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No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Crowns Six All-Americans In Strong NCAA Championship Session III Showcase

The NCAA Championships were back underway on Friday afternoon as No. 1 Penn State wrestling aimed to extend its team score lead over the competition in Session III.

After a flawless performance in Session II in which all 10 Nittany Lions won their respective bouts, six quarterfinal victories came along with All-American distinction.

Penn State leads the way after Session III with 84.5 total team points. Michigan follows the blue and white with 50.5 points.

How It Happened

Championship Bracket

125 Pounds

Starting the action for Penn State in Session III was No. 1 Braeden Davis taking on No. 8 Richard Figueroa of Arizona State. A good scrambling effort from both wrestlers failed to end with either in a dominant position, and the score remained 0-0 after one period. An escape from Davis to start the second period was the only point scored, as the Nittany Lion took a 1-0 lead heading into the final period. A reversal out of bottom position from Figueroa combined with a riding time point was enough to take the narrow 3-2 upset decision victory over Davis, sending him down into the consolation bracket.

141 Pounds

In the next quarterfinal match of the session, No. 2 Beau Bartlett battled against No. 26 Vance VomBaur of Minnesota. After no points were scored in the first period, Bartlett earned the first point of the match with an escape midway through the second period. An escape from VomBaur tied the score early in the third period, only to be quickly taken down by Bartlett. In a similar fashion to his previous bout, a second single-leg take-down from Bartlett transformed into a cradle and a fall at 6:48. Bartlett advanced into the semifinals with All-American status.

157 Pounds

Searching to become a two-time All-American, No. 1 Levi Haines took on No. 8 Peyton Robb of Nebraska. A takedown and three back points from Haines in the first period gave the Nittany Lion a 6-0 lead heading into the middle period. An escape from Haines was the only point scored in the second period, extending his lead to 7-0 entering the third period of action. A complete ride out from Haines in the third period locked up the 8-0 major decision after riding time, a spot in the semifinals, and All-American distinction.

165 Pounds

Hoping to earn his first All-American honors, No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink took to the mat against No. 10 Cameron Amine of Michigan. Continuous pressure from Mesenbrink led to one stall point against Amine, however, no other scoring moves occurred in the first period. After Amine escaped from bottom position, Mesenbrink answered with the match’s first takedown to retake the lead at 4-1 heading into the third period. An escape and another stalling call against Amine gave Mesenbrink the 6-1 decision victory and a spot in the semifinals.

174 Pounds

In one of the most anticipated bouts of the weekend, No. 9 Carter Starocci took on Virginia Tech’s No. 1 Mekhi Lewis. After a decent scramble, Starocci grabbed the match’s first takedown and just under 60 seconds of riding time to secure a 3-0 lead after the opening period. An escape from Starocci to start the middle period was the only point scored, extending his lead to 4-0 which until the end of the match, making Starocci a four-time All-American.

184 Pounds

Looking to win his first All-American glory as a Nittany Lion, No. 6 Bernie Truax took on No. 3 Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State. After a match-opening takedown from Truax, Plott fought back with a takedown of his own, and after an escape from an injury reset, Plott led 5-3 heading into the second period. Another escape and takedown from Plott increased his least to 9-4 heading into the final period. Another handful of takedowns for Plott in the third period gave him the 16-6 major decision over Truax, dropping him into consolation action.

197 Pounds

In action next was four-time All-American No. 1 Aaron Brooks batting against No. 8 Stephen Buchanan of Oklahoma. Two quick takedowns from Brooks were capped off by yet another pin at 2:44, giving Brooks his fifth All-American honor.

Heavyweight

To finish off the afternoon session, No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet squared off against No. 9 Nick Feldman of Ohio State. After no points were scored in the first period, Kerkvliet broke the stalemate with an escape to take a slim 1-0 lead rolling into the third period. Strong takedown defense from Kerkvliet kept the score in favor of the Nittany Lion, earning him a 1-0 decision victory and his fourth All-American distinction.

Consolation Bracket

133 Pounds

In the first consolation match of the day, No. 10 Aaron Nagao took on No. 24 Julian Chlebove of Arizona State. The first point of the match didn’t occur until late in the second period when Chlebove eventually earned an escape out of bottom position. An escape from Nagao to start the third period leveled the score at 1-1 just before he landed the match’s first takedown late into the period to secure the 5-1 decision victory after riding time.

149 Pounds

In the final consolation match of the session, No. 7 Tyler Kasak challenged No. 9 Ethan Fernandez of Cornell. A lightning-fast takedown from Kasak developed into the second pin of the day for the Nittany Lions, this time at 0:36, keeping him alive in the consolation bracket.

What’s Next?

Penn State will be in action next later today in Session IV, beginning at 7 p.m. and streaming 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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