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Penn State Wrestling Advances Six to Semifinals At NCAA Championships

by on March 22, 2019 2:54 PM

PITTSBURGH — After a few hiccups on Thursday night, Penn State wrestling returned to full strength on Day Three of the NCAA Championships, going 6-0 in the quarterfinals and keeping one more alive in the consolation bracket. The team is guaranteed to finish with at least six All-Americans.

The Nittany Lions lost their lead early in the session, falling as many as 7.5 points behind Ohio State, but a dominant run allowed them to pull back ahead of the field. At the end of the quarterfinals, Penn State sits in first place with 80 points, ahead of Ohio State (66.5), Oklahoma State (56), and Iowa (43).

How It Happened

After falling to No. 7 Austin DeSanto on Thursday night, No. 10 Roman Bravo-Young kicked off Day Two for the Nittany Lions. He got a tough draw in the consolation bracket, matching up with No. 9 Chas Tucker of Cornell. After falling behind 1-0 in the second period due to a penalty, Bravo-Young took control of the bout with an escape and takedown. Bravo-Young tacked on another takedown and a riding point en route to a 6-3 win and to stay alive in the tournament.

In his next wrestleback bout, Bravo-Young got a first period takedown and a pair of escapes to hold off No. 15 Ben Thornton of Purdue for a 3-1 decision. Bravo-Young will need one more win to earn All-American status and can still finish as high as third.

No. 3 Nick Lee met No. 22 Max Murin of Iowa in the quarterfinals of the 141-lb. bracket. The two were tied 1-1 entering the final minute of the bout, but Lee registered a clutch takedown with 50 seconds to go and rode out Murin for the remainder of the match for the 4-1 decision. Lee’s win clinched him All-American status for the second time in his career.

No. 12 Brady Berge advanced in the consolation bracket with a 5-2 win over No. 27 Tejon Anthony of George Mason, but saw his season come to an end with a 4-2 sudden victory loss to No. 20 Thomas Thorn of Minnesota as the Golden Gopher got a takedown after a wild scramble. in the final seconds The Nittany Lion ends redshirt freshman season with a 20-5 record, going 2-2 at the championships

No. 1 Jason Nolf picked up right where he left off on Thursday night in the 157-lb. quarters. He earned a 23-6 technical fall after taking No. 9 Christian Pagdilao of Arizona State down seven times.

With less than a minute to wrestle, Nolf needed a pair of takedowns in order to secure a technical fall. And in true Jason Nolf fashion, he got that and more, adding on a pair of near-fall points to blow the gap open even more.

No. 2 Vincenzo Joseph faced a familiar foe in the 165-lbs. quarterfinals: No. 7 Isaiah White of Nebraska. The two were rivals in high school, but Joseph has held the upper hand in their college meetings. He beat White in sudden victory last year in the NCAA Championships and 2-0 during their regular season meeting.

It was more of the same in the quarters on Thursday. Joseph pulled out another sudden victory decision against White, winning 3-1 off a takedown. While Joseph was punching his ticket to the semifinals for the third straight year, he got some good news from one mat over. No. 1 Alex Marinelli, who has beaten Joseph twice in the last two years, fell to No. 8 Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech.

No. 1 Mark Hall became the fourth Nittany Lion to earn a spot in the semifinals when he held off No. 8 Taylor Lujan for a 5-3 decision. Hall broke a 2-2 tie with a reversal midway through the third period and added on a riding time point for the win.

No. 2 Shakur Rasheed started off the day in the consolation bracket with a 9-1 major decision against No. 17 Andrew McNally of Kent State. After a third-period meltdown against No. 15 Chip Ness of North Carolina, Rasheed bounced back with a commanding win in which he recorded four takedowns and clocked more than four minutes of riding time.

But in his next bout, Rasheed would be eliminated from the tournament, dropping a 4-2 decision to No. 26 Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State. Geer took a 1-0 lead into the third period, but a Rasheed reversal and Geer escape knotted the score at 2-2. Just before time ran out, Geer got a takedown that stood after a review. Rasheed ends the season with a 20-2 record.

For the first time during this year’s NCAA Championships, an opponent made it out of the first period against No. 1 Bo Nickal No. 8 Nathan Traxler of Stanford went the distance against Nickal, losing 14-4.

Nickal registered five takedowns in the win. He also came close to recording his third first-period fall of the tournament when he took Traxler to his back with an acrobatic turn. Instead of a fall, though, Nickal came away with two near-fall points.

With their wins, Nickal and Nolf both solidified their standings as four-time All-Americans.

No. 2 Anthony Cassar wrapped up a 6-0 run in the quarterfinals for Penn State against No. 7 Trent Hillger. Cassar won 4-0 after controlling Hillger for the entire seven minutes. A third-period rideout clinched the win for Cassar, who becomes an All-American at his first NCAA Championships.

Action at PPG Paints Arena resumes at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.

What’s Next

No. 10 Roman Bravo Young vs. No. 4 Micky Philippi (Pitt)
No. 3 Nick Lee vs. No. 2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State)
No. 1 Jason Nolf vs. No. 5 Hayden Hidlay (Nebraska)
No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph vs. No. 3 Joshua Shields (Arizona State)
No. 1 Mark Hall vs. No. 4 Myles Amine (Michigan)
No. 2 Shakur Rasheed vs. No. 26 Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State)
No. 1 Bo Nickal vs. No. 4 Patrick Brucki (Princeton)
No. 2 Anthony Cassar vs. No. 3 Gable Steveson (Minnesota)

Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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