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Wrestling Nationals Session 4 Recap, Session 5 Preview and Finals Open Thread

Penn State continued its dominance in the National Semifinals, putting four wrestlers in position to win their first Championships tonight, while Iowa has clinched the team title.

Coach Casey Cunningham congratulates freshman Carter Starocci on reaching his first National Championship opportunity.
Tony Rotundo / Wrestlers Are Warriors

Penn State under Cael Sanderson almost never loses in the National Semifinals, and last night was no exception, as Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks all advanced to the final bout with an opportunity for each to win their first National Championships tonight.

Additionally, both Michael Beard and Greg Kerkvliet earned their first All-American honors with dominating Major Decision wins in the Bloodround.

The team race is nearly mathematically over, as it often is by Saturday morning of this 3-day tournament of brutality, heartbreak and joy.

When Brady Berge blew out his knee in Session 2 yesterday afternoon, guaranteeing zero points for him in last night’s Bloodround, and both Beard and Kerkvliet lost their Consolation Quarterfinal bouts, Penn State’s scoring for the day was over.

Iowa suffered their own injury sadness, when 1-seed Alex Marinelli was injured in his upset loss to 8-seed Shane Griffith and was also unable to continue the tournament. He and Berge finished with 4 and 3 team points respectively. With the free eligibility this year, both have opportunities to heal up and return for another chance next year.

“Deserve” is a word not often used in wrestling circles because of the purity of accountability that permeates the sport. “Earned” is the preferred term. But with the craziness of the past year on this planet and all the many adversities Berge & Marinelli have persevered through in their careers, at least one more opportunity to perform healthily at the Nationals is richly deserved.

Despite losing Marinelli and Max Murin in the Bloodround, the stocked and stacked Hawkeyes still advanced 7 wrestlers to more scoring opportunities today. Austin DeSanto and Tony Cassioppi lost their semifinals bouts and are wrestling in this morning’s Consolation Semifinals, with an opportunity for 3.5 Advancement + Placement points and an additional 3rd or 5th place match depending on how they fare there. Jacob Warner joins them there, after earning All-American in the Bloodround and winning again later in the consi semis. Kaleb Young will wrestle for 7th, when Beard and Kerkvliet do.

1-seeds Spencer Lee, Jaydin Eierman and Michael Kemerer all won their semifinals and wrestle tonight for National Championships.

To put the team race in perspective, if only Spencer Lee wins today and Iowa loses all 9 of their other remaining bouts AND Penn State wins all 6 of theirs with zero Bonus Points, Iowa would win by .5 points.

Top-15 Team Scores, via PSWC.

Schedule and points available today and tonight:

Looking at Iowa’s Friday in a new session breakout scoring sheet I’m experimenting with this year, we see:

While Penn State’s looks like:

Penn State’s Session 2 consolation matchups and all 10 of tonight’s finals matchups, courtesy of BSD Wrestle member Bubba and his helpful website:

Matchups, via

The finals are scheduled to begin with 133 and to finish with 125, to showcase the only returning Champion, Iowa’s great Spencer Lee.

Iowa’s consi matchups are courtesy of Go Iowa Awesome, where Friend of the Shoes RossWB has posted a recap of Iowa’s up and down day yesterday.

Can Penn State finish out on winning notes and crown 4 National Champions?

It’s sure going to fun to watch them try!