STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The flu bug has obviously hit the Penn State wrestling team hard, but the Nittany Lions still had enough to beat Lehigh, 23-16, at Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Depth has obviously been big this weekend with starters Baylor Shunk (125), Aaron Brooks (184) and Greg Kerkvliet (285) all not available for Sunday’s dual meet.
The exclamation point of the meet came when 197-pounder Max Dean sealed the match for the Nittany Lions in a pin at 2:58 over J.T. Davis.
Two extra matches were wrestled after the dual meet as Penn State’s Joey Blumer and Terrell Barraclough picked up decisions at 149 and 157, respectively.
Backups highlight the day
Nittany Lion backups Jake Campbell (125), Tony Negron (157), and Donovon Ball (184) all wrestled for the illness-plagued wrestling team.
Ball had one of the biggest wins of the day, picking up a takedown in each of the first two periods to take a 5-3 win.
Campbell, a senior making his Nittany Lion debut, dropped an 11-3 major decision to the Mountain Hawks’ Jaret Lane.
Negron, who was also making his debut for the Lions, nearly pulled off an upset over Lehigh No. 10 ranked Josh Humphreys. He came up short with a 5-4 loss after a review on a late takedown was overturned.
Dean seals the deal
It’s sometimes easy to forget that 197-pounder Max Dean hasn’t wrestled for two seasons. He redshirted in the 2019-20 season, and he didn’t wrestle at all last season at Cornell as the Ivy League canceled the winter season due to the pandemic.
The 2018-19 NCAA runner-up doesn’t seem like he’s skipped a beat so far this season as he is now 5-0 following a pin in 2:58 over Lehigh’s J.T. Davis.
It will be interesting to see how much of a difference his career is going to be now that he’s made the move to State College.
Penn State heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet wasn’t available on Friday or Sunday, and with both dual meets in hand on both days, head coach Cael Sanderson elected to forfeit in both matches.
Sanderson said had they needed a heavyweight to secure a win on Sunday, 197-pounder Michael Beard would have bumped up to face Lehigh’s 10th-ranked Jordan Wood. That would have been a massive bump for the NCAA qualifier, and Sanderson said Wood weighed in at 281 pounds on Sunday.
It wouldn’t have made for an ideal situation, but Beard willing to step up if needed shows the leadership that Sanderson has with the team.
Below is a bout-by-bout summary of Sunday’s dual meet.
Penn State (5-0) 23, Lehigh (3-2) 16
125 – Jake Campbell vs. Jaret Lane – Campbell, a senior, was making his debut for the Nittany Lions. The flu bug has been going around the wrestling team, and it looks like it has hit 125 relatively hard without starter Baylor Shunk available and Brandon Meredith likely still getting down to 125. Campbell fought off a pin from the 14th ranked Lane in the second period, but Lane still scored an 11-3 major decision over Campbell.
133 – Roman Bravo-Young vs. Sheldon Seymour – It was just another day at the office for Bravo-Young, who seemed to gain energy as the match went on. He took a 10-3 lead after two periods and turned it into a 19-7 major decision.
141 – Nick Lee vs. Connor McGonagle – Lee got an early takedown, and worked for a quick fall, but McGonagle bellied out in the first minute. Lee also picked up a stall point to take a 5-0 lead after one period. Lee led 9-3 after the second period and had nearly four minutes of riding time racked up. McGonagle had a late takedown to avoid a major decision as Lee won 13-6 for the 100th win of his career.
149 – Beau Bartlett vs. Manzona Bryant IV – Bryant is an exciting wrestler to watch. He’s a lot like Bravo-Young in a way where he could be getting a takedown, and he will scramble out of it at a very fast pace. Bartlett picked up a takedown in the first, but he had to work for it. Bartlett got the crowd to its feet with a double leg in the second period. Bryant got a late reversal to make it 5-3 Bartlett. Bryant threw Bartlett with 25 seconds left to take a 6-5 lead and melted just enough riding time down to take a 6-5 win. He fought off a Bartlett escape to win. The last few seconds were challenged, but it went unsuccessful. This was a fun one to watch.
157 – Tony Negron vs. Josh Humphreys – There was another PSU dual meet debut for Penn State in Negron. Once again, it was in a tough spot as Humphreys is ranked 10th by InterMat. Negron could have had a 4-1 lead at the end of the first, but there was no takedown rewarded at the edge of the mat as time expired. This one got feisty as Negron was not awarded another takedown in the third period as he had Humphreys on his back for a split second. This time, the takedown was awarded to tie the match at 4 with 1:11 left. Negron elected to go neutral to give Humphreys a 5-4 advantage. Negron almost had a takedown with 10 seconds left and it was originally called on the mat, but the call was reversed as Humphreys held on for a 5-4 win. It was still a very good effort by Negron in a tough situation.
165 – Creighton Edsell vs. Brian Meyer – The 32nd ranked Edsell and the 27th ranked Meyer wrestled on their feet in the first period. Edsell got an escape point right off the bat in the second period and took a 1-0 lead into the third. Meyer took bottom in the third period. Meyer got the escape with under a minute left, but Edsell had got 1:23 of riding time. Edsell earned a 2-1 win to tie the meet at 10.
174 – Carter Starocci vs. Jake Logan – Starocci is still as good as they come at the weight. Starocci was very workmanlike in the bout, seemingly taking down Logan at will. In the end, Starocci earned the 13-3 major decision to give the Nittany Lions a 14-10 lead.
184 – Donovon Ball vs. A.J. Burkhart – Penn State No. 1 ranked Aaron Brooks was out on Friday at Penn, and it is the same story again for today against Lehigh. Ball, an experienced backup at the weight, got the ball rolling with a double leg in the first period. Ball also got an ankle pick in the second period to take a 4-2 lead. Ball led 4-3 going into the third period, and got an escape with under a minute left to take a 5-3 lead. Ball hung on for a 5-3 win.
197 – Max Dean vs. J.T. Davis – Dean is unbelievable, considering he really hasn’t wrestled at all the last two seasons. But then again, what do you expect from the runner-up at 197 three years ago? Dean picked up a first period fall with a time of 2:58 to seal the match.
285 – Lehigh’s Jordan Wood received a forfeit to end the match.
125 – Jaret Lane (L) maj. dec. Jake Campbell (PSU), 11-3. (0-4)
133 – Roman Bravo-Young (PSU) maj. dec. Sheldon Seymour (L), 19-7. (4-4)
141 – Nick Lee (PSU) dec. Connor McGonagle (L), 13-6. (7-4)
149 – Manzona Bryant IV (L) dec. Beau Bartlett (PSU), 6-5. (7-7)
157 – Josh Humphreys (L) dec. Tony Negron (PSU), 5-4. (7-10)
165 – Creighton Edsell (PSU) dec. Brian Meyer (L), 2-1. (10-10)
174 – Carter Starocci (PSU) maj. dec. Jake Logan (L), 13-3. (14-10)
184 – Donovon Ball (PSU) dec. A.J. Burkhart (L), 5-3. (17-10)
197 – Max Dean (PSU) pinned J.T. Davis (L), 2:58. (23-10)
285 – Jordan Wood (L) won by forfeit. (23-16)
149 – Joey Blumer (PSU) dec. Steven Storm (L), 5-1.
157 – Terrell Barraclough (PSU) dec. Luca Frinzi (L), 7-2.