Senior Day proved to be a day full of bonus points in State College on Sunday as Penn State demolished an out-gunned Rider Broncs, 45-0, at Rec Hall in the final dual meet of the season.
The Nittany Lions got pins from Max Dean (197), Greg Kerkvliet (285), and Drew Hildebrandt (125), a technical fall from Roman Bravo-Young (133), and major decisions from Brady Berge (157), Carter Starocci (174), Donovon Ball (184), and Beau Bartlett (149).
“I think all of our guys had to earn the points,” said PSU head coach Cael Sanderson. “They had to fight for quality technique and fight for positions and tie-ups to score points.”
The big news out of the Penn State side is Brady Berge making the drop from 165 to 157 – a weight that Penn State has been challenged at all season. Terrell Barraclough and Tony Negron had been wrestling at the weight all season, but the two are a combined 11-13 on the season.
“I think he feels better at 57,” said Sanderson. At 65 he has to work harder to keep his weight up.”
“He was thinking 65 (all season), but he was feeling undersized at 65, so he made that decision to drop.”
Aaron Brooks was out of the lineup in what Sanderson called ‘a short-term thing,’ and was replaced by Ball. Ball made the most of the last dual meet with a 12-3 major decision over Corey Connolly at 184 pounds.
It’s no strange thing for wrestlers to compete more than once in a day. After all, they do that all the way at the beginning in elementary school tournaments.
But it was a little unusual that Brady Berge wrestled Rider’s Cole McComas twice within the span of a couple hours on Sunday.
With the drop to 157, Berge needs five matches at the weight in order to get a seed at the NCAA Tournament. With Sunday being his first match since last season at 157 pounds, the Broncs allowed Berge to wrestle McComas twice.
Berge came out with a pair of major decisions. In the dual meet, Berge earned a 14-4 win, and had pretty close to the same match in the exhibition at 16-5.
Berge should get the other three matches at the Big Ten Tournament, but if he doesn’t, he would likely get the lowest seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The dual meet was started at 157 to allow for the maximum amount of time for recovery for the two wrestlers.
“They were gracious enough to give us that second match,” Sanderson said. “If not, Brady would have probably went to wrestle at an open tournament somewhere just to get a couple matches. But they were kind enough to help us out.”
Seniors Brady Berge, Joey Blumer, Roman Bravo-Young, Jake Campbell, Creighton Edsell, Levko Higgins, Drew Hildebrandt, Austin Hoopes, Nick Lee, and Mason Manville were honored prior to the dual meet. A couple of the wrestlers, including Bravo-Young, still have another year of eligibility, but will likely make Sunday their final dual meet.
“This has been a great group,” said Sanderson. “Some of those kids have eligibility left, so some of them may be back, some may not. I think some of them aren’t taking any chances and they want that blanket. It’s a nice blanket.
“But they’re a great group. They’re going to be very successful in life, but we’ll think and talk more about them at the banquet at the end of the year. Right now, we still have a lot of work to do.”
NO SHORTAGE OF CONFIDENCE
Carter Starocci has put together another fine season in his sophomore campaign, and he’ll be one of the favorites to win both Big Ten and national titles.
Even after wrestling seven tough minutes on Sunday, Starocci was in a mood to keep going with his season, even though there are still two weeks left until the Big Ten Tournament.
“I’m ready right now,” said Starocci. “I’ll wrestle all 10 matches that’s left right now. Let’s go. I’m kind of fired up.”
And what if he sees a rematch with Iowa’s Michael Kemerer in either of the Big Ten or the NCAA finals?
“It doesn’t matter who it is,” he said. “I’ll take them all out. Line them up.”
157 – Brady Berge has made the drop to his weight from last season at 157. Cael Sanderson said two weeks ago that Berge was managing his weight, and now we see why. Berge looked to be comfortable on Sunday, getting two takedowns in each period and racking up over three minutes of riding time in a 14-4 major decision over Rider’s Cole McComas.
165 – With Berge dropping down to 157, in goes Creighton Edsell, who was the starter before Berge decided to return to State College. Edsell had a tough match on the day in Rider’s Michael Wilson. Edsell won the takedown battle, 2-1, and the match was tied at 6 after regulation. But Edsell had 1:58 of riding time for a 7-6 win.
174 – You have to wonder if Carter Starocci ever gets tired. It sure doesn’t seem like it. It was a normal day at the office for Starocci as he got 10 takedowns in a 22-9 major decision over Shane Reitsma. He needed one more takedown at the end for a technical fall, but he came up just short. If he would have had 10 more seconds, he likely would have had the technical fall.
184 – Donovon Ball got the call over Aaron Brooks on Sunday as Brooks prepares for the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks. Ball made the most of his dual meet action, getting five takedowns in a 12-3 major decision over the Broncs’ Corey Connolly.
197 – Max Dean really got the crowd going, getting a fall in very quick fashion in 54 seconds over Azeem Bell. It was Dean’s second pin of the season.
285 – Another weight, and another fall after the halftime break. This time, Greg Kerkvliet locked in a cradle on Rider’s David Szuba and got the fall in 1:11.
125 – The pins just keep on coming for the Nittany Lions. This time, it was a senior in Drew Hildebrandt. In this one, he got the fall against the Broncs’ Tyler Klinksy as the buzzer sounded to end the first period.
133 – Roman Bravo-Young has never been much of a pinner, but he can certainly get takedowns easier than pretty much any wrestler in the country. He got 13 of them in a 27-11 technical fall over Richie Koehler on Sunday.
141 – Rider only had one ranked wrestler in their entire lineup in No. 25 Quinn Kinner, but it’s unfortunate that he was going up against top-ranked Nick Lee. Even though it was a tough matchup for Kinner, he gave Lee all he could handle. Kinner trailed 4-3 and took a late shot for the win with 10 seconds left, but Lee countered for a takedown to take a 6-3 win.
149 – Rider’s Bryan Miraglia had to take some blood time earlier after a handfight with Beau Bartlett. Bartlett used the time to get five takedowns in the bout, resulting in a 12-4 major decision to end the dual meet.
Penn State ??, Rider ??
157 – Brade Berge (PSU) maj. dec. Cole McComas (R), 14-4. (4-0)
165 – Creighton Edsell (PSU) dec. Michael Wilson (R), 7-6. (7-0)
174 – Carter Starocci (PSU) maj. dec. Shane Reitsma (R), 22-9. (11-0)
184 – Donovon Ball (PSU) maj. dec. Corey Connolly (R), 12-3. (15-0)
197 – Max Dean (PSU) pinned Azeem Bell (R), :54. (21-0)
285 – Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) pinned David Szuba (R), 1:11. (27-0)
125 – Drew Hildebrandt (PSU) pinned Tyler Klinksy (R), 3:00. (33-0)
133 – Roman Bravo-Young (PSU) tech. fall Richie Koehler (R), 27-11 6:02. (38-0)
141 – Nick Lee (PSU) dec. Quinn Kinner (R), 6-3. (41-0)
149 – Beau Bartlett (PSU) maj. dec. Bryan Miraglia (R), 12-4. (45-0)
157 – Brady Berge (PSU) maj. dec. Cole McComas (R), 16-5.