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Penn State Sits in First Place, Places 5 in National Title Matches After Day 2

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Aaron Brooks

TULSA, Okla. — Penn State sits comfortably  in First Place with five wrestlers in National Title Matches after Friday night at the NCAA Wresting Championships at the BOK Center.

PSU has 116.5 points after two days of the NCAA Championships, far ahead of Iowa, who is in second place with 77.0 points.

No. 1 graduate Roman Bravo-Young (20-0) faced off against No. 4 Arizona State’s Michael McGee (23-3) at 133 pounds. 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 in the third period. 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. That win in the Semifinals for Bravo-Young is the 100th of his collegiate career.

No. 2 first-year Levi Haines (24-1) faced a tough match in No. 3 Nebraska’s Peyton Robb (28-2) in the Semifinals at 157 pounds

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.

No. 1 junior Carter Starocci (24-0) easily handled No. 4 Cornell’s Chris Foca (27-2) in his Semifinals match, winning a 6-0 decision at 174 pounds. He will try to win his third straight National Title Saturday night.

No. 3 senior Aaron Brooks (16-1) used a takedown and two near fall points to lead him to a 6-3 decision over No. 2 NC State’s Trent Hidlay (23-2) at 184 pounds.

No. 3 junior Greg Kerkvliet (19-2) fell behind to No. 2 Air Force’s Wyatt Hendrickson (29-2) after Hendrickson made a takedown. Kerkvliet made an escape and then a reversal to take a 3-2 lead in the second period.

Kerkvliet then rode Hendrickson for most of the third period to ensure riding time and a 4-2 decision to place him in that National Title match.

Not every Penn State wrestler had a great Friday night, despite popular belief.

No. 6 junior Beau Bartlett (24-3) stood no chance against No. 2 Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez (27-0), losing a 6-2 decision in the Semifinals at 141 pounds.

No. 12 redshirt first-year Shayne Van Ness (22-7) started out with an impressive 3-2 lead over No. 1 Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis (20-1) in the Semifinals at 149 pounds. Diakomihalis then got an escape, a takedown and four near fall points in the third period to establish a win on an 8-3 decision.

No. 9 senior Max Dean (24-5) won his first match in the Round of 12 against Big Ten foe, No. 10 Maryland’s Jaxon Smith (23-8) at 197 pounds. Dean made an escape and a takedown to help him earn a 3-2 decision against Smith.

Dean then lost his next match to No. 2 Cal Poly’s Bernie Truax (17-2), forcing him into the Seventh Place match Saturday morning.

The Nittany Lions are close to claiming their second straight National Championship and 10th in the last 12 tries. Nittany Sports Now will be at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. all day Saturday covering and providing interviews of the Nittany Lions as they attempt to win that National Title.

Placing Matches start at 11:00 a.m. EST and the Finals start at 7:00 p.m. EST

Penn State Schedule Saturday Morning

197-No. 9 Max Dean vs. No. 10 Cornell’s Jacob Cardenas (20-5) Seventh Place Match

141-No. 6 Beau Bartlett vs. No. 11 South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson (27-9) Winner Goes to Third Place Match/Loser Goes to Fifth Place Match

149-No. 12 Shayne Van Ness vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech’s Caleb Henson (26-4) Winner Goes to Third Place Match/Loser Goes to Fifth Place Match

Penn State Schedule Saturday Night (Championship Bouts)

133-No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 3 Cornell’s Vito Arujau (24-1)

157-No. 2 Levi Haines vs. No. 1 North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor (22-0)

174-No. 1 Carter Starocci vs. No. 2 Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola (29-1)

184-No. 3 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 1 Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen (26-1)

285-No. 3 Greg Kerkvliet vs. No. 1 Michigan’s Mason Parris (32-0)

Penn State Places Seven in the Semifinals at the NCAA Wresting Championships

Penn State Stands in 1st Place After Day 1 of NCAA Wrestling Championships

Penn State Wrestling: 8 Advance to Round of 16 at NCAA Championships

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