MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-1 B1G), ranked No. 2 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, rolled through No. 6 Minnesota (9-6, 4-3 B1G) in the Lions' final road dual of the season. Penn State won seven of ten bouts for the second time in three days and posted a convincing 31-10 victory in Minneapolis.
With marquee wins from Nick Lee at 141 and Mark Hall at 174, Penn State closed out its Big Ten dual meet season with a second lopsided road win. Penn State is wrapping up of a run of four-of-five road duals in 16 days, including action at Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. All rankings listed are InterMat, the official wrestling rankings of the Big Ten Conference.
The dual began at 125 where freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) received a forfeit victory to give the Nittany Lions an early 6-0 lead. Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, put on a takedown clinic in a 23-8 tech fall over Boo Dryden. Bravo-Young tallied 10 takedowns in the tech fall at the 6:29 mark.
Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, took on No. 5 Mitch McKee in one of the dual's most anticipated matchups. The Nittany Lion junior took care of things quickly however, taking McKee down midway through the first period, locking up a cradle and pinning the fifth-ranked Gopher at the 1:56 mark to put the Nittany Lions up 17-0. Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) batted No. 6 Brayton Lee for over 7:00 at 149 before dropping a hard-fought 7-5 (sv) decision to the sixth-ranked Gopher. Junior Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) moved up to 157 for the dual and nearly took down gopher Ryan Thomas, but a late counter takedown was the difference in a 5-4 Thomas victory. Penn State led 17-6 at intermission.
Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, dominated Gopher Bailee O'Reilly to open up the second half. Joseph rolled up five takedowns in a 14-5 major decision to put Penn State up 21-6. Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, then took on No. 8 Devin Skatzka and kept Penn State's winning ways going. Hall used three takedowns to win 7-4 over the eighth-ranked Gopher and Penn State led 24-6.
True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 7 at 184, the clinched the dual meet with a dominant 13-3 major over Minnesota's Owen Webster. Brooks' win put the Lions up 28-6 with two bouts remaining. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 18 at 197, held off a late rally from Gopher Garrett Joles and posted a 7-5 win with 3:32 in riding time. True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 15 at 285, took on No. 1 Gable Steveson in the dual's final matchup and dropped a 13-5 major. The Nittany Lions walked away with a second dominating road win in three days, 31-10 over the Gophers.
Penn State rolled up a lopsided 27-11 advantage in takedowns. Penn State won seven of ten bouts and picked up ten bonus points off a forfeit (Meredith), a pin (Lee), a tech fall (Bravo-Young) and two majors (Joseph, Brooks).
Penn State is now 10-2 overall, 7-1 in the Big Ten. Minnesota falls to 9-6, 4-3 in Big Ten action. Penn State hosts No. 3 Ohio State in the 2020 BJC Dual next Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The dual in the 16,000-seat arena will also be a BTN national telecast.
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: Brandon Meredith PSU won by forfeit 6-0
133: #2 Roman Bravo-Young PSU tech fall Boo Dryden MINN, 23-8 (TF; 6:29) 11-0
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU pinned #5 Mitch McKee MINN, WBF (1:56) 17-0
149: #6 Brayton Lee MINN dec. Jarod Verkleeren PSU, 7-5 (sv) 17-3
157: Ryan Thomas MINN dec. Luke Gardner PSU, 5-4 17-6
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU maj. dec. Bailee O'Reilly MINN, 14-5 21-6
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU dec. #8 Devin Skatzka MINN, 7-4 24-6
184: #7 Aaron Brooks PSU maj. dec. Owen Webster MINN, 13-3 28-6
197: #18 Shakur Rasheed PSU dec. Garrett Joles MINN, 7-5 31-6
285: #1 Gable Steveson MINN maj. dec. #15 Seth Nevills PSU, 13-5 31-10
Records: Penn State (10-2, 7-1 B1G); Minnesota (9-6, 4-3 B1G)
Up Next for Penn State: home vs. #3 Ohio State, Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., BJC (BTN)
125: Freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) received a forfeit victory at 125.
133: Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, faced off against Boo Dryden. Bravo-Young gave up an early takedown to fall behind 2-1 after a quick escape at the 2:40 mark. The Lion then went to work on offense and picked up two quick takedowns to open up a 5-3 lead with 1:48 on the clock. Bravo-Young chose neutral on the reset and quickly picked up a third takedown. He went on to post a total of five takedowns in the first period to lead 11-5. Dryden chose top to start the second period. And Bravo-Young escaped to a 12-5 lead and then went up 14-6 with another quick takedown and cut. Dryden forced a scramble at the :40 mark but Bravo-Young turned it into a stalemate. He finished off the period with another takedown and led 16-6 after two periods. Bravo-Young chose neutral to start the third period, forced a stall point and the picked up a quick takedown. The Lion sophomore added two more takedowns and posted the convincing 23-8 technical fall at the 6:29 mark.
141: Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met No. 4 Mitch McKee. Lee took an early high single that McKee was able to step back from. He continued to work his offense and, after fighting off a throw attempt by McKee, scrambled through the Gopher's effort for a takedown and a 2-0 lead at the 1:40 mark. He then locked up a cradle, turned the fifth-ranked Gopher to his back, and pinned him at the 1:56 mark.
149: Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) battled No. 6 Brayton Lee. Verkleeren battled Lee evenly for the opening minute, working for control in the middle of the mat. The duo stayed neutral as the clock moved to the 1:00 mark with neither man finding an opening on offense. Verkleeren got in on a high single at the :30 mark and steadily worked his way to a takedown and a 2-0 lead with :15 on the clock. He finished on top and led 2-0 after the opening period. Verkleeren chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead, forcing a stall warning along the way. He fought off a slight Lee shot off a reset and went back to work on offense. Verkleeren gave up a stall warning at :40 and the duo and then got in on a low single as the period ended but could not finish off the takedown. Trailing 3-0, Lee chose neutral to start the third period. Lee took a single at the 1:45 mark but Verkleeren forced a stalemate and a reset. Lee worked his way in on shoulder control, looking for a takedown with 1:20 left in the bout. Verkleeren scrambled his way out of trouble to stay neutral. Lee scored off a reset and cut the lead to 4-2 after a Verkleeren escape. Lee picked up a stall point and then took Verkleeren down to take a 5-4 lead. The Lion escaped to tie the bout and action moved to sudden victory. Lee worked his way in on a high shot and finished off the match with a takedown, posting a hard-fought 7-5 (sv) win over Verkleeren.
157: Junior Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) moved up to 157 and met Ryan Thomas. Gardner, wrestling up a weight, fought off an early Thomas shot and the bout continued in neutral for the opening minute. The Lion junior then shot low, grabbed both of Thomas' ankle, and took a 2-1 lead after a quick Thomas escape. Gardner continued to set the offensive tempo but Thomas got in on a low shot at the :30 mark. Gardner fought off the move for the rest of the period and led 2-1 after one period. Thomas chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Thomas worked his way in on a shot on the edge of the Minnesota mat and Gardner gave up a point on a potentially dangerous hold. Trailing 3-2, Gardner worked the middle of the mat, trying to break through Thomas defense but the clock hit 0:00. Trailing 3-2, Gardner chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-3 tie. The Lion worked his way in on a low single with 1:00 to wrestle, forcing a scramble on the Gopher logo. But Thomas was able to counter the effort and took a 5-3 lead with a takedown of his own. Gardner escaped at the :20 mark but Thomas was able to back away for the rest of the period and post a close 5-4 win.
165: Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, battled Bailee O'Reilly. Joseph came out and set a quick offensive pace, forcing O'Reilly to fight off a myriad of shots in the opening minute. The Lion senior got his first takedown with 2:13 on the clock and led 2-1 after a quick O'Reilly escape. Joseph added a second takedown midway through the period to open up a 4-2 lead after cutting the Gopher loose. He rolled through a low single for a third takedown with :50 on the clock, got reversed and then escaped to lead 7-4 after the opening stanza. O'Reilly chose down to start the second period and worked his way to an escape and a 7-5 score with 1:30 on the clock. A slick low ankle pick gave Joseph a 9-5 lead late in the period and he finished on top to carry that lead, with 1:26 in riding time, into the third period. Joseph chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 10-5 lead. He worked his way in on another low shot, moved himself up and into position and took a 12-5 lead with another takedown at the 1:02 mark. He picked up a stall point, clinched his riding time point, and finished the period on top to post a strong 14-5 major decision.
174: Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, took on No. 8 Devin Skatzka. Hall nearly opened up a big lead with an early throw, but Skatzka was able to fight off the move and keep the bout tied 0-0 and in neutral. Hall continued to work on offense, forcing Skatzka into defense as the clock moved below the 1:00 mark. He picked up the bout's first takedown with :45 on the clock and led 2-0. He finished the period on top and carried that lead into the second period. Hall chose down to start the second period and steadily worked his way to an escape and a 3-0 lead. Hall controlled the action in the middle of the mat and picked up a second takedown with a fast low shot to open up a 5-0 lead with :15 left in the period. He finished with another rideout and led 5-0 after two periods. Skatzka chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 5-1 score. Hall countered a slight Gopher shot, gained control of the Gopher's left leg and finished off the takedown to lead 7-1 at the 1:20 mark. Skatzka escaped to a 7-2 score and took a low shot that Hall fought off until the final seconds. Skatzka picked up the late takedown but Hall posted the strong 7-4 win.
184: True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 7 at 184, met Owen Webster. Brooks notched the bout's first takedown, using a low single leg to take an early 2-1 lead. The Lion freshman controlled the middle of the mat as the clock moved below the 1:00 mark. He took a 4-1 lead on a high shot at :40 and then finished the period on top to lead 4-1 with :51 in riding time after the opening stanza. Webster chose down to start the second period and Brooks controlled the action for the opening minute-plus, building his riding time advantage up over 2:00. The Lion freshman maintained control of Webster for the entire period and led 4-1 with 2:51 in riding time heading into the third. Brooks chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. He worked the middle of the mat for :30 after the escape and then slid down for a low shot and another takedown to lead 7-2 after a quick cut. Brooks tacked on one more takedown and picked up a penalty point to lead 10-3 with :20 on the clock. He finished the period with a final takedown and, with 2:54 in riding time, rolled to the 13-3 major decision.
197: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 18 at 197, faced off against Garrett Joles. Rasheed quickly took the Gopher down and tried to turn him for back points. Joles was able to reverse Rasheed, and Rasheed answered with his own reversal to lead 4-2 after a scrambling opening minute. Rasheed maintained control for nearly 2:00 before Joles escaped to a 4-3 Rasheed lead. Rasheed carried that lead and a time edge into the second stanza. Joles chose down to start the second period and Rasheed went back to work on top, working his riding time up over 2:00. The Lion senior maintained control for the entire period and led 4-3 with 3:47 in time after two. Rasheed chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-3 lead. Joles turned a low single into a takedown and Rasheed led 6-5 after a quick escape. Rasheed tacked on a final point with 3:32 in riding time to post a 7-5 win.
285: True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 15 at 285, took on No. 1 Gable Steveson. Nevills nearly notched the bout's first takedown with a counter move at the 2:20 mark. But Steveson was able to fight off the move and keep the bout scoreless a the 2:10 mark. Steveson worked a scramble on the edge of the mat into the bout's first takedown and Nevills trailed 2-0 at 1:42. The Lion freshman escaped to a 2-1 score with 1:20 on the clock. The duo worked the middle of the mat in neutral for the rest of the period and Nevills trailed by one after one. Steveson chose down to start the second period. Nevills controlled the action for :30 before Steveson escaped, Nevills was also called for two very quick stalls in the process and trailed 4-1 with 1:10 on the clock. Trailing 4-1 after two periods, Nevills chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 4-2 score. Steveson worked a scramble into a third takedown and led 6-3 after a quick Nevills escape. Steveson picked up a third takedown and upped his lead to 8-4. The top-ranked Gopher would add two more takedowns and a riding time point to post a 13-5 major decision over Nevills.