No. 2 Penn State (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) got back to winning ways in Bethlehem against No. 14 Lehigh. The Nittany Lions won 23-10 in a tough dual that saw Aaron Brooks debut at 184 pounds and the return of No. 6 Brady Berge at 157 pounds.
|125 pounds||No. 11 Brandon Paetzell||Brandon Meredith||MD 15-5, Lehigh 4-0|
|133 pounds||No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young||Jaret Lane||Dec. 7-2, Lehigh 4-3|
|141 pounds||No. 3 Nick Lee||Joe Lobeck||TF 22-7, Penn State 8-4|
|149 pounds||Jimmy Hoffman||Jarod Verkleeren||Dec. 3-1, Penn State 8-7|
|157 pounds||No. 6 Brady Berge||No. 13 Josh Humphreys||Dec. 5-3, Penn State 11-7|
|165 pounds||No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph||Brian Meyer||Dec. 7-4, Penn State 14-7|
|174 pounds||No. 1 Mark Hall||No. 2 Jordan Kutler||Dec. 7-2, Penn State 17-7|
|184 pounds||Aaron Brooks||Chris Weiler||Dec. 10-5, Penn State 20-7|
|197 pounds||No. 15 Jake Jakobsen||No. 20 Kyle Conel||Dec. 3-1, Penn State 20-10|
|285 pounds||No. 1 Anthony Cassar||No. 10 Jordan Wood||Dec. 9-4, Penn State 23-10|
The debut of Aaron Brooks was a welcomed sight for Penn State fans. Brooks is a Cadet World Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist, and was the No. 2 prospect pound-for-pound coming out of high school. Brooks is an electric talent and did not get an easy matchup his first time out.
Chris Weiler is a very solid wrestler and he's a former NCAA qualifier. Still, Brooks was able to showcase his stuff and win a comfortable decision 10-5. Weiler did not make it easy for Brooks, especially when he was riding Brooks in the second period after Brooks chose to start from bottom. However, Brooks was able to get a reversal after being awarded two stall points. Brooks was up 10-3 in the third period and chasing a major decision, but Weiler was able to reverse a Brooks shot to prevent the major and finish the match 10-5.
First official takedown for Aaron Brooks pic.twitter.com/E2Sq7PsCeO— Willie Saylor (@MatScoutWillie) December 7, 2019
Following Brooks' debut, No. 20 Kyle Conel dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 15 Jake Jakobsen. Jakobsen is a tough rider and another just very sound wrestler. However, it was disappointing for Conel to not really get his offense going in this one. The pressure is going to be on Conel now, as Brooks is likely slated to be the starter for the rest of the year at 184. That means Shakur Rasheed could make a return to 197 pounds, where he was an All-American in 2018.
The other big news in this dual was the return of No. 6 Brady Berge at 157 pounds against No. 13 Josh Humphreys. Of note, Berge was wearing a headgear that had more padding and a thicker chinstrap following his knockout at the U-23 World Championships. Berge ended up winning 5-3 in an expected tight match. Humphreys and Berge both have good defense, but Berge's ability to counter won him the match. Berge nearly locked up a cradle in the third period, but Humphreys was able to fight out of it.
No. 1 Mark Hall beat No. 2 Jordan Kutler in a 7-2 match that Hall was mostly in control. Kutler was unable to escape on any of Hall's three takedowns. A big scare happened in the second period though when Kutler was able to get a takedown and nearly stuck Hall on his back.
No. 3 Nick Lee had a dominant performance against Joe Lobeck. Lee was able to show off his diverse offense in this one and controlled this match entirely. No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young had a strong performance in a 7-2 win over Jaret Lane. No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph wrestled a tight match against Brian Meyer, but ultimately won a comfortable 7-3 decision. No. 1 Anthony Cassar also won a comfortable decision against No. 10 Jordan Wood, and he still looks like the man to beat at heavyweight.
Brandon Meredith filled in at 125 pounds for Brody Teske. The word on the radio broadcast was Teske is banged up right now and they didn't want to risk him. Meredith has had a good season so far and has earned the right to be the 125-pound backup. He did drop a 15-5 major decision to No. 11 Brandon Paetzell, but he also battled hard.
Jarod Verkleeren dropped a disappointing 3-1 decision to Jimmy Hoffman. Verkleeren just never got any offense going really and gave up a match deciding takedown with two seconds left in the third period. It will be interesting to see if Luke Gardner gets a chance to start on Sunday.