No. 3 Penn State wrestling (6-0) remained undefeated on the year with a 44-0 win against Maryland (0-8) on Monday Night in Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions managed to give up only two takedowns in the Senior Night dual meet and scored 14 bonus points as a team. Redshirt freshman Greg Kerkvliet won by fall in his debut for the Nittany Lions, a little less than two weeks after coach Cael Sanderson said he didn’t expect the heavyweight to compete this year. Luke Gardner also picked up a victory in his final match in Rec Hall.
How It Happened
The dual meet started off at heavyweight with Greg Kerkvliet making his dual meet debut for the Nittany Lions against Garrett Kappes of Maryland. Kerkvliet wasted no time getting started. He scored three takedowns within the first minute of the match and locked up a cradle to earn the first period fall. Kervliet’s quick pin start put the Nitanny Lions up 6-0.
At 125 lbs., freshman Robbie Howard faced off against Maryland’s Zach Spence . Howard racked up 12 points in the first period thanks to two takedowns and a pair of turns on top. Howard went on to get the pin in the second period to make the team score 12-0 Penn State.
No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young squared off against the Terrapins’ Jackson Cockrell in the 133-pound weight class. Despite giving up a first period takedown, Bravo-Young got out to a 13-8 lead heading into the second. Bravo-Young continued the takedown frenzy in the second and third periods to win by major decision 24-13. Bravo-Young’s 50th career win put Penn State ahead 16-0.
No. 2 Nick Lee followed at 141 lbs. going up against Maryland’s Danny Bertoni. Lee took a 9-0 lead going into the third period with nearly three minutes of riding time. Bertoni was no match for Lee’s tough riding ability as the Nittany Lion accumulated over four minutes of riding time in the bout. Lee’s 14-2 major put the team score at 20-0.
The fifth bout of night featured Beau Bartlett wrestling in his second straight match at 149 lbs., this time taking on Maryland’s Hunter Baxter. After a scoreless first two minutes, Bartlett hit a beautiful duck under along with a double leg to take a 4-1 lead into the second period. Thanks to his strong riding ability, he gained over two minutes of riding time to go on to win by decision 9-3. The Nittany Lions were up in the team score 23-0 heading into intermission.
After the break, senior Luke Gardner got the start at 157 lbs. for his last match in Rec Hall. Gardner and Maryland’s Michael Doetsch battled through the first two periods with the score tied at two points a piece heading into the final two minutes. In the third, Gardner got a takedown and transitioned into a cradle to score a six-point move. He was unable to secure the pin, but the big move gave Gardner an 8-2 win on his senior night. The victory increased Penn State’s lead to 26-0.
No. 14 Joe Lee got back in the winner’s circle in dominant fashion against Terrapin Jonathan Spadafora at 165 lbs. The freshman got out to an early 12-2 lead with a pair of takedowns and a few turns on top. Spadafora was no match as Lee was relentless on top, locking up a cradle and getting the pin in the third period. The pin put Penn State ahead 32-0 in the team score.
No. 5 Carter Starocci stayed hot against Phillip Spadafora of Maryland at 174 lbs. After giving up the first takedown of the match, Starocci would pick up the pace with a strong display of takedowns. The freshman took a 9-5 lead into the third period with just over two minutes of riding time. Starocci kept up the scoring in the third, getting an escape point and two more takedowns. With the riding time bonus point, Starocci won by major decision 15-6 and pushed Penn State’s lead to 36-0.
In the 184-pound match, No. 2 Aaron Brooks continued to dominate just as he’s done all year, winning by major decision 17-5 over Maryland’s Kyle Cochran. Brooks scored almost all of his points from his feet, notching eight takedowns and one bonus point for his riding time. The major increased Penn State’s team lead to 40-0.
In the final match of the night, No. 16 Michael Beard squared off against Jaron Smith of Maryland. Beard scored an early takedown in the first period but then gave up a reversal that tied the match 2-2 early. The redshirt freshman didn’t look back after that as he gave up two more points for the rest of the match, winning by major decision 13-4. The win gave Penn State the dual in a 44-0 shutout.
Penn State is next scheduled to host the Big Ten Championships March 6-7 at the Bryce Jordan Center.