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Penn State Wrestling: US Open Results

The US Open - and in a few weeks, the Team Trials - is better than it’s ever been. The sheer volume of super high quality wrestlers entered in these tournaments surpasses anything we’ve seen before - and we can thank USA Wrestling’s decision to focus on development a decade ago, as well as the emergence of Regional Training Centers (specifically, the donor dollars pouring into these RTCs).

Consider the anticipated 2020 Olympic Trials lineup for 74kg, as compared to the 2012 version, as illustrated in the table below:

RANK 2012 2020
Incumbent Jordan Burroughs Jordan Burroughs
1 Andrew Howe (JR) Kyle Dake
2 Trent Paulson Alex Dieringer
3 Nick Marable Isaiah Martinez
4 Tyler Caldwell (SO) James Green
5 Ryan Morningstar Jason Nolf
6 Kyle Dake (JR) Mark Hall
7 Mike Poeta Vincenzo Joseph
8 David Taylor (SO) Anthony Valencia (JR)
9 Moza Fay Alec Pantaleo
10 Lloyd Rogers Ryan Deakin (SR)
11 Colt Sponseller (SR) Chance Marsteller
12 Matt Brown (FR) Alex Marinelli (SR)
13 n/a Evan Wick (SR)
14 n/a Logan Massa
15 n/a Hayden Hidlay (SR)
16 n/a Mekhi Lewis (JR)

Half of the 2012 field were college undergrads, including top seed Andrew Howe. Most of the other half were full-time assistant coaches. Conversely, most of the 2020 field figures to be full-time, professional athletes, training year-round to be the best on planet Earth at 74kg.

Quite an astonishing difference, isn’t it? Not that Team USA reps didn’t “earn it” before, but daggone. These are flipping brutal brackets to navigate.

US Open Results - Seniors


Josh Rodriguez won Pan Ams - so he’ll be wrestling at the Team Trials tournament in a few weeks, despite falling to Vito Arujau in the blood round, and missing the podium in Vegas.

Champ: Daton Fix beat Thomas Gilman, 8-4.

Qualifiers: Zane Richards (3rd), Vito Arujau, Darian Cruz, Nato, and Frank Perrelli round out top 7

Just Missed: Zach Sanders (8th), Jesse Delgao, Nick Piccininni all fell in the blood round


Nico tech’d his way to the final, and was beating Cody Brewer 3-0 in the 2nd period when he got thrown from double overs / outside trip by Brewer, and pinned. So that stinks. But Nico’s as mentally tough as they come.

Champ: Cody Brewer WBF Nico

Qualifiers: Joey Palmer (3rd), Tyler Graff, Cory Clark, Tony Ramos, and Earl Hall

Just Missed: Shelton Mack, Ben Whitford, Johnni DiJulius, and Jordan Conaway


Zain destroyed everything in his path to the final, but lost that final to Yianni Diakomihalis on criteria, 4-4.

Champ: Yianni D beat Frank Molinaro, Jordan Oliver, and Zain Retherford, consecutively, to win the Open. As a true sophomore. So...pretty good.

Qualifiers: Jayson Ness (3rd), Frank Molinaro, Jaydin Eierman, Jordan Oliver, Kanen Storr.

Just Missed: BJ Futrell, Dean Heil, Dom Demas, Evan Henderson, Joey McKenna, and Bryce Meredith (that’s an insane list of names).


Two mistakes from Jason Nolf cost him 6 points against James Green in the semifinals - a match Nolf lost on criteria, 6-6. Jason also fell behind Alec Pantaleo in the consi final 0-6, but scored 10 unanswered in the final 90 seconds to take 3rd.

Champ: Ryan Deakin beat James Green, 8-6, on a last second takedown at the edge. Un-flipping-believable.

Qualifiers: Jason Nolf (3rd), Alec Pantaleo, Brandon Sorensen, Nazar Kulchytskyy, Jason Chamberlain

Just Missed: Anthony Collica, Kevin Jack, Mike Deangelo


Grizzled vet Dan Vallimont actually lost his opener, but fought back through the consilations to punch his ticket to the Trials. That’s some mental toughness.

Champ: I-Mar over Tommy Gantt, 6-4.

Qualifiers: Anthony Valencia (3rd), Logan Massa, Brian Murphy, Dan Vallimont, Jared Frayer

Just Missed: Quinton Godley, Joey Lavallee, Evan Wick


How about Geno Morelli, eh? Geno was unseeded, but rolled into the semifinals, and finished 5th, securing an invitation to the Trials in the process. Awesome tournament from Geno.

Champ: Ape Dieringer tech’d the field, including Chance Marsteller in the final.

Qualifiers: Nick Becker (3rd), Matt Finesilver, Geno Morelli, Stacey Davis, Ben Harvey

Just Missed: CJ Brucki, Spencer Carey, Justin Llopez


Pat Downey trailed Myles Martin in the semis 7-0 with about 2 minutes remaining. And then, poof, it all fell apart for Myles, and PD3 won 9-7. And the Baltimore Clubber kept it rolling in the final over Nick Heflin.

Champ: Pat Downey over Nick Heflin, 10-4

Qualifiers: Sammy Brooks (3rd), Brett Pfarr, Nathan Jackson, Myles Martin (MFF’d), Kenny Courts

Just Missed: Max Dean, Josh Asper, Cam Caffey, Nino Bonaccorsi


Bo tech’d the field. Really, he destroyed everyone, and it wasn’t close.

Champ: Bo Nickal tech Hayden Zillmer

Qualifiers: Mike Macchiavello (3rd), Tim Dudley, Kollin Moore, Riley Lefever, Timmy McCall

Just Missed: Scottie Boykin, Cody Walters, Pat Brucki


Kyven Gadsen rolled through a less credentialed field, not allowing a single point.

Champ: Kyven Gadsen over Ben Honis, 5-0

Qualifiers: Danny Chaid (3rd), Ty Walz, Kevin Beazley, Michael Boykin, Wynn Michalak

Just Missed: Jeremiah Imonode, Don McNeil


Nick Nevills scratched. Adam Coon beat everyone, again.

Champ: Adam Coon over Tony Nelson, 5-2

Qualifiers: Dom Bradley (3rd), Derek White, Youssif Hemida, Tate Orndorff, Garrett Ryan

Just Missed: James Romero, Matt Voss, Tanner Hall



Brody Teske wrestled well, though he fell short of the podium. Unseeded, Brody rattled off three consecutive wins to advance to the quarterfinals, including an impressive 7-2 win over Jacob Camacho (NCST). Brody fell victim to a trapped-arm gut wrench in the quarters, and that put him into the round of 12 against 3-seed Eric Barnett (WISC). We’re biased, but we though Brody looked like the better kid, but he lost 3-2. Bummer.

Champ: Malik Heinselman tech’d everyone, including Sam Latona (VaTech) in the final 10-0.

Qualifiers: RayVon Foley (3rd), Chris Cannon, Trevor Mastrogiovanni, Wyatt Henson, Justin Cardani

Just Missed: 4-Julian Tagg, 5-Matt Ramos, 7-Aaron Cashman,


Roman Bravo Young looked awesome, including a 12-1 tech of Pat Glory (PRIN) in the semis. RBY led 4-2 in the final versus Gabe Tagg (UNC). He tried to scramble out of a takedown for a little too long, scrambled onto his back, and got pinned.

Champ: Gabe Tagg (UNC) WBF RBY

Qualifiers: Jevon Parrish (3rd), Jaime Hernandez, Pat Glory, Jarrett Trombley, Teague Travis

Just Missed: 2-Jordan Decatur, 5-Dylan D’Emilio, 7-Pat Moomey


Uh - Yahya Thomas (JNW) didn’t qualify for NCAAs, but he just won the Junior Open.

Champ: Yahya Thomas 4-0 over Andrew Alirez

Qualifiers: Real Woods (3rd), Josh Saunders, Victor Voinovich (high school soph), Peter Ogunsanya, Keegan O’Toole

Just Missed: Jojo Aragona, Jaden Abas


Sammy Sasso’s is going to be a problem next year. He looked big, and after a slow start against Quincy Monday (13-10), he wrecked the rest of the field, going tech, pin, pin, tech, tech for the title.

Champ: Sasso tech Brayton Lee, 10-0

Qualifiers: Peyton Robb (3rd), Monday, Jacori Teemer, Anthony Artalona, Kendall Coleman


6-seed Joe Lee started hot with 2 pins (0:50 and 1:17), and made a miraculous comeback to beat Jaden Mattox (OHST) in the 2nd round, 14-13, at the buzzer. But either that match took a little something out of him, or Joe may have gotten a little dinged health-wise, because he dropped his next two bouts in painful fashion to miss the podium.

Champ: David Carr over Danny Braunagle

Qualifiers: Nelson Brands (3rd), Julian Ramirez, Travis Wittlake, DJ Shannon, Philip Conigliaro


Aaron Brooks tech’d everyone, including Stanford’s Shane Griffith.

Champ: AB tech Griffith, 10-0

Qualifiers: Dustin Plott (3rd), Parker Keckeisen, Tyler Dow, Jake Allar, Mike O’Malley


Champ: Trent Hoagie Hidlay over Zach Braunagel

Qualifiers: Abe Assad, Gavin Hoffman, Victor Marcelli, Thomas Penola, Peter Acciardi

Just Missed: Kordell Norfleet


Michael Beard scratched, so that was a bummer for us.

Champ: Lucas Davison (JNW) over Jake Woodley (OU)

Qualifiers: Brandon Whitman (3rd), Joel Shapiro, Dakota Howard, Jacob Cardenas, Connor Corbin


No PSU entries here either.

Champ: Sam Schuyler over Tanner Sloan

Qualifiers: Austin Harris (3rd), Aric Bohn, Kyle Lightner, Wyatt Hendrickson, Antonio Andrade


Seth Nevills is getting the hang of this freestyle thing. Big Snacks advanced to the final in his second freestyle tournament. He got blasted there by Anthony Cassioppi. But hey - pretty awesome for his second event.

Champ: Cassioppi tech Seth Nevills

Qualifiers: John Borst (3rd), Emerson, Jonathan Spaulding, Kayne Hutchinson, Zach Knighton-Ward, Josh Heindselman


The National Wrestling Coaches Association announced their 2019 Academic All-Americans. Thirty-Nine academic AAs were also NCAA all-americans. Penn State produced the most, with 5: Roman Bravo-Young (133), Nick Lee (141), Jason Nolf (157), Bo Nickal (197), and Anthony Cassar (285). PSU was also the only team, nationally, to place top 10 at NCAAs, and top 21 academically.

If you’re keeping score at home - which, you ought to, since that’s the point - then you might notice the following on your scorecard:

  • Best Wrestling: Penn State
  • Best Academics: Penn State
  • Best Wrestling Coaches: Penn State
  • Best Post Grad Training: Penn State
  • Largest Alumni Network: Penn State
  • Happiest, Kindest, Most Well Adjusted People On Planet Earth: Penn State

Why would you want to send your kid anywhere else?