UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (12-2, 8-1 B1G), ranked No. 2 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, dominated American University (4-8) in the team's dual meet finale Sunday. Three Penn State seniors got falls on Senior Day for Penn State and sophomore Jarod Verkleeren notched a victory in the dual's marquee match-up as Penn State rolled to a 40-3 win.
Seniors Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall and Shakur Rasheed notched pins in their final Rec Hall duals as nearly 6,500 fans packed sold out Rec Hall for the Senior Day dual. The dual was the 55th straight Rec Hall sellout for Penn State and the 61st of the last 63 sellouts at home, including six of eight in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The dual began at 141. Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 1 at 141, controlled the action from the start in his bout against Sal Profaci. He rolled up 2:45 in riding time and notched a 7-3 win to put Penn State up 3-0 early. Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.), ranked No. 17 at 149, took on No. 8 Kizhan Clarke in the dual's marquee match-up and did not disappoint. Verkleeren battled the eighth-ranked Eagle evenly for the bulk of the bout and, with just :03 left, finished off a counter-takedown to post a thrilling 3-1 win. Junior Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) got the nod at 157 and kept Penn State's winning ways going. Gardner came back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to notch three takedowns and roll to a 7-5 victory to put the Nittany Lions up 9-0.
Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, capped off his Rec Hall dual career in fine fashion by pinning American's Tim Fitzpatrick. Joseph turned a cradle into a pin at the 4:00 mark in the second stanza to give the Nittany Lions a 15-0 lead. Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, duplicated Joseph's dual meet swansong. The Lion turned a first period cradle into a fall as well, pinning Conner Allshouse at the 2:33 mark. The senior pins put Penn State up 21-0 at intermission.
True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 6 at 184, kept Penn State perfect through six bouts as the Lion won the second half's first bout. Brooks posted a hard-fought 8-5 win over American junior Tanner Harvey and Penn State led 24-0. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 18 at 197, made his final appearance in a Rec Hall dual meet as memorable as teammates Joseph and Hall. He hit the mat against William Jarrell and, like his teammates, locked up a cradle for a fast fall. Rasheed got the pin at the 1:04 mark and Penn State led 30-0.
True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 17 at 285, turned a close bout into a major win with a strong third period against Niko Camacho. Nevills picked up two near falls in the final stanza to roll to a 10-2 major decision and give the Lions a 34-0 lead. At 125, freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) took American junior Gage Curry to extra time before the Eagle notched a takedown to post a 3-1 (sv) win, picking up American's first win of the dual. Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, capped off the Nittany Lion rout with a frenetic first period that ended in a fast fall. Bravo-Young collected nine takedowns in less than two minutes before pinning Joshua Vega at the 1:10 mark. Bravo-Young picked up Penn State's fourth pin of the dual and the Nittany Lions posted the 40-3 win.
The Nittany Lions posted a superb 24-3 advantage in takedowns. Penn State won nine of ten bouts and picked up 13 bonus points off four pins (Joseph, Hall, Rasheed, Bravo-Young) and a major (Nevills).
Penn State closes out the dual season with a 12-2 mark, 8-1 in the Big Ten. American falls to 4-8. Penn State now prepares for the 2020 Big Ten Championship at Rutgers in two weeks. The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 7-8, at the RAC in Piscataway, N.J., and will serve as the national qualifier for the conference.
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.
141: #1 Nick Lee PSU dec. Sal Profaci AU, 7-3 3-0
149: #17 Jarod Verkleeren PSU dec. #8 Kizhan Clarke AU, 3-1 6-0
157: Luke Gardner PSU dec. Ethan Karsten AU, 7-5 9-0
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU pinned Tim Fitzpatrick AU, WBF (4:00) 15-0
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU pinned Conner Allshouse AU, WBF (2:33) 21-0
184: #6 Aaron Brooks PSU dec. Tanner Harvey AU, 8-5 24-0
197: #18 Shakur Rasheed PSU pinned William Jarrell AU, WBF (1:04) 30-0
285: #17 Seth Nevills PSU maj. dec. Niko Camacho AU, 10-2 34-0
125: Gage Curry AU dec. Brandon Meredith PSU, 3-1 (SV) 34-3
133: #2 Roman Bravo-Young PSU pinned Joshua Vega AU, WBF (1:10) 40-3
Attendance: 6,477 (55th-straight sellout in Rec Hall, 61st of 63 home sellouts, including 6 of 8 in BJC)
Records: Penn State (12-2, 8-1 B1G); American (4-8)
Up Next for Penn State: at 2020 Big Ten Championship, March 7-8, Piscataway, N.J.
141: Junior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 1 at 141, met American senior Sal Profaci. Lee countered a slight Profaci shot at the 2:30 mark and took a 2-0 lead with a takedown. The Lion junior worked the middle of the mat after a Profaci escape and quickly got in on a low single for a second takedown and a 4-1 lead midway through the period. Lee worked up over 1:00 in riding time with a solid ride on the Lion logo, looking for a chance to turn the Eagle for back points. He finished the period on top and led 4-1 with 1:55 in riding time after the opening stanza. Lee chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Profaci. He cut the Eagle loose to a 6-2 score. Profaci got in on a high single with :40 on the clock but Lee muscled his way out of the move and carried the 6-2 lead with 1:57 in time into the third period. Profaci chose down to start the third period and Lee forced him into a first stall at 1:20. Profaci escaped to a 6-3 score with a clinched riding time point. The duo battled evenly for the final minute and Lee posted a 7-3 win with 2:45 in riding time.
149: Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.), ranked No. 17 at 149, battled No. 8 Kizhan Clarke in the dual's marquee match-up. Verkleeren and Clarke worked the center of the mat for the first minute with neither wrestler gaining an advantage. Verkleeren worked his way into control of Clarke's chest at 1:50 but the Eagle was able to fight off the move and keep the bout scoreless midway through the period. The clock moved under the :45 mark with the two wrestlers in neutral on the Lion logo and the period ended that way. With the match tied 0-0, Clarke chose down to start the second period. He quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead and action resumed in neutral. Verkleeren slid back from a quick Clarke shot with 1:20 on the clock, countered with his own low single but Clarke was able to step out of trouble and the bout moved on with the Eagle leading 1-0. The duo traded barbs as time moved under :30 and the bout moved to the second period with Verkleeren trailing 1-0. Verkleeren chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. The Lion junior skipped away from a fast Clarke counter shot with 1:15 on the clock. With :30 left in the bout, Verkleeren fought off a Clarke shot and worked his way into control of the Eagle's upper body. He moved to the outside circle as time wound down and finished off a last second takedown with just 0:03 left to post the thrilling 3-1 win over the ranked Eagle.
157: Junior Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) took on Ethan Kartsen at 157. Gardner turned a low single into a scramble that nearly ended in a takedown for the Lion. But Karsten was able to counter the effort and the scramble continued until a stalemate was called with 1:50 on the clock. Gardner fought off a Karsten shot, nearly giving up a takedown but battling to a stalemate with :45 left to wrestle. He battled the Eagle evenly for the final seconds and the bout moved to the second period tied 0-0. Karsten chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Eagle then worked his way in on a low single and took a 3-0 lead with the bout's first takedown. He worked offensive control for the rest of the period and led 3-0 with :45 in riding time after two periods. Trailing by three, Gardner chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 score. He quickly blew through a low double and tied the match at 3-3 with 1:30 on the clock. Gardner cut the Eagle loose, then quickly took him down to open up a 5-4 lead with 1:15 left to wrestle. Karsten escaped to a 5-5 tie with 1:05 left and Gardner continued to press on offense. He turned a high single into another takedown and took a 7-5 lead with :40 on the clock. The Lion junior finished the bout on top and notched the 7-5 victory.
165: Senior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, battled Tim Fitzpatrick in his final Rec Hall dual meet. Joseph stepped back from an early low shot from Fitzpatrick and notched a takedown with 2:23 on the clock to take an early lead. He spent the next minute-plus in control on top, looking for a chance to turn the Eagle. He locked up a cradle at the 1:30 mark and notched four back points to lead 6-0 with 1:10 left in the period. Joseph spent the rest of the period on top and carried the 6-0 lead into the second stanza. Fitzpatrick chose neutral to start the second period. He took a slight shot with 1:40 left in the period but Joseph countered to up his lead to 8-0. Joseph went back to work on top and locked up another cradle. The Lion senior capped off his Rec Hall career in style by pinning Fitzpatrick at the 4:00 mark.
174: Senior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, took on Conner Allshouse in his final Rec Hall dual meet. Hall, looking to mirror fellow senior Vincenzo Joseph's performance, took Allshouse down at the 2:35 mark to open up a 2-0 lead. Hall spent the next minute working Allshouse over to his back and took a 6-0 lead with a four-point turn. Hall continued to work on offense after a reset, building up a large time edge while looking for another chance to turn the Eagle. Hall locked up a cradle and, like Joseph, capped off his Rec Hall dual meet career with a pin, getting the fall at the 2:33 mark.
184: True freshman Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 6 at 184, met AU junior Tanner Harvey. The duo traded early shots and then Brooks worked his way into control on a low single with 2:25 on the clock. He notched the takedown and picked up a penalty point to lead 3-1. Brooks fought off a solid Harvey shot, then got his second takedown with 1:20 on the clock and led 5-2 as the first period hit the 1:00 mark. He worked a low double into another takedown and cut Harvey loose to a 7-3 score. Trailing 7-3 after one, Harvey chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 7-4 score. Brooks stepped back from a fast Harvey shot at the 1:30 mark, fought off a Harvey takedown effort and countered for his own takedown to open up a 9-4 lead with 1:00 on the clock. American challenged. The challenge did not work but the officials on review called Brooks for an illegal hold and the Lion settled for a 7-5 lead and neutral with 1:00 on the clock. Harvey got hit for stalling as the second period ended and Brooks led 7-5 after two periods. Brooks chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to an 8-5 lead. Harvey forced a scramble that ended in a stalemate and a reset was called with 1:40 on the clock. Brooks nearly finished off a takedown but Harvey escaped as the Lion tried to turn it into a cradle with :40 on the clock. The duo finished the period in neutral and Brooks posted the hard-fought 8-5 win.
197: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 18 at 197, took on William Jarrell in his final Rec Hall dual meet. Rasheed notched a takedown just seconds into the bout and led 2-1 after cutting Jarrell loose. He quickly added a second and upped his lead to 4-1 with 2:25 on the clock. Rasheed, mirroring Joseph and Hall, locked up a cradle and posted a fast fall in his Rec Hall dual meet finale, getting the pin at the 1:04 mark.
285: True freshman Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked no. 17 at 285, met American's Niko Camacho. Camacho and Nevills worked the center circle to start the match with the Lion fighting off Camacho's efforts at shoulder control With the clock moving to 2:00, the duo continued to work in neutral with neither wrestler gaining an offensive edge. The bout moved to the second period tied 0-0 and Nevills chose down to begin the second stanza. The Lion freshman quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead with 1:43 on the clock. The duo worked the clock down below the :30 before Nevills nearly connected on a low single. But Camacho stepped out of trouble and Nevills lead 1-0 after two. Trailing by one, Camacho chose down to start the third period. Nevills went to work on top, controlling the action. Camacho tried to muscle Nevills to his back during a reversal attempt but the Lion freshman was steady, regaining control and picking up four nearfall points to up his lead to 5-1 with :45 left in the bout. Nevills notched a fast takedown with :15 left, getting two back points as well and upped his lead to 9-2. He picked up a point on 1:31 in riding time and rolled to the 10-2 major decision.
125: Freshman Brandon Meredith (Limerick, Pa.) battled American junior Gage Curry. Meredith and Curry battled evenly for the first 1:30 before Meredith worked his way in on a low single. The Lion freshman and the Eagle junior scrambled for the next :45 before Curry was able to move out of bounds and force a reset with :50 left in the period. The duo battled evenly for the rest of the period and the match moved to the second stanza tied 0-0. Curry chose down to start the second period. Meredith controlled the action from the top position for the first minute-plus, building up a riding time edge as the clock moved below the :50 mark. The Lion kept control of Curry for the entire period and finished with the rideout. Tied 0-0 but with 2:00 of riding time on his side, Meredith chose down to start the third. He quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead and still had 1:39 in riding time. Meredith worked the middle of the mat, taking a series of shots that forced Curry into defense. With the clock hitting :45, Meredith moved forward and continued to look for his offense. Curry got in on a single leg at the :20 mark and finished off a takedown to take a 2-1 lead. Meredith could not escape and Meredith's riding time sent the bout into extra time. Curry took a fast shot to start the extra minute, forcing Meredith into a scramble that ended in a Curry takedown with :22 left. Curry's effort gave the Eagle a 3-1 (sv) win.
133: Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 2 at 133, met Joshua Vega. Bravo-Young scored quickly, taking Vega down just :04 into the bout to open up a 2-0 lead. The Lion cut Vega loose, notched a second takedown and cut and led 4-2 just :25 into the bout. Bravo-Young quickly picked up a third takedown, then a fourth, then a fifth and led 10-5 at the 1:55 mark. Bravo-Young picked up his sixth takedown at the 1:45 mark and led 12-6 midway through the period. He added a seventh takedown, cut Vega loose on a reset and then notched his eighth takedown of the period. Bravo-Young went on top finish the bout by turning Vega one last time and picking up the pin at the 2:10 mark.