cooper_cax) or on twitter (@CooperCazares). You can also email him at [email protected].

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