Big Ten Wrestling Tournament Day 2 Recap: Hall and Brooks Earn Titles While Lee, Joseph, Bravo-Young Fall

By Rob Dougherty on March 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Mar 16, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Mark Hall reacts to defeating Mizzou Tigers wrestler Daniel Lewis during the NCAA Wrestling DI Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Penn State capped off the Big Ten Tournament with a fourth-place finish in the team race and two individual champions. The Nittany Lions qualified seven wrestlers for NCAAs, with Jarod Verkleeren securing his spot on Sunday in the ninth-place bracket. Here were the final team standings:

  1. Iowa - 157.5 points
  2. Nebraska - 132 points
  3. Ohio State - 112 points
  4. Penn State - 107 points
  5. Purdue - 83 points
  6. Northwestern - 79.5 points
  7. Michigan - 73 points
  8. Minnesota - 63.5 points
  9. Wisconsin - 62.5 points
  10. Michigan State - 57 points
  11. Illinois - 49 points
  12. Rutgers - 21.5 points
  13. Indiana - 14.5 points
  14. Maryland - 0 points

Iowa won the Big Ten title, as expected. Their depth was superior even though they crowned just one more individual champion than Penn State. Nebraska and Ohio State also had strong tournaments. The Huskers placed all ten of their wrestlers, while the Buckeyes placed eight. Their depth was able to carry them over the Nittany Lions, though it will probably be a much different story at NCAAs when Penn State's elite talent has a greater impact on the team race.

On Sunday, Penn State had five wrestlers in the finals, with Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, and Aaron Brooks. Things did not go according to plan as only Hall and Brooks were able to win their titles, while the rest lost in close matches. 

No. 2 Mark Hall was able to get revenge on No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) in an 8-5 decision. The match was 3-1 in Hall's favor in the second period, when the senior was able to score a takedown and two near-fall points to give him a 7-1 lead. Kemerer was able to get a takedown in the third, but it was not enough for a comeback. Hall should now enter NCAAs as the No. 1 seed.

No. 1 Aaron Brooks won his first Big Ten title and won Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He defeated No. 2 Cameron Caffey (Michigan State) with a third period takedown to win 3-2. Caffey is such an agile and strong athlete at 184 pounds that he can be a nightmare to finish takedowns on. Brooks undoubtedly has a more diverse attacking game, but Caffey's defense prevented Brooks from finishing on a number of occasions. Brooks' match-winning takedown came with about 20 seconds left. Caffey was overextended shooting low on Brooks, and the stud freshman was able to grab the far ankle and go behind to get the takedown he needed.

No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young lost to No. 5 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) by a final of 7-2. Bravo-Young scored the first takedown of the match, but Rivera was able to escape quickly. A late second-period takedown and rideout for Rivera made the match 4-2. Bravo-Young then could not escape from the bottom against Rivera in the third period and gave up two more near-fall points to seal the deal.

No. 1 Nick Lee lost to No. 2 Luke Pletcher in an exhilarating match, 6-5. Lee had a number of chances to score but Pletcher's defense was able to get the better of Lee. Pletcher was also ruthlessly efficient in taking his chances to score points. These two have been the best at 141 pounds, but Real Woods (Stanford) and Dom Demas (Oklahoma) are also going to be contenders at NCAAs.

No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph lost to No. 2 Alex Marinelli by a score of 3-2. It was yet another agonizingly close match, exactly the type of battle these two have become accustomed to engaging in with each other. Every second felt like a minute, and every minute an hour, but credit to Marinelli for getting the third-period takedown to win. These two should see each other again at NCAAs.

No. 6 Shakur Rasheed finished fourth, but ultimately medically forfeited in his third-place match with No. 3 Jacob Warner (Iowa). What Rasheed's condition going into NCAAs will be now is unclear. Jarod Verkleeren finished in ninth place and clinched his spot at NCAAs. He wrestled well and defeated No. 9 Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) and No. 5 Graham Rooks (Indiana).