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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Rankings: Freshman Sensation Cracks top 3

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

Penn State wrestling will be ranked No. 1 until it loses a dual meet, which might not happen for a long time.

On the other hand, the rankings for individual wrestlers won’t always stay the same.

All 10 of Penn State’s wrestlers are ranked by Intermat. Here’s where they came in this week.

125

BRAEDEN DAVIS (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 3)

Yes, Virginia, there’s a star at 125 for Penn State wrestling, and his name is Braeden Davis. 125 was the only class where Penn State didn’t have a national qualifier last season. Barring something crazy, that won’t be the case this March. Davis continued his strong freshman season this past Sunday with a 15-0 tech fall win over Maryland’s Tommy Capul that took less than three minutes. No, Davis is the No. 3 in the country, up a spot from last week.

133

AARON NAGAO (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 5)

Nagao stayed at No. 5. He has two losses on the season, which feels like a lot for a Penn State regular. Nonetheless, he’s still one of the best at 133, as he proved last season by becoming an All-American as a true freshman. Nagao didn’t wrestle this past Sunday in College Park, but since there aren’t any injury reports, one would think he’d be good to go by this Friday’s dual meet against Ohio State at Rec Hall. At 133 for Ohio State, Nate Bouzakis is No. 12

141

BEAU BARTLETT (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 2)

Bartlett is still No. 2. He continues to take care of business, beating Maryland’s Kal Miller— ranked No. 17– via major decision, 11-1. Bartlett’s moment of truth will likely come Friday, February 9 in Iowa City against No. 1 Real Woods of Iowa. That would be a fun one, eh?

149

TYLER KASAK (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 12)

Kasak remains in top-10 range despite not wrestling in any of Penn State’s last three dual meets. Kasak had been battling illness, but did compete Sunday in the Mat Town Open II, which gave him enough bouts to qualify for the postseason.

David Evans, won both of his matches in Kasak’s absence earlier this month, was also at the open.

Kasak beat Evans 4-2.

Sanderson told reporters Tuesday that Penn State is still thinking about what to do at 149.

“I think they both had three or four matches,” Sanderson said. “Which kind of helps with their match count and gives us a little bit of flexibility, and takes us a little bit of the urgency off of that decision. Obviously head to head and being in the same event plays a big role in where we’ll go with it.”

157

LEVI HAINES (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 1)

Haines stayed undefeated this past weekend and stayed at No. 1 as a result. He matched Davis with a 15-0 tech fall, albeit this one actually made it to the second period, which Davis’ match did not. Right now, there’s no reason to think Haines won’t be the favorite at 133 come NCAAs.

165

MITCHELL MESENBRINK (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 7)

With the possible exception of Davis, Mesenbrink has been Penn State’s biggest surprise this season, and he remains at No. 7 from last week. The Cal Baptist transfer came into the year with two college matches under his belt but has quickly become one of the best at 165. Mesenbrink’s 14-0, and win No. 14 was a beauty. He pinned his opponent in 50 seconds. If the projections hold true and Mesenbrink takes on Ohio State’s Bryce Hepner— ranked No. 20– it will probably last longer than 50 seconds. But considering Mesenbrink easily handled Michigan’s Cameron Amine (No. 10) and Michigan State’s Caleb Fish (No. 9), in less than 48 hours, it’s hard to imagine him having much of a problem Friday night.

174

CARTER STAROCCI (PENN STATE WRESTLING NO. 1)

Starocci got his 60th straight win the past Sunday, extending America’s longest active streak. That pretty much says everything about the stranglehold he has at 174.

184

BERNIE TRUAX (NO. 5)

Truax came to Penn State as a three-time All-American in three different weight classes from Cal Poly. So far, he hasn’t disappointed. The veteran pinned Maryland’s Chase Mielnik in less than two minutes to improve to 8-1 on the season. If all goes according to plan, Truax will have a big matchup with Nebraska’s Lenny Pinto— ranked No. 3– Sunday, Feb. 18 at Rec Hall. If Truax wins that one, he’ll establish himself as the man to beat at 184 in the Big Ten. His No. 5 ranking didn’t change from last week.

197

AARON BROOKS (NO. 1)

Brooks is still No. 1. He’s won three national titles for Penn State wrestling. Although all of them were at 184, considering the fact that he’s 9-0 at 197, there’s no reason to think he won’t with a fourth.

HEAVYWEIGHT

GREG KERKVLIET (NO. 1)

Unlike Brooks and Starocci, Penn State’s heavyweight hasn’t won a national title yet. Last season, Michigan’s Mason Parris— who won the Hodge Trophy— was in the way. Now, Parris is gone, and Kerkvliet is the favorite to win the whole thing. He remains at No. 1 from last week.

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