Penn State will send five wrestlers to Sunday’s finals after a solid day on Day 1 on Saturday at the Big Ten Tournament at Lincoln, Nebraska. Roman Bravo-Young (133), Nick Lee (141), Carter Starocci (174), Aaron Brooks (184), and Max Dean (197) will all be looking for Big Ten titles for the Nittany Lions.
In the team standings, there will be a three-team race to claim the Big Ten championship. A surprise in Michigan leads the way with 116 points, while the Nittany Lions are 4.5 points behind the Wolverines in second place. Iowa is just 2.5 points behind Penn State in third place, giving a difference of seven points between first and third place. Michigan also has five in Sunday’s finals, while the Hawkeyes have four.
Here are tomorrow’s Big Ten finals by weight class:
125 – Nick Suriano (Michigan) vs. Eric Barnett (Wisconsin)
133 – Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) vs. Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
141 – Nick Lee (Penn State) vs. Jaydin Eierman (Iowa)
149 – Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. Austin Gomez (Wisconsin)
157 – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) vs. Will Lewan (Michigan)
165 – Cameron Amine (Michigan) vs. Alex Marinelli (Iowa)
174 – Carter Starocci (Penn State) vs. Logan Massa (Michigan)
184 – Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. Myles Amine (Michigan)
197 – Eric Schultz (Nebraska) vs. Max Dean (Penn State)
285 – Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. Tony Cassioppi (Iowa)
As for the rest of the Penn State wrestlers, clearly the biggest disappointment of the day was 125-pounder Drew Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt, the No. 2 seed at the weight, fell 5-3 in the quarterfinals to Northwestern’s Michael DeAugustino. He also dropped his match in the second round consolations to Minnesota’s Patrick McKee, 6-3.
The Big Ten is allotted 10 spots at 125, and the best that Hildebrandt to do tomorrow is ninth place. If he does not win his first match on Sunday morning, he will have to rely on an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
At 149, Beau Bartlett went 2-2 on the day and will wrestle for seventh place on Sunday. Like Hildebrandt, Bartlett will also need a win to qualify for NCAAs or wait for the automatic qualifiers.
Brady Berge got a pair of wins over Wisconsin’s Garrett Model in the first round, and Iowa’s Kaleb Young in the quarterfinals at 157. However, he fell to Michigan’s Will Lewan in the semifinals to drop into the consolation rounds.
At 165, Creighton Edsell went 1-2 and will be in the pool for automatic qualifiers.
At heavyweight, Greg Kerkvliet came within a second of wrestling in Sunday’s finals, but gave up a reversal with four seconds left in the third period against Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi. Had he hung on one second longer, he would have racked up a minute of riding time for an extra point. Instead, the match went to overtime and Cassioppi got a takedown to win it.
Bravo-Young, Lee, Starocci, Brooks, and Dean all went 2-0 on the day to advance to the championship in their respective weights.
Sunday’s action starts at noon with wrestlebacks, and continues at 4 p.m. with the place bouts. Title bouts will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be televised on Big Ten Network.