UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 3-0 B1G), ranked No. 2 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, rolled over visiting Rutgers (7-3, 2-2) in sold out Rec Hall. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad used three pins to post a lopsided 38-6 victory over the Scarlet Knights in an ESPN2 national telecast.
Penn State won eight of ten bouts and picked up 14 bonus points in the victory. The dual, wrestled in front of nearly 6,500 fans, was Penn State's 53rd straight sellout in Rec Hall and the 58th of 60 at home (including five of seven in the Bryce Jordan Center).
The dual began at 125 where freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) lost a hard-fought decision to No. 16 Nicolas Aguilar, losing 10-4. Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 3 at 133, tied the dual with a thrilling 4-2 (sv2) victory over No. 9 Sammy Alvarez. Bravo-Young used a fast low shot to take Alvarez down in the final seconds of the second sudden victory period to grab the win and send the Rec Hall crowd to its feet.
Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, rolled over JoJo Aragona. Lee rolled up nearly 5:00 in riding time to go along with seven takedowns and a near fall, posting a 19-4 technical fall at the 7:00 mark to give Penn State an 8-3 lead. Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) made it three straight wins for Penn State, using three takedowns and an escape to post a 7-3 victory over Nick Santos at 149. With No. 4 Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.) still out of the line-up, junior Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) got the call once more at 157. Pipher battled Rutgers' Mike Van Brill into a tie-breaker period before dropping a tough 1-0 decision. The Van Brill win cut Penn State's lead to 11-6 at halftime.
Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, extended Penn State's lead right out of the gates in the second half. Joseph bolted out to a 15-3 lead before pinning Rutgers' Brett Donner at the 6:15 mark to give Penn State a 17-6 lead. Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 1 at 174, muscled his way to an 8-2 lead over Joseph Grello before receiving an injury default victory at the 6:37 mark, pushing Penn State out to a 23-6 lead
True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 8 at 184, thrilled the Penn State sellout crowd in the next bout. Brooks rolled out to a 5-0 lead in the second period before turning a low shot into a cradle and pinning Billy Janzer at the 4:36 mark. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 20 at 197, continued his late-season progression with a dominating 6-0 win over No. 18 Jordan Pagano of Rutgers. Rasheed used a takedown and a reversal to open up a big lead and rolled to the victory. True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) closed out the dual in fine fashion. Nevills opened up 4-0 lead in the first period on a takedown and two back points and then finished off the day by pinning Alex Esposito at the 2:24 mark. Nevills' fall closed out the dual for the Nittany Lions, 38-6 winners.
Penn State rolled to a 24-3 edge in takedowns. Nine Nittany Lions did not give up a takedown in the dual. Penn State totaled 14 bonus points off three pins (Joseph, Brooks, Nevills), one injury default (Hall) and one tech fall (Lee).
Penn State is now 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten. Rutgers falls to 7-3, 2-2 in the Big Ten. Penn State begins a stretch of five-of-six Big Ten road duals in a 16-day span by visiting No. 7 Nebraska on Friday, Jan. 24, for a BTN nationally televised dual. Action begins at 7 p.m. Eastern / 6 p.m. Central in Lincoln, Neb.
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.
125: #16 Nicolas Aguilar RU dec. Brandon Meredith PSU, 10-4 0-3
133: #3 Roman Bravo-Young PSU dec. #9 Sammy Alvarez RU, 4-2 (SV2) 3-3
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU tech fall JoJo Aragona RU, 19-4 (TF; 7:00) 8-3
149: Jarod Verkleeren PSU dec. Nick Santos RU, 7-3 11-3
157: Mike Van Brill RU dec. Bo Pipher PSU, 1-0 (TB1) 11-6
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU pinned Brett Donner RU, WBF (6:15) 17-6
174: #1 Mark Hall PSU inj. def. Joseph Grello RU, Inj. Def. (6:37) 23-6
184: #8 Aaron Brooks PSU pinned Billy Janzer RU, WBF (4:36) 29-6
197: #20 Shakur Rasheed PSU dec. #18 Jordan Pagano RU, 6-0 32-6
285: Seth Nevills PSU pinned Alex Esposito RU, WBF (2:24) 38-6
Attendance: 6,485 (53nd straight sellout in Rec Hall, 58 of 60 overall including 5 of 7 in the BJC)
Records: Penn State (6-1, 3-0 B1G); Rutgers (7-3, 2-2)
Up Next for Penn State: Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at Nebraska, 7 p.m. Eastern / 6 p.m. Central (BTN)
125: Freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) took on No. 16 Nicolas Aguilar. The duo traded early shots in the middle of the mat as the first minute wound down. Meredith worked his way in on a low single at the 2:00 mark and finished off the takedown for an early 2-1 lead. Aguilar then worked a low single into his first takedown and a 3-2 lead with :55 on the clock. Meredith escaped and action resumed in neutral tied 3-3 with :30 on the clock. Aguilar notched a takedown as the period ended to lead 5-3 after the opening period. Aguilar chose down to start the second period and steadily worked his way to a reversal and a 7-3 lead with 1:30 on the clock. Aguilar controlled the action long enough to build his time edge over 1:00 and then finished the period on top to lead 7-3 with 1:27 in riding time after two periods. Meredith chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 7-4 score with 1:35 on the clock. Aguilar took a fast shot that Meredith was able to scramble away from, but the Knight was able to maintain control of the Lion's ankle and finished off a takedown to lead 9-4 with clinched riding time. Aguilar finished the period on top and posted a 10-4 decision with 2:24 in riding time.
133: Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 3 at 133, met No. 9 Sammy Alvarez. Bravo-Young controlled the action in the center circle, looking for an opening and shooting Alvarez back a couple times. The Lion sophomore forced Alvarez backwards for nearly 2:00 on the Nittany Lion logo. Alvarez faked a slight shot at Bravo-Young's right foot for his offensive move, took a second high single that Bravo-Young easily deflected and the opening period ended in a 0-0 tie. Alvarez chose bottom to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Alvarez took a low shot that forced a scramble in the middle of the mat that ended in a potentially dangerous call. Trailing bye one, Bravo-Young worked his way in on a single leg and nearly finished off a takedown on the edge of the mat with :20 on the clock. But action moved out of bounds and a reset was called. Trailing by one, Bravo-Young chose down to start the third period. The Lion sophomore quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie and the bout continued in neutral at the 1:40 mark. Bravo-Young used a high double to force a scramble that nearly ended in a takedown. But :40 of work led to no takedown and the bout moved to sudden victory. The sudden victory period had no takedowns and action moved to a first tie-breaker. Alvarez chose down for the first tie-breaker and Bravo-Young controlled him for all but the last two seconds. The late escape gave the Knight a 2-1 lead. Bravo-Young tied the bout with a quick escape and the bout moved to a second sudden victory period. The duo battled through the first :55 of the second sudden victory period and then, with just :05 left, Bravo-Young connected on a low single, turned it into a last second takedown and walked away with a thrilling 4-2 (sv2) victory.
141: Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met JoJo Aragona. Lee set the tempo early, controlling the action from neutral. The worked shoulder control into a takedown and an early 2-0 lead. Lee controlled the action from the top position, forcing Aragona's chest to the mat while looking for a chance to turn the Knight. With his riding time up over 1:00, Lee cut Aragona loose on a reset and went back to work on offense. Lee used arm control to force Aragona to the mat, picked up his second takedown and went back to work on offense. He forced Aragona into a stall and then finished the period on top to lead 4-1 with 1:40 in riding time after the opening stanza. Aragona chose down to start the second period. Lee cut the Knight loose and then quickly rolled through a high shot for a third takedown and a 6-3 lead with 1:21 on the clock. Lee added a fourth takedown and worked his time edge up towards 3:00. Lee nearly turned Aragona for back points but settled for a stall point and a 9-3 lead after two periods. Lee chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 10-3 lead. He picked up a fifth takedown and led 12-4, then added a sixth takedown to lead 14-4 with 1:10 on the clock. Lee turned Aragona for four back points and upped his lead to 18-4 with :40 on the clock. The Lion finished the period on top and, with 4:37 in riding time, posted the 19-4 technical fall at the 7:00 mark.
149: Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) took on Nick Santos. Verkleeren drew first blood with a takedown just :30 into the bout to open up a 2-1 lead. The Lion sophomore controlled the action in the middle of the mat, taking a number of shots and forcing Santos into defense. The Lion worked his way around behind Santos, moved down to leg control and finished off his second takedown to lead 4-1 with :47 on the clock. Santos worked his way to an escape with :30 left in the period, then took a shot that led to a scramble as the period wound down. Verkleeren fought off the late move and led 4-2 after the opening period. Verkleeren chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. The duo battled evenly in neutral for the next minute-plus. Verkleeren pressed on offense but Santos was able to step back and his defense kept the score at 5-2 after two periods. Santos chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-3 score. The Lion took a high shot at the 1:20 mark but Santos once again stepped away from the effort, keeping the bout close as the clock hit 1:00. Verkleeren had another high shot defended with :30 left to wrestled. He then countered a slight Santos shot for a final takedown and posted the 7-3 victory.
157: Junior Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) stepped in for No. 4 Brady Berge and took on Michael Van Brill. Pipher and Van Brill worked the middle of the mat for the first minute with neither wrestler finding an opening to score. Pipher stepped back from a slight Van Brill shot as the clock moved below the 1:40 mark. Each wrestler tried to gain upper body control before Pipher slipped down on a low single. The ensuing scramble ended in a stalemate and action continued in neutral tied 0-0 at :20. Tied 0-0, Van Brill chose down to start the second period. Pipher was able to control the Scarlet Knight from the top position and work the clock to the 1:00 mark. He forced Van Brill into a stall warning as the clock hit the :45 mark and then a reset was called with :32 in the period. Pipher was able to break Van Brill down once again, maintaining control for the final seconds to notch the second period rideout. Tied 0-0, Pipher chose down to start the third period. He fought off a turn attempt by Van Brill that the Rutgers corner challenged. The call was confirmed and action continued tied 0-0. Pipher nearly escaped at the :30 mark but action moved out of bounds, forcing a reset. Pipher was unable to break free of Van Brill's ride and the bout moved to a sudden victory period. The duo battled through a scoreless minute and Pipher chose down for the first tie-breaker session. The Lion could not escape. Van Brill quickly escaped in his tie-breaker session and then backed away from Pipher for :25 and escaped with a 1-0 (TB) win.
165: Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, met Brett Donner. Joseph scored quickly, taking Donner to the mat for a quick 2-0 lead. He nearly turned the Knight on the initial takedown but settled for :40 in riding time before cutting him loose too a 2-1 score. Joseph picked up a second takedown to go up 4-1 with 1:39 on the clock. Joseph cut Donner loose on a reset, fought off a slight shot and then went back to work on his feet. He picked up his third takedown to open up a 6-2 lead with 1:00 on the clock and went to work on top, building his riding time edge up over 1:30 while looking for a chance to turn Donner for back points. Joseph finished the period on top and led 6-2 with 1:47 in riding time after one period. Joseph chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 7-2 lead. He picked up a fourth takedown and led 9-2 then forced a first stall at the 1:00 mark. Joseph picked up a stall point as the period ended and led 10-2 with 3:06 in riding time. Donner chose neutral to start the third period but Joseph quickly took the Knight down and led 12-2 with 1:45 on the clock. Joseph cut Donner off a reset and picked up another stall point to lead 13-3 with 1:08 to wrestle. Joseph rolled through a hard low shot and took a 15-3 lead. He quickly turned Donner to his back and picked up the fall at the 6:15 mark.
174: Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 1 at 174, took on Joseph Grello. Hall muscled Grello to the mat from his feet in the opening :40 to take an early 2-0 lead. The Lion senior then put together a strong ride, controlling Grello for over 1:00. Hall broke Grello down in the middle of the mat and spent the next minute-plus padding his riding time edge. Grello escaped to a 2-1 score with :25 on the clock and Hall moved through a late takedown to lead 4-1 after the opening stanza. Hall chose down to start the second period and deftly scrambled his way to a reversal and a 6-1 lead with 1:30 on the clock. Hall maintained offensive control as the clock moved below the :30 mark. Grello was unable to break free of a strong Hall ride and the Lion senior carried the 6-1 lead with clinched riding time (3:06) into the final period. Grello chose down to start the third period and Hall cut him loose to a 6-2 score. Hall continued to shoot but Grello was able to play defense as the clock moved below :30. Hall took Grello down and the Knight called for an injury timeout on the move with just :22 on the clock. The Scarlet Knight could not continue and Hall, leading 8-2 at the time, received the injury default win at the 6:37 mark.
184: True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 8 at 184 met Billy Janzer. Brooks and Janzer battled through the first half of the opening period evenly, with neither wrestler finding an opening. Brooks fought off two solid Janzer shots. Brooks countered with a series of his own shots that Janzer was the equal to. With time running out in the period, Brooks quickly slipped behind Janzer and worked the Knight to the mat to post a late takedown and lead 2-0 after the opening stanza. Brooks chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Brooks continued to set the tempo on offense, forcing Janzer into defense. The Lion forced a stall warning, then a turned a low ankle shot into a cradle. After a quick reset for control, Brooks picked up the pin, getting the fall over Janzer at the 4:36 mark.
197: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 20 at 197, battled No. 18 Jordan Pagano. Rasheed shot quickly, gaining control of Pagano's left leg and notching a quick takedown to lead 2-0 in the opening seconds. The Lion went to work on top, building up over 1:00 in riding time while controlling the Scarlet Knight as the clock moved below the 1:30 mark. Rasheed forced Pagano into a stall warning with 1:10 on the clock and then continued to work the Scarlet Knight and build up his riding time cushion. Rasheed finished the period on top and led 2-0 with 2:38 in riding time after the opening stanza. He chose down to start the second period. Pagano was able to control the action for the first minute-plus but gave up a stall point in the process. Rasheed then deftly reversed Pagano on a reset to up his lead to 5-0. The Lion finished the period on top and carried that lead, with 2:20 in riding time, into the third period. Pagano chose neutral to start the final stanza. Rasheed countered a slight Pagano shot at the 1:30 mark, forcing a reset. He stepped back from a Pagano shot off the whistle then went to work on his feet. Rasheed slid behind a Pagano shot and appeared to take the Knight down on the edge of the mat. No takedown was awarded and Penn State challenged the non-call. No takedown was given after the review and action resumed in neutral. Rasheed scrambled for a late takedown to get a major but settled for the 6-0 victory over the 18th-ranked Pagano with 2:20 in riding time.
285: True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) met Alex Esposito. Esposito took a quick shot and forced a scramble that led to Nevills working the Knight to the mat for a takedown and two back points. Leading 4-0 with 2:00 left, Nevills then went to work on top, building up a riding time edge on the Rutgers sophomore. Nevills turned Esposito to his back but was not awarded any near fall points at the 1:20 mark. He reset himself, turned the Knight once more and tacked on four fall points to upon up an 8-0 lead. The Lion freshman then finished off the dual meet in style, stacking Esposito's shoulders to the mat and getting the pin at the 2:24 mark.