The first session of the NCAA Tournament is in the books and Penn State had a perfect 9-0 session to kick off the dance. The Nittany Lions strutted their stuff and won seven of their nine matches by bonus points. This has allowed Penn State to open up an early lead on the rest of the pack.
The NCAA deciding to seed the entire field has helped out Penn State early. It allowed all of Penn State's high seed wrestlers to face the worst seeded wrestlers in the tournament. The result was pain for the lower seeds, and a lot of early abbreviated matches for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State got five pins in the opening round from Nick Lee, Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, and Anthony Cassar. The five pins were the most by any team in the competition.
Roman Bravo-Young had a slow start against Mario Guillen (Ohio) in the first round, but was able to turn it on late and won 8-2. He will get a rematch against No. 7 Austin Desanto (Iowa), who ended up winning his match by disqualification.
Brady Berge defeated Khristian Olivas 6-3 in a fairly comfortable match. Berge was able to win through his top game, and some early takedowns meant he was not under much pressure. He'll face No. 5 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) who wrestled a close match in the first round against Michael Sprague (American).
Mark Hall dominated Devin Kane (North Carolina) to a 10-2 major decision. The match was not even that close. Hall controlled the action on top and Kane was unable to get out from bottom unless Hall let him. Hall's second round opponent will be 2017 All-American Brandon Womack (Cornell).
Shakur Rasheed also won by major decision against Kevin Parker (Princeton), his match ended 11-2. There was a brief scare in the first period when Rasheed nearly pinned himself on a reversal, but he was able to gather himself and dominate this match from top. Parker was reversed in the first period, second period and third period. It's not that common to see three reversals, and Rasheed racked up 6 minutes in riding time. He will face No. 15 Chip Ness (North Carolina) in the second round.
Session 2 tonight will feature the second round in the championship bracket and the first round of the consolation bracket. Penn State will look to increase the advantage they have in Session 2, and they will have a good opportunity to do it.
Matchups for Session 2
- 133 pounds - No. 10 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 7 Austin Desanto (Iowa)
- 141 pounds - No. 3 Nick Lee vs. No. 19 Se'Derian Perry (Old Dominion)
- 149 pounds - No. 12 Brady Berge vs. No. 5 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton)
- 157 pounds - No. 1 Jason Nolf vs. No. 16 John Van Brill (Rutgers)
- 165 pounds - No. 2 Vincenzo Joseph vs. No. 15 Connor Flynn (Missouri)
- 174 pounds - No. 1 Mark Hall vs. No. 16 Brandon Womack (Cornell)
- 184 pounds - No. 2 Shakur Rasheed vs. No. 15 Chip Ness (North Carolina)
- 197 pounds - No. 1 Bo Nickal vs. No. 16 Josh Hokit (Fresno State)
- 285 pounds - No. 2 Anthony Cassar vs. No. 15 Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley)