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Penn State Wrestling’s Tyler Kasak & Bernie Truax Place In NCAA Championship Consolations

No. 1 Penn State wrestling continued its run in the NCAA Championships Saturday morning as Session V culminated with the end of the consolation bracket.

No. 7 Tyler Kasak, who was upset in the first round of the tournament by No. 26 Jaden Abas of Stanford, won seven consolation matches in a row to finish third. The freshman talent defeated No. 1 Ridge Lovett of Nebraska in the consolation semifinals and No. 5 Ty Watters of West Virginia to claim the third-place finish.

No. 6 Bernie Truax fell to No. 3 Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State in the championship quarterfinals on Friday morning. After two consolation match victories in Session IV, Truax lost to No. 4 Trey Munoz of Oregon State in the consolation semifinals. The Nittany Lion went on to avenge his Big Ten Championship loss by beating No. 2 Isaiah Salazar of Minnesota to place fifth and extend Penn State’s lead over the rest of the field.

The blue and white lead the competition with 155.5 points after clinching the team championship in the semifinals Friday.

How It Happened

Consolation Bracket: Semifinals

149 Pounds

Up first for the Nittany Lions, No. 7 Tyler Kasak took the mat against a familiar foe in No. 1 Ridge Lovett of Nebraska. Kasak struck quickly with a takedown to take a three-point lead. Lovett failed a reversal attempt but retreived the escape point as the wrestlers went out of bounds.

Kasak got a second takedown to extend his lead to 6-1, and the score remained the same as Kasak decided to start the second period in neutral position. Kasak got in on a single-leg attempt and secured his third takedown, leading 9-1. Lovett elected to start in neutral position for the third period, and Kasak earned a point for his riding time efforts to make the final score 10-1. The Nittany Lion won by major decision to move into the consolation finals where he’ll face No. 5 Ty Watters of West Virginia.

184 Pounds

In the second consolation semifinal for Penn State, No. 6 Bernie Truax faced No. 4 Trey Munoz of Oregon State. Munoz struck first with a takedown and collected four back points. After a short struggle, Munoz pinned Truax, and the Nittany Lion will move on to face No. 2 Isaiah Salazar of Minnesota for fifth place.

Consolation Bracket: Fifth Place

184 Pounds

For fifth place, in a rematch of the Big Ten finals, No. 6 Truax wrestled No. 2 Salazar of Minnesota. Truax tallied a single-leg shot to take a 3-0 lead in the first period. Truax then rode out the rest of the period and began the second in bottom position. Truax escaped with 15 seconds and led 4-0.

Truax nailed a second takedown to further extend his lead. With a single swipe for a back point, Truax led 8-0 heading into the third period. Salazar chose to start from neutral, and Truax registered another takedown to get to an 11-0 advantage. After the riding point was added, Truax won by major decision with an emphatic 12-0 shutout. The four-time All-American avenged his Big Ten title loss and placed fifth in the 2024 NCAA Championships.

Consolation Bracket: Finals

After losing in the first round, No. 7 Kasak wrestled all the way back to the consolation finals where he faced No. 5 Watters of West Virginia. Kasak drew blood first with a takedown in the first 30 seconds. Watters escaped, cutting the lead down to 3-1, and the score remained the same as Watters began the second period in the bottom position. Watters escaped quickly to make the score 3-2. The third period began with Kasak choosing to remain in neutral position, and the freshman held on to win 3-2 and secure the third-place finish to his NCAA Championship run.

What’s Next?

The NCAA Championships come to a close with the finals on Saturday night beginning at 6 p.m. A program-record six Nittany Lions are set to compete, featuring Beau Bartlett, Mitchell Mesenbrink, Levi Haines, Carter Starocci, Aaron Brooks, and Greg Kerkvliet. The action will be broadcast on ESPN.

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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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