Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Goes 6 for 6 in Semifinal Matches, has Chance to Make History in National Finals

Photo by Penn State Wrestling: Carter Starocci and Cael Sanderson

KANSAS CITY– Penn State wrestling has a chance to do something even Penn State wrestling has never done tomorrow night.

For the first time in the school’s history, six men will be in national championship matches. 

Beau Bartlett (141), Levi Haines (157), Mitchell Mesenbrink (165), Carter Starocci (174), Aaron Brooks (197) and Greg Kerkvliet (Heavyweight) will all be in national title bouts Saturday night, with the championship round set to begin at 7. 

Based on this, it should be easy to figure out that Penn State is also the team champion for the third year in a row and the 11th time in 13 seasons. With 148 team points, Penn State has already scored more than any other PSU team, and there’s still a day of competition left. No school anywhere has ever had six national champions, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

PSU had a realistic goal of getting all 10 of its starters to All-American status– something only the 2001 Minnesota Golden Gophers have accomplished– but settled for eight of 10, which isn’t too shabby. 

Here’s how it all happened. 

125: No. 1 Braeden Davis (Penn State Wrestling)

20-4 Overall Record

Davis 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.

He wrestled against Big 12 Champion No. 5 Wyoming sophomore Jore Volk (27-7) in the Round of 12 Friday night. 

Both wrestlers kept it close, finishing 1-1 after an escape. Davis and Volk then got into a big scramble in overtime, but Volk came out better, getting the takedown in sudden victory, 4-1.

Davis is done wrestling this season and misses out on All-American Status.

133 Pounds: No. 10 Aaron Nagao (Penn State Wrestling)

17-7 Overall Record

Nagao 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 then faced No. 17 Ohio State’s Nick Bouzakis. Bouzakis defeated Nagao in a 13-7 decision in their dual earlier this year.

This time around, Nagao won, 3-0, and now is one win away from being an All-American.

He faced No. 3 NC State redshirt junior Kai Orine (18-3) in the Round of 12.

Orine started with a takedown but got four near-fall points and an escape to go up 8-1 in the third period. Nagao got a takedown late, but Orine made a reversal and won an 11-4 decision after riding time.

Nagao’s season is over and he misses out on All-American status.

141 Pounds: No. 2 Beau Bartlett (Penn State Wrestling)

22-1 Overall Record

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 faced No. 6 North Carolina redshirt sophomore Lachlan McNeil (24-6) in the Semifinals.

In a close match, Bartlett was down 1-0 after two periods. He got a reversal and then two back points on top, and won a 5-1 decision after riding time.

He takes on No. 1 Ohio State sophomore Jesse Mendez in the Final Saturday night.

149 Pounds: No. 7 Tyler Kasak

21-5 Overall Record

Kasak then pinned No. 9 Cornell junior Ethan Fernandez Friday morning in the Second Round of Consolations in just under 40 seconds, to progress onward.

He faced off against No. 17 Indiana graduate student Graham Rooks (20-11) later on in the session. Kasak won that bout, on a major decision 13-3. 

Kasak battled No. 3 NC State sophomore Jackson Arrington (20-5) in the Round of 12.

Arrington started with a lead on a takedown and an escape, 4-1. Kasak would stay strong and made a takedown late into the second period and an early third period escape won him a 5-4 decision.

Kasak will wrestle No. 11 Rider redshirt senior Quinn Kinner later tonight. The winner has a chance for the Third Place match and the loser gets the Seventh Place match, both on Saturday.

157 Pounds: No. 1 Levi Haines

21-0 Overall Record

Haines 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.

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

Haines faces off against No. 2 Arizona State’s Jacori Teemer in the Final Saturday night, looking for his first National Title.

165 Pounds: No. 2 Mitchell Mesenbrink

25-0 Overall Record

Mesenbrink got a takedown in the second period against No. 10 Michigan redshirt senior Cameron Amine (16-8) in the Quarterfinals 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 (24-6) in the Semifinals Friday night. Mesenbrink won a 23-7 technical fall the last time out against Caliendo in the Big Ten Championships and a 12-6 decision back on Feb. 9. 

He continued that dominance in the series, winning a 17-9 major decision to make his first Final. Mesenbrink faces No. 4 Iowa State senior David Carr in the Final Saturday night.

174 Pounds: No. 9 Carter Starocci

15-2 Overall Record

Starocci had a great challenge with 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 defeated No. 4 Michigan graduate student Shane Griffith (17-4)in the Semifinals Friday night. He rode Griffith the entire second period for riding time and got an escape in the third period.

He faces No. 6 Ohio State first-year Rocco Welsh in the Final Saturday night.

184 Pounds: No. 6 Bernie Truax

16-5 Overall Record

Truax 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.

He 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 against No. 10 NC State redshirt first-year Dylan Fishback (20-8).

197 Pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks

In his semifinal match with Missouri’s Rocky Elam, Brooks dominates, leading 10-2 after two periods. He ends up tech falling Elam, 17-2.

20-0 Overall Record 

Brooks pinned No. 8 Oklahoma senior Tyler Buchanan (26-3) in the Quarterfinals at 2:44.

He takes on No. 12 Missouri junior Rocky Elam (14-3) in the Semifinals Friday night.

285 Pounds: No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet

18-0 Overall Record

Kerkvliet 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.

He won a close 1-0 decision against Feldman and will take on No. 4 Arizona State redshirt junior Cohlton Schultz (12-1) Friday night in the Semifinals. 

Schultz beat Kerkvliet in their last matchup, 14-8, back in the Round of 12 in the 2021 NCAA Championships.

More from Nittany Sports Now

Penn State Wrestling

0 For the past few weeks, plenty of wrestling fans have loed forward to the possibility of Penn State legend Carter Starocci competing against...

Penn State Wrestling

0 Bo Nickal hadn’t fought in than nine months but he picked up right where he left off. The Penn State wrestling legend who...

Penn State Wrestling

0 Penn State wrestling has lost a commitment from its 2024 Class. Mason Gibson, a star at Bishop McCourt who committed to Penn State...

Penn State Wrestling

0 Penn State wrestling legend David Taylor hasn’t had a chance to defend his Olympic gold medal yet. To make it to Paris, Taylor must...