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Penn State Wrestling Continues Dominance In NCAA Session II Sweep

Penn State wrestling had a successful second session at the NCAA Championships, as all 10 wrestlers competing on Thursday night advanced to the next round of the brackets, including eight wrestlers in championship bouts and two wrestlers in consolation brackets.

How It Happened

Championship Bracket

125 Pounds

Trying to keep his hot streak alive, No. 1 Braeden Davis kicked off the action for the Nittany Lions in Session II when he took on No. 17 Brett Ungar of Cornell. After neither wrestling scored in the first period, Davis drew first blood with an escape to start the second, taking a 1-0 lead into the final two minutes. After riding out almost the entire third period in top position, Davis took the 2-1 decision victory on riding time to advance into the quarterfinals.

141 Pounds

In his second match of the day, No. 2 Beau Bartlett walked to the mat to face off against No. 12 Mitch Moore of Rutgers. After no points were scored in the first, Bartlett began the second period in bottom position, quickly escaping to take a 1-0 lead, which carried over into the final period. Bartlett shot for a late single-leg takedown, shifting into a cradle position for the quick pin over Moore at 5:49 to advance into the quarterfinals.

157 Pounds

In action next was No. 1 Levi Haines wrestling against No. 16 Teague Travis of Oklahoma State. A takedown from Haines were the only points scored in the first period as the action rolled into the middle period. A trio of takedowns from Haines in the second period increased his lead to 13-2 entering the final two minutes. A final pair of takedowns from Haines in the third gave the Nittany Lion a 19-4 tech fall at 6:41, sending him into the quarterfinals.

165 Pounds

Also trying to stay undefeated, No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink took on No. 15 Brevin Cassella of Binghamton. Two takedowns from Mesenbrink in the first put the blue and white wrestler out in front 6-1 after the first three minutes of action. A reversal and additional takedown from Mesenbrink in the second extended his lead to 11-3 heading into the third. Despite Cassella maintaining top control for the entire third period, no points were scored, allowing Mesenbrink to hold on for the 11-3 major decision.

174 Pounds

No. 9 Carter Starocci squared off against No. 8 Adam Kemp of Cal Poly. Once again, after falling victim to the opening takedown of the match, Starocci escaped and scored a takedown of his own to retake the lead at 4-3 after the first period. An escape from Starocci was the only point scored in the second, extending his lead to 5-3 heading into the final two minutes. Great takedown defense from Starocci prevented any more points from being scored, sending him into the quarterfinals after a 5-3 decision victory.

186 Pounds

In action next was No. 6 Bernie Truax taking on No. 11 Colton Hawks of Missouri. No points were scored in the first period as both wrestlers attempted to figure each other out. An early escape from Hawks was thwarted by a takedown from Truax, taking a narrow 3-2 lead into the final period. After escaping from bottom position early into the third period, Truax displayed impressive takedown defense to hang on to a 4-2 decision victory.

197 Pounds

Looking for his fourth national title, No. 1 Aaron Brooks stepped up against No. 17 Joseph Novak of Wyoming. A takedown and a pair of back points from Brooks were just the beginning as Brooks continued to roll Novak onto his back for the pin at 2:20, sending him into the quarter-finals.

Heavyweight

In the final match of session two, No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet took on No. 17 Grady Griess of Navy. An early double-leg from Kerkvliet opened up the scoring at 3-0, earning another point after two stall calls against Griess. A second double-leg takedown and a complete ride out from Kerkvliet extended his lead to 8-0 with over four minutes of riding time heading into the final period. An escape from Griess was the only point scored in the final period, giving Kerkvliet the 9-1 major decision after riding time.

Consolation Bracket

133 Pounds

In Penn State’s first consolation match of the session, No. 10 Aaron Nagao battled against No. 26 Kade Moore of Missouri. Two takedowns in the first from Nagao paired with two back points created an early 8-1 for the Nittany Lion after the first three minutes of action. An additional takedown and two more sets of back points gave Nagao the 16-1 tech fall at 5:00.

149 Pounds

In the second consolation match of the night, No. 9 Tyler Kasak took on No. 23 Drew Roberts of Minnesota. After two minutes of little action, Kasak secured the match’s first takedown paired with a handful of back points to take a 10-0 lead into the second period. An escape from Roberts was the only point scored in the second, slightly cutting into Kasak’s lead. Despite giving up a late takedown, Kasak was able to hold on for the 14-5 major decision victory.

Both Nagao and Kasak will continue to wrestle in the consolation match on Friday.

What’s Next?

The Penn State wrestling team will be in action next for session three at noon on Friday, March 22. All matches will be streamed on ESPN+.

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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 probably Russell Wilson.

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