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Penn State Wrestling Crowns Four National Champions

After clinching the team title on Friday night, four Penn State wrestlers won individual national titles, highlighted by Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks who each became four-time national champions and the first two in the storied program’s history.

The culmination of the 2024 season ended dominantly for the Nittany Lions. The group only built on its lead and broke the all-time team score record with 172.5 points. The record was originally held by Dan Gable’s 1997 Iowa team with 170 points. The feat solidifies this season’s Penn State team as one of the greatest to take the mat.

How It Happened


Up first for the Nittany Lions, No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet took on No. 10 Lucas Davison of Michigan. Kerkvliet struck first with an ankle-pick takedown and gained a three-point lead. Davison escaped quickly to get on the board, though Kerkvliet secured his second takedown and Davison escaped quickly again. The score was 6-2 heading into the second period. Davison started in bottom position and escaped to make the score 6-3. Davison’s shot was stuffed and Kerkvliet answered with a third takedown. Kerkvliet started from bottom position and escaped within 10 seconds. The Nittany Lion tallied his fourth takedown, but Davison escaped again. Kerkvliet won the battle 13-4 in the first matchup of the night, and with the major decision victory, Kerkvliet won his first NCAA title.

141 Pounds

Up next for the Nittany Lions, No. 2 Beau Bartlett aimed to avenge his Big Ten Championship loss to No. 1 Jesse Mendez of Ohio State. No points were scored in the first period as Mendez chose to start from bottom position. Mendez escaped quickly to 1-0. The two wrestlers hand-fought for the remainder of the period followed by Bartlett escaping 30 seconds into the third period to tie the match at 1-1. Mendez scored a takedown with seconds left in the match to win 4-1, and Bartlett finished second in the 141-pound weight class.

157 Pounds

Next, No. 1 Levi Haines faced off against No. 2 Jacori Teemer of Arizona State. The two wrestlers spend the entirety of the first period hand-fighting with no points scored. Haines started from bottom position and escaped immediately to take the lead. Teemer decided to start in neutral position for the third period, and Haines got in on a double-leg shot to extend his lead to 4-0. Levi Haines won 5-0 to clinch his first NCAA title.

165 Pounds

In the next bout, No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink wrestled No. 4 David Carr of Iowa State. Carr came out quickly with a takedown in the first 20 seconds, and Mesenbrink escaped after over 1:30 of riding time. Carr escaped quickly to make his lead 4-1 and registered another takedown to take a 7-2 advantage. Mesenbrink tallied an escape in the last seconds of the second period, then Mitchell started from bottom position to start the third period. Mesenbrink escaped and was awarded a stalling point, trailing 7-5. Mesenbrink got a takedown to go up 8-7, but Carr escaped to tie the match again. Carr won 9-8 by the riding time point to hand Mesenbrink his first loss of the season.

174 Pounds

Up next, No. 9 Carter Starocci lined up against No. 6 Rocco Welsh of Ohio State. Carter Starocci was awarded an initial stalling point, though no other score was registered in the first period. Starocci chose bottom and escaped to extend his lead. No other points were scored as Starocci led 2-0 going into the third period. Welsh chose neutral to start the last period, and Starocci kept Welsh away to win his fourth NCAA Championship 2-0.

197 Pounds

In the final bout of the night, No. 1 Aaron Brooks faced off with No. 2 Trent Hidlay of NC State. The two wrestlers hand-fought for the majority of the first period, and then Brooks hit a high-leg takedown to take the lead in the final seconds of the opening period. The Nittany Lion took bottom position to start and escaped immediately. Brooks was awarded a stalling point to stretch his lead to 5-0 going into the last period. Hidlay chose the bottom position and failed to escape the Nittany Lion until the final seconds. Aaron Brooks won 6-1 to secure his fourth NCAA title.

What’s Next?

All four Penn State national champions earned an invitation to the 2024 Olympic Trials, hosted at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center in April.

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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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