Wrestling Recap: Nittany Lions Beat Northwestern and Indiana

By Rob Dougherty on February 1, 2021 at 11:23 am
Penn State's lone senior, Nick Lee, got off to a 2-0 start this season.
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

No. 3 Penn State started off their season going 2-0 in their tri-dual against Indiana and No. 16 Northwestern this past weekend. This was the case despite the fact that the Lions were without any 125-pounders (none were cleared to wrestle), Michael Beard (197), or Greg Kerkvliet (285).

No. 3 Penn State 24, Indiana 15

The Nittany Lions put together an uneven performance against the Hoosiers, in a match where Penn State looked rusty and did not reach its full potential. Ultimately, the Hoosiers wrestled well and kept a lot of matches close, so credit to them for making Penn State earn it.

Weight Result Team Score
125 Jacob Warner by default IU 6-0
133 No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young dec. Kyle Luigs, 11-8 IU 6-3
141 No. 2 Nick Lee tf Cayden Rooks, 16-1 PSU 8-6
149 Graham Rooks dec. No. 10 Jarod Verkleeren, 4-3 IU 9-8
157 No. 11 Brady Berge dec. Matt Ortiz, 5-2 PSU 11-9
165 No. 6 Joe Lee dec. Nick South, 8-4 PSU 14-9
174 DJ Washington dec. No. 5 Carter Starocci, 10-9 PSU 14-12
184 No. 3 Aaron Brooks maj. dec. Drayton Harris, 18-5 PSU 18-12
197 Nick Willham dec. Levko Higgins, 10-3 PSU 18-15
285  Seth Nevills pin Rudy Streck (1:14) PSU 24-15
No. 5 Carter Starocci Gets Upset in 1st Big Ten Bout

The main storyline coming out of this dual was the upset win at 174 pounds where DJ Washington defeated No. 5 Carter Starocci. The first period went horribly for Starocci and was what won Washington the match. Washington scored a big six-point throw, and after an escape by Starocci, scored another takedown and got two more nearfall points as Starocci was trying to scramble to his feet.

Despite being down 10-1, Starocci was able to get back into the match in the second period when he was on top. Washington chose bottom, and Starocci rode him for the entire period. Starocci also added six nearfall points and even earned a stall point for Washington's inactivity from the bottom. Starocci only trailed 10-8 entering the third, and seemed to have the momentum.

After an early escape to cut the lead to 10-9, Starocci stalked Washington for a takedown, but Washington's defense in neutral was very solid, and his frame made it tough for Starocci. There could be questions that Washington was stalling, and Starocci should have earned more stall points for it, but credit where it's due for Washington for wrestling well.

Penn State's Heavy Hitters Dominated

At 133 pounds, No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young won a decision 11-8 over Kyle Luigs. Luigs wrestled hard and made it tough for Bravo-Young, but the scoreline is a bit deceiving. Bravo-Young was chasing a major late in the third period when Luigs scored his only takedown of the match, all of Luigs' other points came from escapes. 

No. 2 Nick Lee got his season off to a strong start with a dominant tech fall over Cayden Rooks. Lee is so polished at this point, he's going to be contending for an NCAA title this year. No. 3 Aaron Brooks won by an 18-5 major decision at 184 pounds, and while Myles Amine (Michigan) remains the favorite this year, it would be foolish to count out Brooks at this stage. 

Other Notes
  • Penn State suffered an upset at 149 pounds when No. 10 Jarod Verkleeren lost to Graham Rooks. The loss for Verkleeren was disappointing because it seemed to follow a similar pattern to many of his close losses last season. He did not wrestle again on the day following his defeat. 
  • No. 11 Brady Berge made his return to action with a 5-2 win over a feisty Matt Ortiz. Berge was able to score an early takedown, but Ortiz's defense in neutral was impressive to prevent the score from getting out of hand. No. 6 Joe Lee made his debut and he wrestled very well against two-time Indiana state champion Nick South. Lee won 8-4 and wrestled a bit like his brother Nick did as a freshman. Lee will be a fun one to watch this year. 
  • Levko Higgins filled in for Michael Beard in this dual, but he was able to keep the match to a decision in a defeat against Nick Willham. Seth Nevills was able to clinch the dual for Penn State with a first period fall over Rudy Streck.
Extra Matches
Weight Result
174 Carter Starocci tech fall Robert Detars, 18-1
149 Luke Gardner pin Jonathan Kervin (:56)
165 Konnor Kraeszig maj. dec. Derek Glichter, 9-0
141 Beau Bartlett pin Jacob Moran (1:48)
149 Terrell Barraclough maj. dec. Jonathan Kervin, 8-0
174 Creighton Edsell dec. Robert Detars, 10-5
165 Konnor Kraeszig dec. Sammy Cokely, 13-7

No. 3 Penn State 29, No. 16 Northwestern 13

The Nittany Lions put together a much better showing against Northwestern, though Northwestern was also without star 157-pounder No. 2 Ryan Deakin.

Weight Result Team Score
125 No. 8 Michael DeAugustino by forfeit NW 6-0
133 No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young pin Dylan Utterback (3:48) Tied 6-6
141 No. 2 Nick Lee maj. dec. Frankie Tal-Shahar PSU 10-6
149 No. 20 Yahya Thomas dec. Terrell Barraclough, 3-2 PSU 10-9
157 No. 11 Brady Berge dec. Maxx Mayfield, 12-7 PSU 13-9
165 No. 6 Joe Lee dec. David Ferrante, 8-7 PSU 16-9
174 No. 5 Carter Starocci dec. Troy Fisher, 4-1 PSU 19-9
184 No. 3 Aaron Brooks tech fall Jack Jessen, 21-6 PSU 24-9
197 No. 11 Lucas Davison maj dec. Donovon Ball, 12-3 PSU 24-13
285 Seth Nevills tech fall Brendan Devin, 24-9 PSU 29-13
Bonus Points Carry Nittany Lions

Penn State won four matches by bonus, which was an improvement on what they were able to do versus Indiana. Bravo-Young won by fall, Nick Lee won by major, Brooks won by tech fall and Nevills won by tech fall. The Nittany Lions really were never in danger of losing this one, and bonus points are a big reason why. 

Carter Starocci Rebounds, Joe Lee Goes 2-0 On Day

Starocci wrestled against a solid opponent in redshirt freshman Troy Fisher and was able to pick up a fairly comfortable 4-1 decision. Starocci can learn from today, and it's nice for him to end it with a solid win.

Joe Lee finished his day with an 8-7 decision over David Ferrante. This match was exciting and a good learning experience for Lee. Lee was able to control Ferrante for the most part, though he did give up a takedown and a reverse. It wasn't perfect, but it doesn't need to be at this stage of the season. 

Other Notes
  • Terrell Barraclough substituted for Jarod Verkleeren against No. 20 Yahya Thomas, and the Bear Claw is a big guy for 149 pounds. He made things very difficult for Thomas but also wasn't able to get his own offense going. Thomas picked up a 3-2 win, but it was a solid performance from Barraclough. Donovan Ball filled in for Levko Higgins at 197 pounds and lost a major decision to a very tough opponent in No. 11 Lucas Davison. 
  • In terms of the extra matches on the day, it's important to note that Beau Bartlett was competing at 141 pounds and not 149. Bartlett went 3-0 on the day with one pin. If Bartlett comes into the PSU lineup, he may very well push Nick Lee up to 149, as opposed to going up to 149 himself. 
Extra Matches
Weight Result
141 Beau Bartlett dec. Colin Valdviez, 8-4
141 Beau Bartlett dec. Justin Benjamin, 10-4
141 Justin Benjamin maj. dec. Brandon Meredith, 18-5
149 Trevor Chumbley by default over No. 10 Jarod Verkleeren
149 Trevor Chumbley dec. Bo Pipher, 6-2
149 Luke Gardner tech fall Jamie Berg, 15-0
165 Konnor Kraeszig maj. dec. Ankhaa Enkmandakh, 10-2
174 Creighton Edsell dec. Jon Halvorson, 3-2
174 Creighton Edsell dec. Jadon Martin, 9-4

Penn State's Next Match

Penn State has rescheduled its postponed dual against Wisconsin for Tuesday, February 2 at 5:00 PM EST.

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