After two back-to-back Saturdays of postponed dual meets, the Nittany Lions finally made their return to the mat on Saturday, January 30 in a tri-meet against No. 16 Northwestern and Indiana. They won both matchups, 24-15 over Indiana and 29-14 over Northwestern.
Although it was the team’s first matchup of the season after a long and irregular off season, not to mention losing names like Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall, Big Ten Plus network commentators weren’t ready to give much slack. The Sanderson Standard lives on, no excuses.
Penn State forfeited the 125 bout in both matchups because the team had no wrestlers cleared to participate. Starting off both duals down 6-0 isn’t ideal, but Sanderson trusted his veterans to put up bonus point wins and give the newcomers a chance to settle in.
The Indiana match remained closer than expected up until the end. No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young (133), and No. 11 Brady Berge (157) took care of their unranked Hoosier opponents, but Indiana held the damage to decision wins. Veteran No. 2 Nick Lee (141) was the only bonus point win in the first half with a tech fall. No. 10 Jarod Verkleeren swallowed an upset decision-loss to unranked Graham Rooks, 4-3.
Redshirt freshman and familiar name, No. 6 Joe Lee made his debut at 165 with a decision win. Then Indiana notched another upset at 174 with a close 10-9 fall for Penn State’s No. 5 Carter Starocci. The redshirt freshman got behind early giving up eight back points at the beginning of the first period and battled back, but couldn’t close for the win. No. 3 Aaron Brooks upped the point spread with a major, but Levko Higgins dropped his match at 197 and left it up to Seth Nevills at heavyweight to put away the dual. With the team score at 18-15, Nevills didn’t waste any time taking care of his opponent to secure the team win with a pin in just a minute and fourteen seconds.
No. 16 Northwestern and Indiana battled it out after, giving Penn State a bit of a break to regroup. In the second matchup, the Nittany Lions took seven out of ten bouts, once again having to forfeit at 125. RBY had a pin, Nick Lee a major decision, and both Aaron Brooks and Seth Nevills had tech falls. Terrell Barraclough got the go ahead at 149 against NU’s No. 20 Yahya Thomas and held the match to a tight 3-2 decision win for Thomas. We also saw a lineup change at 197, Donovon Ball fell to a major decision against No. 11 Lucas Davison.
Up next, Penn State heads to Wisconsin on Tuesday, Feb. 1 with matches set to start at 5pm EST. The two teams were supposed to participate in a tri-meet with Michigan on February 7, but Michigan has paused all athletics at the moment. We hope to see redshirt freshman No. 13 Michael Beard make his debut at 197 and also super excited to see Robert Howard at 125, that is, if he’s cleared this time. You can watch the dual with a subscription to BTN+.
BOUT BY BOUT
PSU- 24, IU- 15
125: IND Jacob Warner win by forfeit
133: PSU No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young dec. IND Kyle Luigs, 11-8
141: PSU No. 2 Nick Lee tech fall IND Cayden Rooks, 16-1 (TF; 5:00)
149: IND Graham Rooks dec. No. 10 Jarod Verkleeren, 4-3
157: PSU No. 11 Brady Berge dec. IND Matt Ortiz, 5-2
165: PSU No. 6 Joe Lee dec. IND Nick South, 8-4
174: IND DJ Washington dec. PSU No. 5 Carter Starocci, 10-9
184: PSU No. 3 Aaron Brooks maj. dec. IND Drayton Harris, 18-5
197: IND Nick Willham dec. PSU Levko Higgins, 10-3
285: PSU Seth Nevills pinned IND Rudy Streck, WBF (1:14)
PSU- 29, NU- 13
125: NU No. 8 Michael DeAugustino win by forfeit
133: PSU No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young pinned NU Dylan Utterback, WBF (3:48)
141: PSU No. 2 Nick Lee maj. dec. NU Frankie Tal-Shahar, 12-2
149: NU No. 20 Yahya Thomas dec. PSU Terrell Barraclough, 3-2
157: PSU No. 11 Brady Berge dec. NU Maxx Mayfield, 12-7
165: PSU No. 6 Joe Lee PSU dec. NU David Ferrante, 8-7
174: PSU No. 5 Carter Starocci dec. NU Troy Fisher, 4-1
184: PSU No. 3 Aaron Brooks tech fall NU Jack Jessen, 21-6 (TF; 7:00)
197: NU No. 11 Lucas Davison maj. dec. PSU Donovon Ball, 12-3
285: PSU Seth Nevills tech fall NU Brendan Devin, 24-9 (TF; 4:58)