Penn State cruised to two big wins against Central Michigan and North Carolina at the Collegiate Wrestling Duals on Dec. 19.
The Nittany Lions claimed a dominating 50-3 win over the Chippewas and another one-sided 37-3 victory over the Tar Heels.
Here's how each Penn State wrestler fared in Monday's duals:
Beginning the set of duals, Gary Steen took the stage against Central Michigan’s Anthony Walker.
After a scoreless first period, Walker took a 3-2 advantage at the end of the second period.
Steen had a chance for a takedown in the closing seconds, but failed to get the call from the officials. A challenge from Cael Sanderson on the call proved fruitless.
This match marked Steen’s fourth dual bout where he failed to record a single takedown on his opponent.
Steen’s second match came against North Carolina’s No. 33 Jack Wagner. Wagner and Steen remained locked in a low-scoring first period, but Wagner got a late leg takedown to take a 2-0 lead.
Steen started down in the second and got a quick escape to get on the board. Wagner answered with a counterattack and another takedown, extending his lead to 4-1 after two.
Steen once again failed to earn a takedown, losing the bout 5-1 to Wagner.
Penn State’s defending 133-pound national champion Roman Bravo-Young took on the Chippewas’ Vince Perez.
No. 1 Bravo-Young dominated Perez and won the match in quick fashion. At just the 2:07 mark, he earned a tech fall over Perez, giving the Nittany Lions a 6-3 lead over Central Michigan.
In Bravo-Young’s second bout, he faced off with UNC’s Jace Palmer.
The first period started out more challenging for Bravo-Young than expected, but he managed to pull out to a 8-3 lead.
Bravo-Young began a catch and release strategy with Palmer in the second, putting himself up 18-7.
Bravo-Young took the tech fall win in the end 26-11, giving Penn State a 5-3 lead over the Tar Heels.
No. 5 Beau Bartlett took on Central Michigan’s Jimmy Nugent in the first 141 bout of the day.
In the first period, Bartlett held Nugent scoreless and held a 6-0 lead with 1:28 of riding time.
Bartlett followed a strong first period with an even more impressive second. He tallied a pin against Nugent to extend Penn State’s lead 12-3 over Central Michigan.
Bartlett faced No.25 Lachlan McNeil in the second dual meet.
McNeil gave Bartlett a very tough test in the first period, but Bartlett managed a counterattack on McNeil’s lead that opened the scoring in the match.
With a 2-0 lead entering the second, Bartlett wouldn’t be able to get McNeil down in the period. McNeil managed an escape through sheer will to put himself on the board.
At 2-1 after two periods, the third shaped up for a wild finish. Bartlett got an escape to begin the period after starting down.
McNeil had a flurry of attacks on Bartlett that came up short as Bartlett held on 4-1 to avoid the upset.
Shayne Van Ness
No. 17 Shayne Van Ness was the next in a long list of dominant Nittany Lion performances on Monday. Van Ness’s first bout came against Central Michigan’s No. 20 Johnny Lovett.
Van Ness got off to a slow 3-0 start through the first period against Lovett, a theme that wouldn’t hold the rest of the way.
Van Ness stormed out of the first break with a tech fall in the final 13 seconds of the period, giving Penn State a large 18-3 lead over the Chippewas.
Van Ness’s second bout came against North Carolina’s Jayden Scott.
In the first period, Van Ness had several chances at takedowns, but was unable to capitalize due to outstanding defense by the Tar Heel.
The first points of the match came in the second with a Van Ness escape. Scott narrowly missed a takedown on a Van Ness miscue in the second period, leaving the score at 1-0 after two periods.
Beginning down in the third, Scott struggled to earn the escape against Van Ness, who held the UNC grappler in check the whole period. Van Ness held on for a 2-0 win with riding time in the end.
Stepping in for Penn State’s 157 starter Terrell Barraclough, freshman Levi Haines excelled in his opportunity.
Despite a last minute lineup switch, Haines recorded the fastest win of the meet against Central Michigan’s No. 31 Corbyn Munson.
Haines gave Penn State its fourth-straight fall just 1:38 into the match against a ranked opponent.
Haines got his second start of the night against Danny Nini.
Haines got a takedown that gave him the first two points of the match, but Nini answered with a quick escape to end the period 2-1.
Haines began down in the second and earned an escape to extend his lead. Nini played it conservatively in the second and managed to hold off any attempts by Haines.
Down to start the third, Nini was unable to escape Haines, allowing for the true freshman to hold on for a 4-1 win with riding time.
At 165, No. 14 Alex Facundo battled CMU’s Tracy Hubbard in his first matchup of the day.
Facundo led Hubbard handedly throughout the entirety of the match, but he was only the second Penn State grappler that wrestled a third period against Central Michigan.
In the third period, Facundo earned a major decision over Hubbard, with a final score of 16-7. This marked another double-digit win for the Nittany Lions against the Chippewas, who were well behind 28-3.
Facundo would get his next challenge against UNC’s Nicholas Fea in a battle of young guns.
Fea, one of the Tar Heels’ building blocks of the future, was taken down by Facundo in the first and trailed 2-1 at the end of the period.
An uneventful second period saw Facundo extend his lead to 3-1.
In the third, Fea got an escape to pull himself within a point and had a very good chance at a takedown, but Facundo managed to get in front of it.
Facundo got a counterattack takedown to seal his victory 5-2.
Penn State’s No. 1 Carter Starocci took the mat at 174 pounds against Central Michigan's Alex Cramer.
With the meet all but wrapped up, Starocci continued to pour it on the Chippewas. A first period tech fall for Starocci marked Penn State’s third first-period win on the night.
Central Michigan continued to have no answer for the Nittany Lions since the opening bout.
Starocci had a dominant performance in his second bout against UNC’s Cade Tenold.
In the first period, Starocci had two chances at a pin, but Tenold managed to kick himself out of trouble. Still, Starocci held a 10-0 advantage after one period.
In the second, Tenold got on the board with an escape, but Starocci still managed to extend his lead to 14-1.
Tenold chose down to begin the final period, and Starocci allowed him to get a free escape. Starocci, trying to go for a tech fall win, would get just that with an 18-3 victory over Tenold.
For the 184-pound bouts, No. 1 Aaron Brooks led the charge for the Nittany lions.
Against the Chippewa’s Ben Cushman, the blue and white’s high-power performance continued, as Brooks pinned redshirt senior at the 1:18 mark of the first period.
As dominant as Brooks’ first bout was, his second match against UNC’s No. 17 Gavin Kane was even more impressive.
In just 54 seconds, Brooks pinned Kane to earn an easy win over a ranked opponent.
Penn State’s No. 5 Max Dean, who has struggled lately, put on a punishing performance against Central Michigan’s Cam Wood.
After just one period, Dean led Wood 8-1 with 2:17 of riding time. Wood didn’t stand a chance in the second period either, where Dean earned a tech fall at the 3:21 mark.
Dean faced UNC’s No. 31 Max Shaw for his second battle of the night.
Dean got a takedown to give himself a 2-0 lead for the first period. In the second, Dean earned three more points to extend his lead 5-0.
What started as a low-scoring bout saw Dean pull away for a 10-2 win.
Penn State’s heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet got the match off, giving Seth Nevills a chance to start.
Nevills, a former Penn State football recruit, had a big day against Central Michigan’s Bryan Caves.
Nevills had a high-scoring first period, earning himself a 10-1 lead over Caves. A slow second period would only see Nevills extend his lead by one point.
In the third, Nevills pushed himself for a 17-6 major decision victory, en route to Penn State’s 50-3 win over Central Michigan.
Despite getting the first bout of the day off, Kerkvliet would get some work in against UNC’s Brandon Whitman.
Through the first period, Kerkvliet held an 8-0 lead over Whitman with 2:49 in riding time.
The second saw a 17-1 tech fall win for Kerkvliet to end Penn State’s official matches and putting the finishing touches on the Nittany Lions’ 37-3 victory over No. 17 North Carolina.
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