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Penn State Wrestling Wins National Championship

Photo by Penn State Athletics (Mark Selders): Greg Kerkvliet

Penn State sophomore Greg Kerkvliet finished in fourth place at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit Saturday afternoon. His finish clinched the Nittany Lions’ ninth wrestling national championship in the past 11 years.

No. 4 Kerkvliet took on No. 7 Michigan senior Mason Parris in the heavyweight class in the consolation semifinals. Kerkvliet defeated Parris twice earlier in the season and was ready to take on the Michigan man from the start.

Kerkvliet took control from the whistle and got a takedown of Parris for a 2-0 lead. Paris escaped from Kerkvliet, but couldn’t manage to do much else the rest of the match as Kerkvliet completely overmatched him.

Kerkvliet then escaped from Parris and got another takedown to lead 5-1 going into the third period. He scored one extra point for riding time and won the match, 6-1, moving onto the third place match.

In that third place match, Kerkvliet was set to face No. 6 Lehigh fifth-year senior Jordan Wood. Kerkvliet chose to hand in a medical forfeit, giving Wood the win and third-place

The forfeit didn’t matter for Penn State as a team, because by that point, the Nittany Lions had already clinched the national title.

There are still some wrestlers left tonight that will be competing for their individual National Titles.

No. 1 senior Roman Bravo-Young takes on No. 2 Oklahoma State redshirt junior Daton Fix in the 133 weight class, which will be a rematch from last year’s National Title match that Bravo-Young won.

No. 1 fifth-year senior Nick Lee defends his national title against No. 15 Kizhan Clarke of North Carolina in the 141-pound weight class. Clarke defeated No. 6 Cole Matthews of Pitt in the semifinal and will come out looking for the big upset.

No. 1 sophomore Carter Starocci is the third Nittany Lion to defend his title tonight and faces off against No. 2 Virginia Tech redshirt junior Mekhi Lewis in the 174 class. Lewis won the national title in 2019 and will be looking to reclaim the title from Starocci.

No. 2 junior Aaron Brooks is the fourth Penn State wrestler to defend his national title, taking on No. 1 Michigan graduate Myles Amine in the 184 weight class. Brooks defeated Amine at their first meeting, but Amine got the better of Brooks in the Big 10 championship match, giving him his second conference.

Finally, No. 1 junior Max Dean faces off against No. 6 Iowa senior Jacob Warner in the 197 weight class. Dean beat Warner in their meet back in January and looks to do so again to clinch his first NCAA individual title.

The individual finals start at 7:00 P.M. and are available to watch on ESPN on TV and ESPN3 online for streaming.

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