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Penn State Wrestling

PSU Wrestlers Blank Indiana 46-0 in Big Ten dual opener

Carter Starocci, Penn State Wrestling
Photo by NCAA: Carter Starocci

It is unknown if the whole Penn State wrestling lineup was trying to get the quickest technical fall for the day, but at times it seemed like a contest.

All but one bout on the day ended up in bonus points for the Nittany Lions. PSU got five technical falls, an injury default, three major decisions, and a decision as they made a clean sweep of Indiana, 46-0, on Sunday afternoon at Rec Hall.

“I think our guys wrestled pretty well today,” said PSU coach Cael Sanderson. “We matched up pretty well with them. I think the matches were a little tougher than maybe the score indicated. We just want our guys to keep getting better and focusing on improvement. I think we’re seeing that. Some of our younger guys are opening up.”

Penn State beat the Hoosiers in takedowns, 35-0. The only points Indiana scored for the day were off escapes, and many of them were uncontested.

If there was a contest for quickest technical fall, Carter Starocci would have won it as he finished his bout with a time of 3:42 at 174 pounds. He beat out 197-pounder Aaron Brooks (3:56), 133-pounder Aaron Nagao (5:24), 157-pounder Levi Haines (6:06), and 149-pounder Tyler Kasak (6:59).

But it isn’t all about getting it done the quickest. Kasak, who was the Ridge Reilly Award winner for the meet, defeated 14th-ranked Graham Rooks, 15-0.

Sanderson said after the dual meet that there was a good chance that the freshman would burn his redshirt this season. Kasak has been starting for Shayne Van Ness, who is out for the season with an injury.

“We still have a couple guys that can wrestle at 49,” Sanderson said. “If there was any chance Shayne was coming back, I wouldn’t have announced it. He’s going to have surgery soon, and be ready to roll next year.”

The freshmen were a theme again on Sunday as Braeden Davis continued his dominance at 125 pounds with a 16-3 major decision over Indiana’s Michael Spangler. If he were to wrestle again in another dual meet this season, that would also burn Davis’ redshirt.

“We’re going to have to have some difficult discussions this week before we wrestle again,” Sanderson said.

Josh Barr also wrestled at 184 pounds in place of Bernie Truax. Like the rest of the lineup, Barr dominated in his Rec Hall debut with a 14-4 major decision of Roman Rogotzke.

Many of Barr’s teammates think he will be another factor in the Lions’ seemingly never-ending run of dominance throughout the college wrestling world.

“I just wrestled with Barr two days ago, and he went hard,” Brooks said. “He’s always challenging you to get better. He wants to get better. He doesn’t avoid anyone in the room. He’ll see the fruits of that.”

“I think he will be a multi-time national champion,” Starocci said. “He’s one of those kids that you kind of have to kill him because he’s going to keep coming after you non-stop. The first time I wrestle guys I want to see what their breaking point is, and he just never stops. When I have him as a practice partner, I think, ‘I have to work a little harder.’”

The only PSU wrestler that didn’t score bonus points was 141-pounder Beau Bartlett, who got an 8-1 decision on Indiana’s Danny Fongaro. Bartlett threw Fongaro to his back in the final 10 seconds, and had he had an extra 10 seconds, Bartlett probably would have picked up the fall.

Greg Kerkvliet finished the dual meet at 285 with a 14-2 major decision of Nick Willham.

Penn State is now 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten with Sunday as the first conference dual of the season. The Lions will have their first big test of the season at No. 13 Michigan on Friday night.

“Just like every opponent, we just want to keep sending messages,” Starocci said. “You’re going to see them multiple times. Just make sure they don’t want to wrestle you again. I think the big picture is always the same. Just focus on where you can get better.”

Penn State 46, Indiana 0

125 – Braeden Davis (PSU) maj. dec. Michael Spangler (I), 16-3. (4-0)

133 – Aaron Nagao (PSU) tech. fall Isaac Thornton (I), 19-4 5:24

141 – Beau Bartlett (PSU) dec. Danny Fongaro (I), 8-1. (12-0)

149 – Tyler Kasak (PSU) tech. fall Graham Rooks (I), 15-0 6:59. (17-0)

157 – Levi Haines (PSU) tech. fall Zack Rotkvich (I), 15-0 6:06. (22-0)

165 – Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU) won by injury default over Tyler Lillard (I).(28-0)

174 – Carter Starocci (PSU) tech. fall Robert Major (I), 19-4 3:42 (33-0)

184 – Josh Barr (PSU) maj. dec. Roman Rogotzke (I), 14-4. (37-0)

197 – Aaron Brooks (PSU) tech. fall Gabe Sollars (I), 19-4 3:56 (42-0)

285 – Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) maj. dec. Nick Willham (I), 14-2. (46-0)

Attendance: 6,466

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