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Penn State Wrestling

LIVE: Penn State Wrestling Leads After First Session at the NCAA Championships (Day One)

Penn State Wrestling
Photo by Penn State Athletics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Penn State wrestling is competing at the NCAA Championships at the T-Mobile Center on Thursday on Day 1, which will see all 10 wrestlers battle to get a spot in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Nittany Sports Now will provide coverage throughout the weekend, and I, Dominic Campbell, will do so live from the arena, as I travel Thursday morning to make it in time for the opening matches and will cover Penn State wrestling throughout the weekend. This includes a post with live updates for each day, interviews with wrestlers and head coach Cael Sanderson, as well as posts on big moments throughout the weekend.

Penn State Wrestling is first in the teams’ standings, 18.5 points.
No. 2 Ohio State at 17.0 points
No. 3 Nebraska at 16.0 points
No. 4 Michigan at 15.0 points
No. 5 Iowa State at 13.5 points

125 Pounds: No. 1 Braeden Davis
20-2 Overall Record

Davis won an 8-1 decision over No. 33 Michigan State senior Tristan Lujan in the Round of 32.

He faced No. 17 Cornell sophomore Brett Ungar (18-8) in the Round of 16 in their first ever matchup.

Davis excelled in the match by escaping early in the second period and riding Davis for long enough to ensure a 2-1 decision after riding time.

He faces No. 8 Arizona State redshirt sophomore Richard Figueroa (14-5) in the Quarterfinals Friday morning, their first match against each other.

133 Pounds: No. 10 Aaron Nagao
15-6 Overall Record

No. 23 Virginia Marlon Yarbrough (16-7) upset No. 10 Penn State Aaron Nagao at 133 pounds, winning a 13-5 major decision after riding time. Yarbrough made four takedowns on Nagao.

Nagao then dominated No. 26 Missouri redshirt first-year Kade Moore (11-6) in the Consolations, a 16-1 technical fall at the end of the second period.

He faces No. 24 Arizona State redshirt junior Julian Chlebove (19-9) in the Consolations Friday morning in their first ever matchup.

141 Pounds: No. 2 Beau Bartlett
20-1 Overall Record

Bartlett took on No. 31 Maryland sophomore Kal Miller (12-11) in the Round of 32. Bartlett defeated Miller this season in an 11-1 major decision and 5-2 last season.

The match was much closer than people expected, but Bartlett would pull out the 4-1 decision on a late takedown.

He then wrestled close No. 15 Rutgers graduate student Mitch Moore (16-6) in the Round of 16, in their first ever matchup.

Bartlett would make the takedown and then pin Moore at the 5:49 mark.

He takes on No. 26 Minnesota redshirt sophomore Vance Vombaur in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

149 Pounds: No. 7 Tyler Kasak
15-4 Overall Record

Kasak lost to No. 26 Stanford redshirt senior Jaden Abas (17-7) in the Round of 32 on a 4-2 decision. Abas used a takedown and great defense to defeat Kasak and make it to the Round of 16.

Kasak became the second student-athlete for Penn State wrestling to enter the Consolations.

He came back with a 14-5 major decisionover No. 23 Minnesota redshirt sophomore Drew Roberts (19-10) in the Consolations.

Kasak faces No. 9 Cornell junior Ethan Fernandez Friday morning.

157 Pounds: No. 1 Levi Haines
19-0 Overall Record

Haines dominated No. 32 Ohio State senior Isaac Wilcox (21-11) in the Round of 32, winning on a 17-2 technical fall (7:00) after riding time. This is the second victory for Haines against Wilcox this season, getting a 11-3 major decision against him on Feb. 2.

He faced No. 16 Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore Teague Travis (21-5) in the Round of 16, which served as their first bout against each other.

Haines had no issue with Travis, winning on technical fall again, 19-4 (6:42), to make it to the Quarterfinals. He will take on No. 8  Nebraska junior Peyton Robb Friday morning for a spot in the Semifinals. Haines holds a 3-0 record against Robb.

165 Pounds: No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink
22-0 Overall Record

Mesenbrink defeated No. 31 Northwestern redshirt junior Maxx Mayfield (15-16) on a technical fall, 18-3 (5:33) in the Round of 32.

He took on No. 15 Binghamton junior Brevin Cassella (29-7) in the Round of 16. Mesenbrink defeated Cassella on a technical fall 25-6 (6:55) back at the Army Black Knight Invite on Nov. 19.

Mesenbrink won an 11-3 major decision over Cassella to move onto the Quarterfinals. He’ll face No. 10 Michigan redshirt senior Cameron Amine on Friday morning, who he defeated in an 11-1 major decision in January.

174 Pounds: No. 9 Carter Starocci
13-2 Overall Record

Starocci looked to defend his title at 174 pounds with a matchup against No. 24 Minnesota senior Andrew Sparks (10-8) in the Round of 32. Starocci injury defaulted against Sparks at the Big Ten Championships.

Sparks started out with a takedown, but Starocci got back to wrestling at his best with two moves that got him four back points each, to take an 8-3 lead. He would get one more takedown and held on for a 12-6 victory.

Starocci will face No. 8 Cal Poly graduate student Adam Kemp (17-3)  in the Round of 16. Starocci defeated Kemp in the Round of 16 back at the 2022 NCAA Championships, en route to his second National Title at 174 pounds.

He suffered an early takedown, but countered with one of his own and stayed strong defensively to win a 5-3 decision against Kemp.

Starocci faces No. 1 Virginia Tech redshirt fifth-year Mekhi Lewis in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

184 Pounds: No. 6 Bernie Truax
15-4 Overall Record

Truax dominated No. 27 Clarion redshirt senior Cameron Pine (23-8) in the Round of 32, on a 18-3 technical fall at 5:10.

Truax took on No. 11 Missouri redshirt sophomore Colton Hawks (17-6) in the Round of 16. In a close match, Truax pulled it out 4-2 to make the Quarterfinals.

No. 3 Oklahoma State Dustin Plott will serve as the opponent for him in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

197 Pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks
18-0 Overall Record 

Brooks destroyed No. 33 Northwestern redshirt sophomore Evan Bates (13-14)  in the Round of 32, 19-4 on technical fall (5:25).

He then pinned No. 17 Wyoming first-year Joseph Novak (23-12) in the Round of 16 to make it to the Quarterfinals.


285 Pounds: No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet
16-0 Overall Record

Kerkvliet obliterated No. 32 Indiana graduate student Nick Willham (13-11) in the Round of 32 on technical fall, 19-3 (5:17).

He faces a good challenger in No. 17 Navy senior Grady Griess (25-10) in the Round of 16, in their first matchup.

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