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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling in 1st Place, 8 Quarterfinalists After Day 1 of NCAA Championships

Penn State Wrestling: Aaron Brooks
Photo by Penn State Wrestling: Aaron Brooks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Penn State wrestling continued their dominance across the sport, finishing in First Place and getting eight quarterfinalists after Day 1 of the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the T-Mobile Center.

PSU has 34.5 points after the first day, 10 more points than the next two teams in Iowa and Iowa State, who both have 24.5 points in second place and both Michigan and NC State have 22.0 points in fourth place.

No. 1 Braeden Davis (22-2) won an 8-1 decision over No. 33 Michigan State senior Tristan Lujan (18-16) to start things off for Penn State wrestling in the Round of 32 at 125 pounds.

Davis then excelled in his next match against No. 17 Cornell sophomore Brett Ungar (18-8) in the Round of 16, 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.

No. 2 senior Beau Bartlett (21-1) took on No. 31 Maryland sophomore Kal Miller (12-12) in the Round of 32 at 141 pounds. 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 (18-8) in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

No. 1 sophomore Levi Haines showed his dominance for Penn State wrestling at 157 pounds on Thursday.

He defeated No. 32 Ohio State senior Isaac Wilcox (21-11) in the Round of 32 and then redshirt sophomore Teague Travis (21-5) in the Round of 16, both on technical falls.

Haines faces No. 8 Nebraska junior Peyton Robb Friday morning for a spot in the Semifinals. Haines holds a 3-0 record against Robb, including a 10-3 decision back in the dual on Feb. 18.

No. 2 redshirt first-year Mitchell Mesenbrink defeated No. 31 Northwestern redshirt junior Maxx Mayfield (16-16) 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, who he defeated 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 (16-7) on Friday morning, who he defeated in an 11-1 major decision in January.

No. 9 senior Carter Starocci looked to defend his title at 174 pounds with a matchup against No. 24 Minnesota senior Andrew Sparks (11-8) 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. He defeated Lewis, 6-5 in tiebreakers in the 2022 National Title match.

No. 6 BrenTruax 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 senior Dustin Plott (29-3) will serve as the opponent for him in the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

No. 1 Aaron Brooks is looking for his fourth straight National Title for Penn State wrestling, and his first at 197 pounds.

He put on a show on Thursday, destroying No. 33 Northwestern redshirt sophomore Evan Bates (13-15) in the Round of 32, 19-4 on technical fall (5:25). Brooks then pinned No. 17 Wyoming first-year Joseph Novak (23-12) in the Round of 16 to make it to the Quarterfinals.

Brooks will face No. 8 Oklahoma senior Tyler Buchanan (26-2) Friday morning.

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 takes on No. 9 Ohio State redshirt first-year Nick Feldman (26-6) in the Quarterfinals Friday morning. Kerkvliet is 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.

Two wrestlers for Penn State lost their Round of 32 match. No. 10 sophomore Aaron Nagao (15-7) lost a 13-5 major decision to No. 23 Virginia junior Marlon Yarbrough (16-8) at 133 pounds and No. 7 first-year Tyler Kasak (18-6) fell in a 4-2 decision to No. 26 Stanford redshirt senior Jaden Abas (17-8) at 149 pounds.

The two rebounded in the Consolation rounds, as Nagao dominated No. 26 Missouri redshirt first-year Kade Moore (11-6) with a 16-1 technical fall at the end of the second period and Kasak got a 14-5 major decision over No. 23 Minnesota redshirt sophomore Drew Roberts (19-10).

Nagao faces off against No. 24 Arizona State redshirt junior Julian Chlebove (19-9) and Kasak takes on No. 9 Cornell junior Ethan Fernandez (23-7), both on Friday morning.

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