Although the team fell short a few points behind Michigan and gave up the Big Ten Championship title, four individual Nittany Lions were crowned Big Ten Champions in their respective weight classes. Nine Penn Staters secured bids to the NCAA championship later this month.
Roman Bravo Young claimed the first title at 133 for the second year in a row with a win in the finals over familiar foe Austin DeSanto of Iowa. RBY secured the win with a late takedown in a tight bout with the Hawkeye. He continues his undefeated record and hopes to cap off the season with another NCAA title in a few weeks.
Nick Lee won his first Big Ten title due to a bittersweet medical forfeit win over Iowa’s Jadin Eierman, another familiar matchup to Big Ten fans. Although it wasn’t the way he wanted to win, he’ll take his well-earned title. You can expect to see this rematch at some point at NCAAs.
Next up, Carter Starocci used a fast low single and riding work to earn a victory over Logan Massa of Michigan. This was huge for the team score at the time, putting the Nittany Lions within reach of the Wolverines with two more finalists to compete. Starocci also has a spotless record this season and will look to claim his second national title.
The final Big Ten crown went to Max Dean who fought his way through Cam Caffey (his only loss of the season) to get to the finals match with Nebraska’s Eric Schultz. Dean scored the only takedown of the match and dominated on top to capture the win.
Where Penn State Fell Short
Penn State was favored to win the tournament heading into the weekend, but a few mistakes put them behind, then a few more left them chasing after Michigan practically all weekend. First, No. 2 seed Drew Hildebrandt lost two straight matches at 125, leaving the Lions without any points at 125 where they expected at least a semifinalist.
Then, heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet lost his semifinal match with Tony Cassioppi in the final seconds of the sudden victory round. This put Penn State at another disadvantage behind Michigan in the number of finalists for Sundays matches.
Despite the mishaps in the early sessions and semifinals, the title was still within reach with Penn State’s five finalists and two of the five matchups against Michigan. The final slip that put the title out of reach was Aaron Brooks’ shocking loss to Michigan’s Myles Amine at 184. This was Brooks’ first loss of the season and not something any Penn State fan could have predicted.
You can expect these kinks to be worked out prior to NCAAs and all nine qualifiers ready to fight for that National Title.
The stage is set in Detroit, MI for the final show of the season with NCAAs on March 17-19. The sessions are as follows (in Eastern Standard Time):
Session 1 - Thursday, March 17 - 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
Session 2 - Thursday, March 17 - 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Session 3 - Friday, March 18 - 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session 4 - Friday, March 18 - 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Session 5 - Saturday, March 19 - 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session 6 - Saturday, March 19 - 7 p.m. (ESPN)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
- Michigan, 143
- Penn State, 141.5
- Iowa, 129.5
- Ohio State, 91.5
- Northwestern, 90.5
125: Drew Hildebrandt - DNP, NCAA Qualifier
133: Roman Bravo-Young - 1st Place, NCAA Qualifier
- Finals Match - 3-1 W against Iowa, No. 3 Austin DeSanto
141: Nick Lee - 1st Place, NCAA Qualifier
- Finals Match - Win by medical forfeit over Iowa, No. 2 Jaydin Eierman
149: Beau Bartlett - 7th Place, NCAA Qualifier
- 7th Place Match - 3-1 W against Michigan, Kanen Storr
157: Brady Berge - 3rd Place, NCAA Qualifier
- 3rd Place Match - 3-1 sudden victory W over Iowa, No. 9 Kaleb Young
165: Creighton Edsell - DNP
174: Carter Starocci - 1st Place, NCAA Qualifier
- Finals Match - 5-1 W over Michigan, No. 2 Logan Massa
184: Aaron Brooks - 2nd Place, NCAA Qualifier
- Finals Match - 4-6 sudden victory L to Michigan, No. 2 Myles Amine
197: Max Dean - 1st Place, NCAA Qualifier
- Finals Match - 4-2 W over Nebraska, No. 2 Eric Schultz
285: Greg Kerkvliet - 3rd Place, NCAA Qualifier
- 3rd Place Match - 5-3 W over Michigan, No. 3 Mason Parris