Penn State Wrestling Wrestles Seven In Session II Of U.S. Olympic Trials

The second session of the U.S. Olympic Trials took place Friday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Seven current and former Nittany Lions charged onto the mat in the quarterfinals and finals of the Challenge Tournament with five Nittany Lions making it into the final bouts. Additionally, Nittany Lions Wrestling Club (NLWC) member Jen Page made it to the finals.

How It Happened

57 kilograms – Thomas Gilman

Thomas Gilman of NLWC started session two against Daton Fix of Cowboy WC.

Gilman went up 1-0 early and tacked on another point to jump ahead 2-0 before the end of the first half. The points kept rolling for Gilman with a 4-0 lead in the second half. He finished up the bout 6-0 and moved onto the finals.

In the final bout at 57 kilograms, Gilman will wrestle Spencer Lee of Hawkeye WC in Session III.

62 kilograms – Jen Page

Representing the NLWC, Jen Page wrestled Mallory Velte of Beaver Dam RTC in a second semifinal bout.

Page scored first and earned a 2-0 lead with one minute remaining in the first half. She added four more in the first, but Velte was crawling back with four points of her own to make it 6-4 after one period. Page opened up the second with two more points to lead 8-4, but Velte kept it close adding three to close the gap 8-7, but Page held on and win the semifinal 8-7.

For the final bout, Page faced Macey Kilty of SKWC. The bout was knotted 0-0 for the majority of the first half but that shifted when Kilty took a 4-1 lead in the final minute. Page threw a challenge brick, and the score was upped 4-2.

Page fought back to lead 5-4, and the bout tied up 6-6 late in the second. Despite the comeback attempt, Page dropped the final 9-8.

65 kilograms – Nick Lee

NLWC member Nick Lee entered the quarterfinals and wrestled Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado RTC.

The bout started hot with a quick 4-4 tie that lasted the entire first half. Alirez got the leg up 5-4, but Lee quickly earned two points to regain the lead 6-5 in the second. Lee upped the momentum and overcame Alirez to lead 10-7. Lee finished up the bout on top 10-9, but a challenge brick was thrown from Alirez’s side. The call was confirmed and Lee moved on to the finals against teammate Zain Retherford in Session III.

65 kilograms – Zain Retherford

In a second semifinal, Zain Retherford of NLWC faced Jesse Mendez of Ohio RTC.

The pair quickly tied the bout 2-2 at the beginning of the first half and held that score well into the second half, but Retherford was able to pull through and secure one point to take the bout from Mendez 3-2 and make the finals against Lee in Session III.

74 kilograms – Mitchell Mesenbrink

NCAA runner-up Mitchell Mesenbrink of NLWC started off the session facing Jordan Burroughs of Pennsylvania RTC.

Mesenbrink was down early 2-0 and quickly was in a seven-point deficit by the end of the first half. The 7-0 gap was held well by Burroughs well into the second half, and Mesenbrink had a spark with three points but ultimately dropped the bout 8-3.

The Nittany Lion will now move to the consolation round in Session III.

74 kilograms – Jason Nolf

The second quarterfinal at 74 kilograms, Jason Nolf of NLWC wrestled Jarrett Jacques of Tiger Style WC.

Nolf held the lead from the start, going up 4-1 in the first half. He kept grinding and widened his lead 6-2 in the second. Adding a few last-second points, he secured his spot in the finals 9-2.

Since Mesenbrink lost to Burroughs, the stage was set for Nolf against Burroughs in the finals.

On the first move of the bout, a challenge brick was thrown by Burroughs and the call was reversed to take the score back 0-0. Nolf earned back his point, led 1-0, and added another two points before a second brick was thrown by Burroughs. This call was also overturned and the score remained 1-0.

Nolf secured a takedown in the second to up his lead 3-0 and walked away with the 3-0 over Burroughs. Now, Nolf will take on Kyle Dake in Session III.

86 kilograms – Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks of NLWC took the mat against Alex Dieringer of Cliff Keen WC.

Dieringer made a quick move to open the bout and put Brooks in a 4-0 hole, but Brooks battled back with a move of his own to tie the score at 4-4. A challenge brick was thrown from Dieringer, but the call stood and Brooks took the 5-4 lead. Brooks continued to lead and came away with the 8-4 win.

In the final bout, Brooks wrestled Zahid Valenica of SKWC. Valenica was first to score and went up 1-0 heading into the second half. Brooks earned two on a takedown, but a challenge brick was thrown from Valenica and the takedown was canceled. The Nittany Lion quickly bounced back with another takedown to lead 3-1.

Valenica turned around on Brooks again and this time Brooks threw the brick. The call stood and Brooks was down 6-3. Brooks earned two points with 0:16 seconds remaining to make the score 6-5 and Brooks tied it up 6-6. The Nittany Lion then took the lead from a singlet pull and came through with the 7-6 win.

125 kilograms – Greg Kerkvliet

In the final weight class, Greg Kerkvliet of NLWC faced Nick Gwiazdowski of Spartan Combat RTC.

Kerkvliet was first on the board with one in the final 30 seconds of the first half. Gwiazdowski scored three with under two minutes in the second and scored once again to take the 5-1 win from Kerkvliet.

Kerkvliet then moved into the consolation bracket.

What’s Next?

The U.S Olympic trials will continue at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, in the Bryce Jordan Center. Session three will feature the best-of-three championship series, consolation matches, and third-place bouts.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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