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NCAA Wrestling Championships Semifinal Thread: 7 Penn State Wrestlers 2 Wins Away From Glory

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

Tulsa, Okla. Penn State won every single match they had Friday morning at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the BOK Center, placing seven wrestlers in the Semifinals.

Penn State is currently comfortably in First Place as a team at the NCAA Championships with 78.0 points, 30 more than Iowa who has 48.0 so far.

At 133 pounds, No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young is going for his third straight national title. He’ll be taking on Arizona State’s Michael McGee (23-2), who’s ranked fourth.

At 141, No. 6 Beau Bartlett got a dramatic win over Pitt’s Cole Matthews, who was the No. 3 seed. He took down Matthews with seconds left in overtime to get a sudden victory. Bartlett will take on Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez (26-0), seeded second.

Penn State’s 149-pounder has had two dramatic-come-from-behind wins in this tournament. No. 12 Shayne Van Ness got his second against Indiana’s Graham Rooks, seeded No. 20, rallying from a 7-2 deficit to get a 9-7 decision. Van Ness is up against it in the semis, where he’ll take on three-time national champion and top-ranked wrestler Yianni Diakomihalis (19-1).

Perhaps even more dramatic was Levi Haines’s win at 157. No. 2 Haines was down 8-1 against Virginia Tech’s Bryce Andonian (No. 7) and came back to tie it at eight. Haines completed the comeback with a pin to win, 14-8, and make it to the semifinals, where he’ll have a rematch with No. 3 Peyton Robb (28-1) of Nebraska. Haines beat Robb 2-1 in sudden victory in the Big Ten Championship match earlier this month.

Like RBY, Carter Starocci is going for a third national title. At 174, he’ll have to get through Yianni’s Cornell teammate, No. 4 Chris Focca (27-1).

At 184, Aaron Brooks is the third Penn State wrestler going for a three-peat. No. 3 Brooks’s next step to getting there will be against No. 2 Trent Hilday (23-1) from NC State.

Finally, heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet is going for his first national title. To get there, he’ll have to beat No. 2 Wyatt Hendrickson from Air Force (29-1).

In the consolation bracket, Penn State’s Max Dean, ranked ninth, is going against No. 11 Jaxon Smith from Maryland.

Keep posted with what’s going on in this thread.

133 Pounds

No. 4 Arizona State Michael McGee made a takedown in the second period, but also got called for locked hands, making it 2-1.

Bravo-Young made an escape and then made a takedown late of McGee to make it 4-2. McGee made an escape and with riding time, he forced the match into sudden victory.

Bravo-Young got off to a strong start in overtime and made a takedown on McGee to win 6-4 in sudden victory.

Bravo-Young will take on No. 3 Cornell’s Vito Arujau (24-1) in the Final Saturday night for the National Title.

141 Pounds

No. 6 Beau Bartlett didn’t stand much chance against No. 2 Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez in their match in the Semifinals. Alirez made two takedowns, an escape and won a 6-2 decision on riding time.

Bartlett will wrestle in the Consolation matches Saturday morning.

149 Pounds

No. 12 Shayne Van Ness took a surprising lead against No. 1 Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis. He made an escape and a takedown to take a 3-1 lead.

Diakomihalis then took control, by making an escape, a takedown and getting four near fall points to win an 8-3 decision in the Semifinals.

Van Ness will join Bartlett in wrestling in the Placing matches Saturday morning.

157 Pounds

No. 2 Levi Haines faced a tough battle against No. 3 Nebraska’s Peyton Robb in the Semifinals.

Haines made a takedown, but two escapes by Robb kept it tied heading into the third period. Haines would make an escape and a takedown en route to a 5-3 decision over Robb to earn a trip to the Final in his first season of collegiate wrestling.

Haines will face No. 1 North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor in the Final Saturday night.

174 Pounds 

Starocci is now one win away from his third straight national championship.


Aaron Brooks dominated the first two periods, leading 5-1. He closed it out in the third and is now one win away from a 3-peat.

195 pounds (consolation)

Max Dean fell behind 4-2 after one period, but cut the deficit to 1 in the second. Dean got a takedown to go up 5-4, but then got reversed to fall behind 6-5. Dean tied it due to riding time and went to sudden victory, where he lost, 8-6.


Kerkvliet fell behind 2-1, but came back to win 4-2. He’s now one win way from a national title.

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