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Haines, Facundo Lead Penn State Wrestling in Huge win Over Michigan

Penn State wrestling is looking to win another national championship
Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

It’s not often that a freshman get you the biggest win in one of the biggest dual meets of the season. That not only happened once, but twice for Penn State wrestling on Friday night, in back-to-back bouts.

Freshmen 157-pounder Levi Haines and 165-pounder Alex Facundo both took home wins in sudden victory, lifting the top-ranked Nittany Lions to a huge 30-8 victory over No. 4 Michigan Friday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Attendance for the night was 15,975, which wasn’t quite a sellout, but still made for a raucous crowd at times, especially for Haines and Facundo.

“This was pretty fun to wrestle here,” said Facundo, who defeated the Wolverines’ fifth-ranked Cameron Amine. “The crowd was pretty electric. I just had to keep my head straight and wrestle my match.”

The score was tied at 5-5 after the two 30-second tiebreaker periods in the 165-pound match. Since Facundo had a 14-second advantage in riding time over Amine, Facundo was awarded the extra point to win the match.

Haines, a Pennsylvania kid from Biglerville High School, got the crowd on its feet after beating 10th-ranked Will Lewan, 3-1, in the sudden victory period.

“This has been a really neat experience,” said Haines. “I’ve only ever been to one Bryce Jordan Center match before. It was a unique experience being part of this.”

Not a bad night at the office for the Nittany Lions and coach Cael Sanderson, who said Friday’s dual with the Wolverines had the potential to be tightly contested.

“These two (Haines and Facundo) got us big wins,” said Sanderson. “But it’s not all about winning the dual, but it’s about getting better and being able to beat the top kids in the country. We’re getting better.

“They’re both very talented wrestlers. They’re consistent, hard workers, coachable. They’re both trying to get better, and this is what you get.”

The most anticipated bout of the night only put a light damper on the festivities for the Lions as top-ranked heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet fell to Michigan’s second-ranked Mason Parris, 3-1. Kerkvliet is now 3-2 for his career against Parris.

The only other win Michigan could muster was to begin the dual at 125 pounds as Jack Medley earned a 19-3 technical fall on PSU’s Gary Steen.

Penn State got a pin from Carter Starocci at 174 pounds, and major decisions from Shayne Van Ness (149), Aaron Brooks (184) and Max Dean (197). Along with Haines and Facundo, Penn State also got decisions from Roman Bravo-Young and Beau Bartlett.

Penn State (9-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) will return to Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. dual meet with Michigan State. The Spartans fell at Rutgers, 16-15, on Friday night.

“I think this was a fun change of scenery,” Sanderson said. “There’s a lot of excitement. It was great all the way around.”

Bout-by-bout breakdown

125 – Michigan’s Jack Medley took down the Lions’ Gary Steen three times in the first period to take an early 6-2 lead. This one got out of hand in the second period as Medley worked a 15-3 lead with one period remaining. The tough season continued for Steen as he was nearly pinned in the third period, but worked his way off his back as Medley took a 19-3 technical fall in 5:37.

133 – It had looked like PSU’s Roman Bravo-Young and Michigan’s Dylan Ragusin would wrestle on their feet in the first period, but Ragusin surprised the large crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center with a late takedown at the edge of the mat to take a 2-0 lead after one period. That woke up Bravo-Young, however, as he earned a quick escape point and a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the first period. RBY rode out Ragusin the rest of the period to rack up 1:04 of riding time. Ragusin took down to start the third period, but RBY rode him out the entire period to take a 4-2 win after more than enough riding time.

141 – PSU’s Beau Bartlett got the initial takedown against Michigan’s Cole Mattin to take a 2-0 lead after one. He also picked up a slick reversal to go up 4-0 before releasing Mattin. Bartlett took a 4-1 lead to the third period. Mattin got an escape right away in the third period, but Bartlett picked up another takedown in the third to take a 6-2 lead. Bartlett took home a 7-2 victory after 1:43 of riding time.

149 – Michigan’s Fidel Mayora replaced regular starter in 21st-ranked Chance Lamer at this bout. The emerging Shayne Van Ness got the first takedown to go up 2-0 and worked over a minute of riding time. He got an escape point to start the second period to go up 3-0 before picking up the second takedown of the match shortly after. Van Ness took a 5-0 lead to the third period. Van Ness also picked up three takedowns in less than a minute at the beginning of the third period to move to a major decision. He picked up an extra takedown at the end of the bout to take a 14-4 major with over three minutes of riding time.

157 – This is kind of a big match for Levi Haines after he upset Wisconsin’s Garrett Model two weeks ago. He was once again given the nod over Terrell Barraclough. Haines is now also ranked 17th after that big win over Model. Haines and Michigan’s Will Lewan spent the first period on their feet. Haines took down to start the second and got an early escape, and that was all the scoring in the second period as Haines took a 1-0 lead going to the third period. Lewan returned the favor and got a quick escape in the third period to tie the bout at 1 with riding time not being a factor. There was no scoring the rest of regulation as the match went to sudden victory. Haines worked wonders to get out of a deep shot by Lewan early in overtime. He countered it, and got into a deep single leg on his own to finish the takedown in overtime for a 3-1 victory. That win got the crowd on its feet for the loudest ovation of the night for another big victory for Haines.

165 – Alex Facundo got the scoring going with a slick ankle pick in the first period on Michigan’s Cameron Amine. Amine escaped, but Facundo led 2-1 after the first period. Amine took down to start the second period and picked up a quick escape to tie the bout at 2. The bout went to the third period tied at 2 with Facundo taking bottom to start the third period. Facundo got an escape about 20 seconds into the period to take a 3-2 lead with riding time still not a factor. Amine had looked to take down Facundo multiple times late in the match, but Facundo pulled off a tremendous counter and somehow got a takedown himself. The officials went to video review to look at the sequence, and after review it was determined Amine had got the takedown originally to take a 4-3 lead with 19 seconds remaining in the match. Facundo still got an escape to tie the match at 4 before the end of regulation to send it to sudden victory. There was no takedown in the first sudden victory period. Facundo got an escape point in his 30-second period down to take a 5-4 lead. Amine got his escape point with five seconds left in his 30-second period down to tie the match up again at 5. Facundo still had the riding time advantage with 14 seconds, which won him the match, 6-5.

174 – Penn State’s Carter Starocci had been dominating Michigan’s Max Maylor. He worked a 6-2 lead through the first period before getting the pin in 4:15.

184 – PSU’s Aaron Brooks worked his way to a 4-1 lead over the Wolverines’ Matt Finesilver after the first three minutes of wrestling. Brooks also picked up an escape to start the second period, plus picked up two more takedowns to take a 9-2 lead after two periods with riding time in his back pocket. Finesilver picked up an escape point to start the third, but Brooks picked up another takedown to make it 11-4. Brooks got one more takedown for a 14-4 major decision.

197 – The Nittany Lions’ Max Dean got just one takedown in the first period on Michigan’s Brendin Yatooma, but he got two back points at the end of the period and may have been more had the buzzer not sounded at the end of the first. Dean led 4-0 after the first. He also got an escape point to start the second period before picking up one more takedown to take a 7-0 lead. He took a 7-0 lead into the third period with riding time almost already locked up. Yatooma picked up an escape in the third period to make it 7-1, meaning Dean needed one more takedown to pick up the major decision. He got it with about 15 seconds left, giving him the 10-1 win.

285 – The dual meet is very well in hand for the Nittany Lions, but the last treat is No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet of PSU vs. No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan. The two spent the first period on their feet. Parris picked up the first point of the bout with an escape in the second period. Parris led 1-0 after two periods. Kerkvliet escaped right away in the third period to tie it at 1. Kerkvliet was hit with a stall warning early in the third for fleeing the mat. Parris was also hit with one, but he countered a Kerkvliet shot with a takedown for a 3-1 lead with 45 seconds remaining. Parris escaped with a 3-1 win.

Penn State 30, Michigan 8

125 – Jack Medley (M) tech. fall Gary Steen (PSU), 19-3 5:37. (0-5)

133 – Roman Bravo-Young dec. Dylan Ragusin (M), 4-2. (3-5)

141 – Beau Bartlett (PSU) dec. Cole Mattin (M), 7-2. (6-5)

149 – Shayne Van Ness (PSU) maj. dec. Fidel Mayora (M), 14-4. (10-5)

157 – Levi Haines (PSU) dec. Will Lewan (M), 3-1 SV. (13-5)

165 – Alex Facundo (PSU) dec. Cameron Amine (M), 6-5 SV. (16-5)

174 – Carter Starocci (PSU) pinned Max Maylor (M), 4:15. (22-5)

184 – Aaron Brooks (PSU) maj. dec. Matt Finesilver (M), 14-4. (26-5)

197 – Max Dean (PSU) maj. dec. Brendin Yatooma (M), 10-1. (30-5)

285 – Mason Parris (M) dec. Greg Kervliet (PSU), 3-1. (30-8)

Ridge Reilly Award winner: Levi Haines

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