No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Stays Hot With 28-9 Win Over Michigan State – Onward State

No. 1 Penn State wrestling (13-0, 5-0 Big Ten) took care of Michigan State (8-2, 3-2 Big Ten) 28-9 at Jenison Fieldhouse in East Lansing Sunday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions continued to roll in the state of Michigan to finish the weekend. No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young sat out of the action to get some rest ahead of the Iowa dual, but the Nittany Lions still managed to largely dominate a Spartans lineup that possesses four ranked wrestlers.

Drew Hildebrandt got the day started with a major decision at 125 pounds, while stars Nick Lee, Carter Starocci, and Aaron Brooks did their part in earning key points for the Nittany Lions.

How It Happened

Things got underway at 125 pounds with Penn State’s No. 7 Drew Hildebrandt against Tristan Lujan. The senior out of Indiana helped Cael Sanderson’s team get things off on the right note, as a quick takedown gave him a 2-0 lead after one period of wrestling. Hildebrandt continued to grab takedowns fairly easily against Lujan, and racked up a substantial amount of riding time.

The Nittany Lion opened the day with an 8-0 major decision thanks in large part to 2:12 of riding time.

No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young sat out of Sunday’s action for rest, so Baylor Shunk took the mat at 133 pounds. The Centre Hall, Pa. native fell behind early against No. 12 Rayvon Foley, as the Spartan earned a quick couple of takedowns. Shunk went down 4-1 after the first period.

Shunk managed a couple of escape points throughout the bout, but Foley continued to collect takedowns and run the score up on the Nittany Lion. However, Foley was unable to secure a major decision with just the 8-2 victory, so Penn State held on to its lead at 4-3 after two bouts.

No. 1 Nick Lee collected two takedowns and 1:47 of riding time after one period against Matt Santos. He continued to roll to a 7-1 lead and racked up more riding time through two, while a couple of near-fall points in the third gave Lee a 13-1 major decision. Penn State jumped out to an 8-3 lead following Lee’s win.

Up next at 149 pounds, No. 19 Beau Bartlett aimed to add to the lead against unranked Peyton Omania. The pair entered the second period tied at 0-0, and Omania carried a 1-0 advantage into the third. However, Bartlett exploded in the third and final with a couple of takedown and near-fall points, and grabbed a 7-2 decision down the stretch.

Terrell Barraclough went next at 157 pounds against No. 19 Chase Saldate of Michigan State. The pair traded takedowns in a hard-fought bout, and went to a sudden victory period tied at 2-2. Saldate eventually earned another takedown 45 seconds into the extra period, however, and the 4-2 decision trimmed Penn State’s lead to 11-6.

It was then No. 16 Brady Berge’s turn at 165 pounds against Caleb Fish. Berge made a takedown with just one second left in the first period and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, while an escape to open the second made it 3-0. The Nittany Lion continued to rack up points through the bout, while a couple of stall warnings evened out the score.

Berge eventually earned the 7-4 decision and handed a 14-6 lead to Penn State.

No. 1 Carter Starocci took the mat next against Nathan Jimenez at 174 pounds. The Erie, Pa. native is top-ranked in his weight class for a reason, and earned a 19-3 tech fall just 3:32 into the bout. The Nittany Lions took a 19-6 lead with No. 1 Aaron Brooks on deck.

The top-ranked 184-pounder was challenged by Michigan State’s No. 27 Layne Malczewski. In an impressive battle, Brooks racked up two minutes of riding time through two periods but couldn’t collect any other points. However, a massive third period performance gave him the 4-0 decision and a clinching 22-6 lead for the Nittany Lions.

No. 2 Max Dean had to take on No. 15 Cameron Caffey at 197 pounds next. The two went back and forth throughout the bout, and it was tied at 2-2 entering the third period. The Spartan was visibly tired entering the final few minutes of wrestling, but managed an escape let that gave him the 3-2 decision.

Penn State’s lead was trimmed to 22-9 entering the heavyweight bout, but No. 4 Greg Kerkvliet managed to flip that quickly. The sophomore Nittany Lion pinned unranked Brad Wilton just 1:58 into the final bout, and the Nittany Lions left East Lansing with a 28-9 victory.

What’s Next?

The biggest dual meet of the year up to this point awaits the Nittany Lions. Cael Sanderson’s group will travel to Iowa City to take on No. 2 Iowa at 9 p.m. on Friday, January 28. That clash will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80’s comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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