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Penn State Wrestling

LIVE: Penn State Wrestling Day 2 at the NCAA Championships

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 Friday on Day 2, which will see eight wrestlers battle to get a spot in the semifinals.

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, 77.5 points.
No. 2 Michigan: 43.0 points
No. 3 Iowa: 40.5 points
No. 4 Iowa State: 38.5 points
No. 5 Arizona State: 37.5 points

125 Pounds: No. 1 Braeden Davis
20-3 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 faced No. 8 Arizona State redshirt sophomore Richard Figueroa (15-5) in the Quarterfinals Friday morning, their first match against each other.

Davis started the second period with an escape and had a 1-0 lead going into the third period. Figueroa would make a crucial reversal and rode him to establish riding time. Davis would make many shots and attempts to score, but Figueroa fended them off to win the 3-2 decision.

Davis will wait to compete in the Round of 12 tonight for a chance to earn All-American status.

133 Pounds: No. 10 Aaron Nagao
17-6 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 faced No. 24 Arizona State redshirt junior Julian Chlebove (19-9) in the Consolations Friday morning in their first ever matchup.

Nagao won the match with late back points on a 5-2 decision after riding time. He will face No. 17 Ohio State’s Nick Bouzakis later today. Bouzakis defeated Nagao in a 13-7 decision in their dual earlier this year.

Nagao would get revenge, winning a 3-0 decision after riding time against Bouzakis. He takes on No. 3 NC State’s Kai Orine (17-3) in the Round of 12 Friday night.

141 Pounds: No. 2 Beau Bartlett
21-1 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 took on No. 26 Minnesota redshirt sophomore Vance Vombaur in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

Bartlett kept it close with Vombaur, but got the late pin at 6:48 in the third period. He faces No. 6 North Carolina’s Lachlan McNeil (24-6) in the Semifinals Friday night.

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 then pinned No. 9 Cornell junior Ethan Fernandez Friday morning in just under 40 seconds, to progress onward.

He faced off against No. 17 Indiana graduate student Graham Rooks (20-12) later on in the session. He used three takedowns to win a 10-1 decision against Rooks and move on to the Round of 12 Friday night.

Kasak will face No. 3 NC State redshirt first-year Jackson Arrington (20-4).

157 Pounds: No. 1 Levi Haines
21-0 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 faced No. 8  Nebraska junior Peyton Robb Friday morning and defeated him in an 8-0 decision after riding time for a spot in the Semifinals.

Haines wrestles No. 12 Virginia Tech senior Bryce Andonian (20-5) in the Semifinals Friday night. Haines pinned Andonian in the Third Period of the Quarterfinals match last season at the NCAA Championships.

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 got a takedown in the second period against No. 10 Michigan redshirt senior Cameron Amine (16-8) on Friday morning. This is his second victory against him this season, as won an 11-1 major decision in January.

Mesenbrink faces off against No. 6 Iowa sophomore Mike Caliendo (24-5) in the Semifinals Friday night.

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 had a great challenge No. 1 Virginia Tech redshirt fifth-year Mekhi Lewis in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

A first period takedown for Starocci proved crucial, as Lewis failed to score, giving him a 4-0 decision and the upset.

Starocci battles No. 4 Michigan graduate student Shane Griffith (17-3) in the Semifinals Friday night.

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.

He took an early lead against No. 3 Oklahoma State Dustin Plott (30-3) in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning, but suffered an injury after Plott got a takedown on him.

Truax then struggled the rest of the match, as Plott won a 16-6 major decision to move on to the Semifinals.

With the loss, Truax will compete in the Round of 12 Friday night.

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.

Brooks pinned No. 8 Oklahoma senior Tyler Buchanan (26-3) in the Quarterfinals at 2:44. He takes on No. 12 Missouri’s Rocky Elam in the Semifinals Friday night.

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

No. 1 senior Greg Kerkvliet (18-0) starts his journey for his first National Title at heavyweight. He obliterated No. 32 Indiana graduate student Nick Willham (13-12) in the Round of 32 on technical fall, 19-3 (5:17) and then won a 9-1 major decision against No. 17 Navy senior Grady Griess (25-11) in the Round of 16.

He took on No. 9 Ohio State redshirt first-year Nick Feldman (26-6) in the Quarterfinals Friday morning. Kerkvliet came in 2-0 against Feldman, including a 12-0 major decision in the dual on Feb. 2 and a 9-3 decision back at the Big Ten Championships.

Kerkvliet won a close 1-0 decision against Feldman and will take on No. 4 Arizona State redshirt junior (12-1) Friday night.

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