UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0, 5-0 B1G), ranked No. 3 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, won seven of ten bouts to win handily at No. 11 Ohio State (5-4, 5-4 B1G), the team's fifth-straight conference dual away from home. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad broke the dual meet open in the second half to roll to a 28-12 victory in Columbus. All team and individual rankings listed are InterMat (2/16/21).
Penn State picked up ranked victories at 174, 184 and 285 to take down the Buckeyes. The young Nittany Lions featured a line-up that included five freshmen (two true) and two sophomores, a total of seven underclassmen.
The dual began at 125 where true freshman Robert Howard (Cranford, N.J.) took on No. 10 Malik Heinselman. The Lion freshman battled the Ohio State veteran tough but lost 5-2 in the dual's opening bout. Junior Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 3 at 133, put on an offensive show in his match-up. Bravo-Yong turned a 6-2 lead into an 18-6 lead with a furious second period that included four takedowns and a reversal. He ended the match with four back points to post a 26-8 technical fall at the 5:37 mark over Ohio State's Jordan Decatur.
Senior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, put Penn State up 9-3 with a dominant 15-3 major over OSU's Dylan D'Emilio. The Lion senior tallied five takedowns in the win. True freshman Beau Bartlett (Tempe, Ariz.) made his Penn State dual debut up at 149, taking on No. 2 Sammy Sasso. Bartlett took an early lead with the bout's first takedown but Sasso came back for the hard-fought 5-3 win to cut Penn State's lead to 9-6 Junior Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 8 at 157, turned a late takedown into a 3-1 win over Ohio State's Elijah Cleary. Berge's win gave the Nittany Lions a 12-6 lead at halftime.
Freshman Joe Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 14 at 165, notched his bout's first takedown against No. 10 Ethan Smith but suffered a reversal and was pinned at the 2:34 mark. Smith's win briefly tied the dual at 12-12. Penn State won out. Freshman Carter Starocci (Erie, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 174, continued his outstanding wrestling, taking on No. 3 Kaleb Romero. A week after downing the nation's second-ranked grappler, Starocci took Romero to a tie-breaker and used a rideout to post a 2-1 (tb) victory, putting Penn State up 15-12.
Sophomore Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 2 at 184, controlled No. 20 Rocky Jordan for seven minutes in his bout. Brooks broke open a close 2-1 bout with a six-point second period, on his way to a 13-4 major. Freshman Michael Beard (Pottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 16 at 197, the clinched the Penn State win. Beard turned a shot into a scramble against Gavin Hoffman into a takedown :30 into the first period. He then turned the Buckeye to his back and, after a minute's worth of work, picked up the first period pin at the 1:20 mark to put Penn State up 25-12. Sophomore Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 8 at 285, closed out the dual with Penn State's seventh win of the night. Nevills used a third period takedown to post a 3-2 victory over No. 16 Tate Orndorff and Penn State walked away with a 28-12 victory in Columbus.
The Nittany Lions allowed only three takedowns during the dual meet. Penn State rolled up a 24-3 advantage in takedowns. Sanderson's team picked up seven bonus points off a pin (Beard), a tech fall (Bravo-Young) and two majors (Nick Lee, Brooks).
No extra matches were conducted during the dual meet on a separate mat. This year, with condensed schedules, these extra matches, while not counting towards dual meet scores, are official varsity bouts and count towards NCAA competition minimums.
Penn State is now 5-0 on the year, 5-0 in Big Ten action. Ohio State falls to 5-4, 5-4 B1G. The Nittany Lions close out the dual season with their lone home dual of the season on Monday, Feb. 22. Penn State welcomes Maryland to Rec Hall for a 6 p.m. dual meet that will air live nationally on the Big Ten Network.
125: #10 Malik Heinselman OSU dec. Robert Howard PSU, 5-2 0-3
133: #3 Roman Bravo-Young PSU tech fall Jordan Decatur OSU, 26-8 (TF; 5:37) 5-3
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU maj. dec. Dylan D'Emilio OSU, 15-3 9-3
149: #2 Sammy Sasso OSU dec. Beau Bartlett PSU, 5-3 9-6
157: #8 Brady Berge PSU dec. Elijah Cleary OSU, 3-1 12-6
165: #10 Ethan Smith OSU pinned #14 Joe Lee PSU, WBF (2:34) 12-12
174: #5 Carter Starocci PSU dec. #2 Kaleb Romero OSU, 2-1 (tb) 15-12
184: #2 Aaron Brooks PSU maj. dec. #20 Rocky Jordan OSU, 13-4 19-12
197: #16 Michael Beard PSU pinned Gavin Hoffman OSU, WBF (1:20) 25-12
285: #8 Seth Nevills PSU dec. #16 Tate Orndorff OSU, 3-2 28-12
Records: Penn State (5-0, 5-0 B1G); Ohio State (5-4, 5-4 B1G)
Up Next for Penn State: at Ohio State, Friday, Feb. 19, time TBA (B1G Network)
125: True freshman Robert Howard (Cranford, N.J.) took on Ohio State's Malik Heinselman, who was ranked No. 10 nationally at 125. The duo wrestled the first minute evenly, sparring in the center of the mat looking for a chance to move on offense. With the clock moving to the midway point of the opening period, each wrestler fought off an offensive push to keep the bout scoreless. Howard nearly connected on a throw with :50 left but Heinselman fought off the effort and the bout moved to the second period tied 0-0. Heinselman chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Howard turned in on offense, shooting a number of times at Heinselman, but the Buckeye was equal on defense to maintain his lead with just under 1:00 left in the middle stanza. Heinselman connected on a late low shot to take da 3-0 lead into the third period. Howard chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 score. Howard quickly shot low on the Buckeye but Heinselman was able to counter for a takedown and a 5-1 lead. Howard escaped with :50 on the clock to cut the lead to 5-2. But the young Nittany Lion could not break through Heinselman's defense and fell 5-2.
133: Junior Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 3 at 133, took on Jordan Decatur. Bravo-Young quickly worked his way into control of Decatur's left ankle, trying to pull the Buckeye back on to the mat for a takedown. The Lion junior finished off the move for a 2-0 lead with 2:02 on the clock. Decatur escaped to a 2-1 score and quickly worked into a single leg that Bravo-Young deftly defended, forcing a stalemate with 1:14 left in the period. Bravo-Young took Decatur down on the edge of the mat to up his lead to 4-1 with :50 on the clock. He cut Decatur loose and added a third takedown on a double leg with :20 left. Bravo-Young finished off the period with a rideout and led 6-2 with 1:02 in time after one period. Bravo-Young chose down to start the second period. He scrambled his way into a reversal, picking up the two points plus a penalty point in the process. The flurry broke the bout open and the Lion junior rolled up four takedowns and a stall point to lead 18-6 with over 1:00 in riding time after two periods. Decatur chose down to start the third period, Bravo-Young cut him loose and quickly took him down again to up his lead to 20-7. Another cut and takedown gave the Lion a 22-8 lead with 1:35 on the clock. He then took Decatur down one final time and turned him for four back points to clinch the technical fall. Bravo-Young walked away with a 26-8 tech fall at the 5:37 mark.
141: Senior Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met Dylan D'Emilio. Lee scored quickly, taking a 2-0 lead at the 2:05 mark to open up an early lead. Lee picked up a second takedown with 1:30 left to wrestle in the opening period and led 4-1. He then put together a strong ride, turning D'Emilio for two back points to up his lead to 6-1. He finished with a rideout and led 6-1 after the opening period. Lee chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped. He then took D'Emilio down again and led 9-2 with 1:20 left in the period. The Lion senior picked up a fourth takedown with just under a minute left and led 11-2. With over 2:00 in riding time, Lee continued to control the action for the rest of the period and carried that nine-point lead into the third period with well over 2:00 in riding time. D'Emilio chose down to start the third period and escaped to an 11-3 score. Lee worked the center of the mat, fighting off a D'Emilio shot, countering and taking the Buckeye down to up his lead to 13-3 with :25 left in the bout. He picked up a stall point and a riding time point on nearly 2:47 in time to post the convincing 15-3 major decision.
149: True freshman Beau Bartlett, making his Penn State dual debut up at 149, faced off against No. 2 Sammy Sasso. Bartlett drew first blood, turning a fast low shot into a takedown and a 2-0 lead with 1:45 on the clock. Sasso escaped quickly to cut the Lion lead to 2-1 and action resumed in neutral. Bartlett worked to control the action in the middle of the mat, moving forward on offense. Sasso turned a high single into a takedown and rideout as the period ended to take a 3-2 lead into the second stanza. Sasso chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 4-2 lead. Bartlett continued to pace the center circle, trying to connect on offense but unable to break through Sasso's strong defense as the clock hit the :45 mark. The Lion freshman battled the Buckeye veteran evenly for the rest of the period and trailed 4-2 after two periods. Bartlett chose down to start the third period but could not break free of a strong Sasso ride as the time clicked below 1:00. Bartlett worked his way to his feet with :30 on the clock but Sasso was able to maintain control and finished the period on top. He tacked on a riding time point with 1:45 in time as well. Bartlett dropped a hard-fought 5-3 decision to the second-ranked Buckeye in his collegiate debut.
157: Junior Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 8 at 157, took on Ohio State's Elijah Cleary. Berge worked on offense for the first minute-plus, nearly connected on a takedown on the edge of the mat. But Cleary worked his way out of bounds to keep the match scoreless, giving up a stall warning in the process. Berge battled Cleary evenly for the remainder of the period and the bout moved to the second stanza tied 0-0. Berge chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Lion junior worked on offense, forcing Cleary to the outside circle repeatedly but not finding a gap in the Buckeyes offense. The duo worked the center of the mat for the next :30 before Cleary gained control of Berge's left leg, trying to take the Lion down. But Berge fought off the effort and carried a 1-0 lead into the third period. Cleary chose down to start the third period. Berge worked the Buckeye down to the mat briefly but Cleary escaped at the 1:40 mark to tie the bout at 1-1. With 1:00 left in the bout, Berge once again gained control of Cleary's ankle on the edge of the mat but the Buckeye was able to move to the outside circle once more and this time a stalemate forced a reset with :30 to wrestle. Berge was undaunted, however, turning a low double into a takedown and a 3-1 win with just :08 left. The final takedown gave the Nittany Lion the two-point victory.
165: Freshman Joe Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 14 at 165, met No. 10 Ethan Smith. Smith shot first, nearly connecting on a solid shot, but Lee countered and nearly scored himself before a dangerous hold stopped action at the 2:05 mark. Smith shot again low on the Lion freshman and Lee was injured on the move. While no takedown occurred, Smith chose down on the reset due to the injury time. Lee worked offensive control for :22 before Smith escaped to a 1-0 lead. Lee quickly moved in on offense and took a 2-1 lead . Smith turned the Lion for a reversal and then turned the Lion to his back for a pin at the 2:34 mark.
174: Freshman Carter Starocci (Erie, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 174, battled No. 3 Kaleb Romero in one off the dual's marquee bouts. Starocci paced the middle of the mat, working on offense as he looked for an early score. The ranked grapplers battled evenly for the first two minutes with neither wrestler finding an opening. Starocci took a high shot with :40 left but Romero worked action out of bounds and the bout continued on a reset with a 0-0 score. Tied 0-0, Starocci chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Lion maintained neutral until Romero took a low shot at the 1:20 mark. Starocci fought the move off for the next :40 and forced a reset at the :43 mark. Starocci used a strong high double to nearly notch a takedown but Romero once again worked his way out of bounds with :15 left in the middle period. Romero chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. The clock hit the 1:00 mark still tied 1-1. Starocci continued to shoot Romero backwards, but the Buckeye was able to defend each Lion shot to keep the bout tied. Another Starocci shot led to another reset and the bout moved to sudden victory tied 1-1. Romero worked his way in on a solid single and nearly took the Lion down. But Starocci was able to fight it off and countered the move for a takedown and an apparent 3-1 win. But Ohio State challenged the call and won the challenge and action resumed tied 1-1 with :27 left. Starocci shot again off the reset but Romero fought off the move and the bout moved to a tie-breaker. Starocci chose down for his tie-breaker choice and quickly escaped to a 2-1 lead. Romero then chose down for his tie-breaker period. Starocci was able to control the Buckeye for :16 before a reset stopped action. He then broke the Buckeye down for the rest of the period and posted a thrilling 2-1 (tb) win.
184: Sophomore Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md.), ranked No. 2 at 184, took on No. 20 Rocky Jordan. Brooks fought off an early Jordan high single and turned the move into a takedown of his own to open up an early 2-0 lead. Brooks broke Jordan down in the middle of the mat and built up a sizeable riding time edge. Jordan escaped to a 2-1 score with 1:10 left. Brooks forced Jordan into a stall warning with :30 left in the period and led 2-1 after one. Brooks chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. With over 1:00 in riding time, Brooks' offense forced Jordan into another stall and then Brooks took the Buckeye down again to open up a 6-1 lead. Jordan escaped with :30 left but Brooks rolled through another shot and opened up an 8-2 lead with over 2:00 in riding time after two periods. Brooks chose down to start the third period and Brooks cut him loose to an 8-3 score. Brooks tripped the Buckeye to the mat for a fourth takedown and a 10-3 lead with 1:39 left in the bout. Brooks tacked on another takedown at the 1:02 mark to clinch the riding time point and lead 12-4. Brooks finished the bout on top and rolled to the 13-4 major decision with nearly 3:00 in riding time.
197: Freshman Michael Beard (Pottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 16 at 197, battled Gavin Hoffman. Beard quickly moved in on Hoffman, turning a scrambling shot into a takedown and a pinning opportunity. Beard worked the top position for almost a minute as Hoffman worked to fight off the fall. But Beard continued to pressure the Buckeye and picked up the first period pin at the 1:20 mark.
285: Sophomore Seth Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 8 at 285, took on No. 16 Tate Orndorff. The ranked big men battled evenly in the middle of the mat for the first ninety seconds with neither wrestler able to make a mark on offense. The due battled evenly for the entirety of the first period and the bout moved to the second stanza tied 0-0. Nevills chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Nevills took a handful of shots that Orndorff was able to step away from and Nevills fought off a solid Orndorff counter at the 1:00 mark. Nevills worked the Buckeye to the edge of the mat and Orndorff was equal on defense. With Nevills leading 1-0 after two periods, Orndorff chose down to start the third period. The Buckeye escaped to a 1-1 tie with 1:35 on the clock. Nevills almost connected on a high single but the Buckeye defended the move and the bout continued tied 1-1 past the 1:00 mark. Nevills turned a low single into a brief scramble and the bout's first takedown with :25 on the clock. Orndorff added a late escape but Nevills posted the strong 3-2 win.