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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling: 10 Affiliated Wrestlers Still Have Shot at Olympics

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Aaron Brooks

UNIVERSITY PARK– Session I of the 2024 US Olympic Wrestling Trials at Penn State is in the box.

Here’s how current, former and future Penn State wrestlers have done thus far. 

Session II is set to begin at 6:30.

57 KG

Penn State wrestling commit Luke Lilledahl showed why he’s the top-ranked Class of 2024 pound-for-pound wrestler in the country.

He started the day by beating Daniel DeShazer, a two-time Division II national champ at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, 3-2.

After that, he took on Zane Richards (Illinois RTC) who took gold at the Pan American Games in Santiago last year. 

Lilledahl lost that one 5-3. But he bounced back in his final bout of the session to beat Nebraska’s Liam Cronin 2-2 on Criteria. Lilledahl will face Marcus Blaze, who’s also still in high school, in the consolation bracket. 

Blaze beat Nico Megaludis, who won a national title for Penn State in 2016, to get to this point. Megaludis previously lost to Iowa legend Spencer Lee 8-0, so his tournament is done. 

Thomas Gilman beat Forrest, 5-4 in the second round. He’ll take on Oklahoma State legend Daton Fix in the semis. 

 

65 KG

Beau Bartlett’s day got off to a good start with a 10-6 win over 2016 NCAA Champion and former Cornell star Nahson Garrett. But Bartlett ended up dropping his next two, first to 2023 national champion and former Northern Colorado star Andrew Alirez (6-2) and then to former Ohio State and Stanford wrestler Joey McKenna (3-2). Falling to McKenna was particularly frustrating for Bartlett because it ended his tournament, and also for the way it happened.

In the last seconds, Bartlett got what was initially ruled a takedown, but McKenna’s team threw a successful challenge brick, ending Bartlett’s Olympic dreams for now. 

Former Penn State wrestling star Nick Lee had a bye into the quarterfinals and took care of business against former Michigan wrestler Alec Pantaleo with a 9-2 win. Lee will take on Alirez for a spot in the finals later tonight.

74 KG

Vincenzo Joseph lost a tough one in his first bout, falling to former Missouri Tiger Jarrett Jacques 6-6 on criteria. Joseph’s tournament ended later in the day when he forfeited to Oklahoma State commit Ladarion Lockett. 

One of Penn State/NLWC’s biggest surprises may have been Alex Facundo.

Facundo took on teammate Levi Haines, who is less than a month removed from winning a national title at 157 pounds, and all he did was beat him 6-0.

Then, he took down USA Wrestling legend Jordan Burroughs to take a 2-0 lead but ended up falling 5-3 in a match closer than most would have expected. Unfortunately for Facundo, his weekend ended in the next match, where he fell to former Nebraska standout Tyler Berger, 5-5 on criteria. 

Haines went 0-2 on the day, falling to former Iowa wrestler Alex Marinelli 11-7 in the first consolation.

Before that, Marinelli fell to Penn State legend Jason Nolf in the quarterfinals 7-2. Nolf will go against Jacques in Session II.

As usual, Mitchell Mesenbrink scored a lot of points, dominating Lockett 11-3 and winning via tech superiority. Mesenbrink will take on Burroughs in what will be a highly-anticipated semifinal bout. 

 

86 KG

Carter Starocci beat former Iowa State national champ Pat Downey 10-4. But he then fell to former NC State star Trent Hidlay 6-4 in the quarters and forfeited out of his consolation bout with Evan Wick. Downey forefitted to former Penn State star Mark Hall in the first consolation round. 

Hall, who had a bye into the quarterfinals, fell 5-2 to Dieringer. 

Wick, a former multi-time All-American at Cal Poly, handled former Penn State national champion Max Dean in a 13-1 tech superiority. Dean then handled Penn State commit Connor Mirasola 12-2 in the consolation round. It was a tough draw for Mirasola, who lost his quarterfinal bout to Aaron Brooks, 11-5, although Mirasola impressed in a bout that featured him taking Brooks down. Brooks, who had a bye into the quarters, will take on three-time NCAA champ and fellow Hodge Trophy Winner Alex Dieringer in the semis Friday night. 

Mirasola also beat former Virginia Tech All-American David McFadden, 4-0 in the first round.

 

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Reigning NCAA heavyweight champ Greg Kerkvliet, who had a bye into the quarterfinals, took care of former Nebraska All-American Christian Lance by tech superiority 10-0. He’ll take on two-time national champ and NC State great Nick Gwiazdowski in the semis.

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