Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Puts 9 in Big Ten Semifinals

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

Penn State wrestling is putting on a show at the Big Ten Championships in College Park, Maryland this weekend.

Of the 10 wrestlers Penn State sent to Maryland, nine are going to the Big Ten semifinals later tonight, and thus, nine have punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships, which are March 21-23 in Kansas City.

Oddly enough, the one Penn State wrestler who won’t compete in the semis is the one who isn’t only arguably Penn State’s best overall wrestler, but possibly the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the country when healthy.

Unfortunately, Carter Starocci isn’t fully healthy  and thus injury defaulted out of his quarterfinal matchup with Minnesota’s Andrew Sparks. Assuming Starocci does the same with his later matches, he’ll have to get into the NCAA Championships— which he’s won three years in a row— with an at-large bid. Starocci was injured in Penn State’s last dual meet of the season, which took place Feb. 26 against Edinboro in Rec Hall.

Starocci news aside, Penn State wrestling had a great day.

At 125, Braeden Davis got into the semis and punched his ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an easy win over Illinois’ 11th-seeded Justin Cardini (11-1 major decision) and then a difficult one over Wisconsin’s Eric Barnett, seeded third. Davis got a thrilling 7-6 win in sudden victory.

Aaron Nagao had a similar story at 133. The No. 5 seed pounded No. 12 Andrew Hampton of Michigan State 11-0 in the first round, then held on for a 4-3 win over Nebraska’s Jacob Van Dee, seeded fourth, in the quarterfinals. At 141, top-seeded Beau Bartlett only had to wrestle one match, but won it 4-2 over Michigan State’s Jordan Hamdan. In the next weight class, Tyler Kasak showed that Penn State has more than one star true freshman.

He pinned Northwestern’s Aidan Vandenbush in the first round, than got a 15-3 tech fall over sixth-seeded Dylan D’Emilio in the quarterfinals to advance to the semis.

In the next weight class, defending Big Ten champ and national runner-up Levi Haines lived up to his top seed by majoring Northwestern’s Trevor Chumbley 12-0.

At 165, Mitchell Mesenbrink, wrestling in his first Big Ten tournament after redshirting his freshman season at Cal-Baptist, got a bye due to being the No. 2 seed than won his quarterfinal matchup by pinning Minnesota’s Blaine Brenner.

It was also the first Big Ten tournament for Bernie Truax, who transferred from Cal Poly over the offseason. At 184, the third-seeded Truax got a tech fall over Maryland’s Chase Mielnik, then beat Michigan State’s Layne Malczewski, 12-7, in the quarterfinal.

In the next two classes, top-seeds Aaron Brooks and Greg Kerkvliet did their things.

Penn State won’t have anybody wrestling in the early part of Session II, which consists of consolation matches and wrestle backs. They’ll have nine in the semis, which begin at 7.

Here are team standings:

Penn State— 83.5

Michigan— 70.5

Iowa— 57.5

Nebraska— 46.5

Minnesota— 34.5

Rutgers— 31.5

Ohio State— 28.5

Maryland— 20.5

Wisconsin— 17

Indiana— 16

Michigan State— 11.5

Illinois— 10.5

Northwestern— 7.5

Purdue— 4

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...