The Penn State wrestling team went on the road on short notice Sunday morning and claimed an impressive Big Ten scalp, downing second-ranked Michigan 18-13.
The Nittany Lions were scheduled to face the Wolverines two weeks ago, but a COVID shutdown of all Michigan athletics took that off the table. When Penn State’s much-anticipated dual with Iowa was postponed Friday night, the program immediately went to work to try to find a match, eventually landing a rescheduled date with the Wolverines.
The two teams entered the dual about as evenly matched as you could imagine with a number of toss-up matches on the slate, the first of which came right off the bat at 125 pounds.
Highly touted true freshman Robbie Howard made his debut for the Nittany Lions after recovering from both an offseason surgery and illness. Howard squared off with Michigan veteran and 2020 national qualifier Jack Medley.
Howard impressed early, scoring a double leg takedown in the first period to take a 2-1 lead into the second. He then added to that with a duck under into a body lock for two more and despite giving up a takedown in the third, held on for a solid 6-5 decision victory in the pivotal matchup.
Penn State continued the momentum up at 133 and 141 with wins from Roman Bravo-Young over freshman Dylan Ragusin and Nick Lee over Drew Mattin, though the Wolverines did avoid giving up key bonus points in both matches. It appeared Bravo-Young had scored a last-second takedown for the major decision, but a Nittany Lions challenged was unsuccessful and he was awarded just the 9-2 victory, while Mattin held on and took a 10-4 loss to Lee.
Michigan briefly seized some momentum at 149 pounds when No. 7 Kanen Storr bested Terrell Barraclough, but Storr faded late in the match and rather than scoring bonus of his own, had to hold on late for a 4-3 win.
In our first matchup of top-10 ranked opponents, Brady Berge squared off with Cadet World Champion WIll Lewan. Both struggled to find opening for much of the bout and entered the final minute of the match tied 1-1. That’s when Berge struck, snagging a cross ankle pick for two and riding out for a big 3-1 win to put Penn State up 12-3 at the break.
After the intermission, Michigan once again responded and got right back in the dual. In a battle of redshirt freshmen that featured a pair of wild scrambles, Cam Amine notched a 4-1 victory, including a riding time point, over Penn State’s Joe Lee.
The marquee matchup of the dual came at 174 pounds. That’s where Nittany Lions redshirt freshman Carter Starocci met second-ranked Logan Massa of Michigan. Starocci nearly scored on a single leg in the first period but couldn’t convert. We entered the second period scoreless and both notched escapes to start the second and third periods respectively.
Despite coming forward for much of the third period, Massa couldn’t find a score and we went to sudden victory, which also featured no points. In the first 30-second tiebreaker period, Massa started down and attempted a dangerous roll through, getting caught on his back for a full set of back points to give Starocci a 5-1 lead entering the second tie-breaker. There he earned a point for an illegal hold and an escape to grab an impressive 7-1 win over the veteran Massa, who took third in the 2017 NCAA tournament. The win put Penn State up 15-6 and in a great position to take the dual.
Aaron Brooks sealed the victory at 184 pounds. Brooks squared off with impressive true freshman Jaden Bullock and snagged four takedowns to give himself a 10-5 victory. Brooks looked en route to a major decision, but Bullock scored a takedown of his own late in the bout to keep avoid bonus points.
Michael Beard squared off with two-time NCAA third-place finished Myles Amine up at 197, with the latter moving up from 184. Despite Beard getting in deep on a pair of takedowns in the first period, it was Amine who led 2-1 after 1. Beard again got in deep on a takedown in the second period but Amine came out with the two to lead 4-3 entering the final period. Amine added one more takedown and a riding time point to secure a workmanlike 8-5 decision.
In the final bout of the night, defending Big Ten runner-up and 2019 Junior World Champion Mason Parris continued to show off his diverse array of skills, grabbing a 12-2 major decision over Seth Nevills. The bonus-point victory wasn’t enough however as the Nittany Lions secured the win and remained undefeated on the year. They’re scheduled to return to action on Friday night at Ohio State on Big Ten Network. The time for that dual has yet to be announced.
125: Robert Howard PSU dec. Jack Medley MICH, 6-5
133: #3 Roman Bravo-Young PSU dec. #8/125 Dylan Ragusin MICH
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU dec. #20 Drew Mattin MICH, 10-4
149: #6 Kanen Storr MICH dec. Terrell Barraclough PSU, 4-3
157: #9 Brady Berge PSU dec. #8 Will Lewan MICH, 3-1
165: #16 Cameron Amine MICH dec. #6 Joe Lee PSU, 4-1
174: #8 Carter Starocci PSU dec. #2 Logan Massa MICH, 7-1 (TB1)
184: #3 Aaron Brooks PSU dec. Jaden Bullock MICH, 10-5
197: #1/184 Myles Amine MICH dec. #14 Michael Beard PSU, 8-5
285: #2 Mason Parris MICH maj. dec. #7 Seth Nevills PSU, 12-2