No. 3 Penn State overcame a slow start to deliver a big win over No. 11 Ohio State on Friday night. The Nittany Lions took seven of the ten bouts, which included several bonus-point wins; two major decisions, one tech fall and two pins.
Freshman Robert Howard put up a good fight against No. 10 Malik Heinselman but ultimately fell to a 5-2 loss. 133-pounder No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young put on a clinic with a 26-8 tech fall to take back the team score lead. No. 2 Nick Lee built on that lead with a major decision at 141.
Beau Bartlett got the go ahead at 149 after we saw Terrel Barraclaugh in that spot for the past two matches. Bartlett faced a tough No. 2 Sammy Sasso and kept the bout close, falling to a close 5-3 loss. No. 8 Brady Berge stretched Penn State’s lead once again with a win over Elijah Cleary at 157.
At the half, announcer Shane Sparks announced that for the first time, the Big Ten Championships will be covered on the Big Ten Network both Saturday and Sunday. Usually, the finals matchups are nationally televised on BTN on Sunday, but this year you can catch the earlier sessions on Saturday. It’s March Madness, wrestling-style.
No one saw what would come next at 165. Freshman No. 14 Joe Lee got caught in a bad spot when No. 10 Ethan Smith scored on a reversal and then turned Lee to his back for the pin. The fall tied up the team score 12-12 heading into a key matchup of the night.
Big Ten Wrestler of the week and No. 5 Carter Starocci faced Ohio State’s No. 2 Kaleb Romero at 174. After Starocci’s performance last week, Nittany Nation knew he could come up big on this huge matchup. It was a battle of defense for regulation time. The score was 1-1 at the end of the third and just like last week, it went into sudden victory. Romero worked on a high single and nearly took down Starocci, but Starocci countered and appeared to get the takedown for the win. A challenge from Ohio State wiped that off the board and the bout went into the tiebreaker rounds. Starocci chose down for the first tiebreaker and quickly escaped to a 2-1 lead. He then rode out Romero for the second round and posted the 2-1 upset victory.
With a weight lifted off the team’s shoulders, No. 2 Aaron Brooks took care of No. 20 Rocky Jordan, 13-4 followed by an epic pin from No. 16 Michael Beard in just one minute and twenty seconds. No. 8 Seth Nevills finished out the day with a 3-2 victory over No. 16 Tate Orndorff.
Penn State will finally get a chance to wrestle in Rec Hall this season on Monday, February 22 against Maryland. Matches start at 6 pm and coverage provided by the Big Ten Network.
BOUT BY BOUT
PSU- 28, OSU- 12
125: OSU No. 10 Malik Heinselman dec. PSU Robert Howard PSU, 5-2
133: PSU No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young tech fall OSU Jordan Decatur, 26-8 (TF; 5:37)
141: PSU No. 2 Nick Lee maj. Dec. OSU Dylan D’Emilio, 15-3
149: OSU No. 2 Sammy Sasso dec. PSU Beau Bartlett, 5-3
157: PSU No. 8 Brady Berge PSU dec. OSU Elijah Cleary, 3-1
165: OSU No. 10 Ethan Smith pinned PSU No. 14 Joe Lee PSU, WBF (2:34)
174: PSU No. 5 Carter Starocci dec. OSU No. 2 Kaleb Romero, 2-1 (tb)
184: PSU No. 2 Aaron Brooks maj. dec. OSU No. 20 Rocky Jordan, 13-4
197: PSU No. 16 Michael Beard PSU pinned OSU Gavin Hoffman, WBF (1:20)
285: PSU No. 8 Seth Nevills dec. OSU No. 16 Tate Orndorff, 3-2