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Penn State Wrestling Pulls Away for Big Road Win over Wisconsin

by on February 07, 2020 11:34 PM

After a back-and-forth start, No. 2 Penn State wrestling found its stride and rattled off five consecutive wins against No. 4 Wisconsin to leave Madison with a 29-10 victory on Friday night. Mark Hall led the way with a fall, and Jarod Verkleeren pulled off an upset in the win.

How It Happened

The dual began at 125 lbs. with Brandon Meredith facing Eric Barnett of Wisconsin. After the two battled through a scoreless first period, Barnett managed to take control of the bout. He rode out Meredith in the second period and then scored three points off an escape and a takedown in the third to win 4-0 and give the Badgers an early 3-0 lead.

The match of the evening followed as No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young challenged No. 1 Seth Gross. Gross started the bout off with a bang as he took down Bravo-Young and scored two near-fall points. With Gross looking for the fall, Bravo-Young fought him off and scored a reversal to narrow the margin.

However, that early flurry by Gross ended up being enough for him to hold off Bravo-Young. The Penn State sophomore rallied with a second-period takedown and a riding time point to launch a comeback effort, but his last-second takedown attempt was waved off, handing him his first loss of the season. After the match, he appeared to gesture to Gross with his fingers how close he was to winning with a takedown. The tight 6-5 decision extended Wisconsin’s lead to 6-0.

No. 2 Nick Lee got the Nittany Lions on the board in the next bout as he majored No. 4 Tristan Moran in dominant fashion, winning 14-1. Lee racked up six near-fall points, as he asserted himself against another top-five wrestler. More importantly, it cut the team score to 6-4 and started a run in which Penn State won seven of the last eight bouts.

Jarod Verkleeren followed with a big win of his own as he used a late third-period takedown to upset No. 13 Cole Martin 3-2. After a scoreless first period, the two 149-pounders traded escapes in the following periods before Verkleeren came up big with the winner. Martin managed to escape, but couldn’t muster anything else, as Penn State jumped ahead 7-6.

Wisconsin answered with a win at 157 lbs. Garrett Model majored Bo Pipher 13-4 in a bout in which he registered five takedowns. Model’s win pushed the Badgers back ahead with a 10-7 edge at the break.

When wrestling resumed, No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph met No. 4 Evan Wick. Like Lee, Joseph proved just how wide the gap is between him and the rest of the top five at his weight. The two-time national champion majored Wick 8-0, scoring two takedowns and a reversal. In doing so, Joseph pushed Penn State back ahead 11-10.

From there, the Nittany Lions never looked back.

No. 1 Mark Hall kept the balling rolling as he pinned Jared Krattiger to give Penn State a commanding 17-10 lead with three bouts remaining. No. 8 Aaron Brooks followed with a gritty 3-2 win over No. 23 Johnny Sebastian. Brooks broke a 1-1 tie with a third-period takedown and held off a late comeback attempt by Sebastian for yet another impressive win against a ranked opponent.

After a tough month of January, No. 18 Shakur Rasheed looked like his old self against Taylor Watkins. Rasheed took Watkins down seconds into the match and rode him out for the entirety of the period, attempting to pin him with his signature cradle. Unable to secure the first-period fall, Rasheed stayed in control for the remainder of the bout, winning 6-0.

Wisconsin forfeited the heavyweight match, giving Penn State the 29-10 dual win.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel from Wisconsin to Minnesota on Sunday for the end of its road trip. The dual against the No. 6 Golden Gophers will start at 2 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.

 



Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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