UNIVERSITY PARK — The Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0, 6-0 B1G), ranked No. 3 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, shut out visiting Maryland (0-8, 0-8 B1G) in the team’s lone home dual of the season.
Penn State won all ten bouts to roll to a 44-0 victory and finished the regular season with a 6-0 dual meet record, all in the Big Ten.
Penn State won eight of the ten bouts for bonus points. The young Nittany Lions featured a line-up that included six freshmen and a sophomore, seven underclassmen.
The dual began at 285. Freshman Greg Kerkvliet made his season and Penn State debut at 285 and made short work of his Terrapin opponent. Kerkvliet picked up two takedowns on Garrett Kappes in the first :30 to lead 4-1 early. He then locked up a cradle and ended his Lion debut early with a fall at the 1:12 mark. True freshman Robert Howard made his Rec Hall debut at 125 and followed suit. Howard opened up a big early lead and then pinned Maryland’s Zach Spence in the second period, getting the fall at the 3:38 mark. Junior Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 3 at 133, kept Penn State rolling by majoring Jackson Cockrell 24-13. Bravo-Young tallied 10 takedowns in the bout and gave Penn State a 16-0 lead.
Senior Nick Lee, ranked No. 2 at 141, made it four straight bonus wins for the Lions with a strong 14-2 major decision over Maryland’s Danny Bertoni. Lee built up 4:18 in riding time in the win. True freshman Beau Bartlett made his Rec Hall dual debut up at 149 and rolled to a 9-3 win for Penn State’s fifth straight win out of the gates. The Nittany Lions led 23-0 at halftime.
Being Senior Night, senior Luke Gardner took to the mat at 157 and junior Brady Berge, ranked No. 8 at 157, got the night off. Gardner used a takedown and four back points in the third period to post an 8-2 victory. Freshman Joe Lee, ranked No. 14 at 165, dominated the action as well, building up a big lead over Jonathan Spadafora before pinning him at the 5:56 mark in the third period. Freshman Carter Starocci, ranked No. 5 at 174, continued his sizzling wrestling, rolling to a 15-6 major with 2:22 in riding time. Starocci’s win put Penn State up 36-0.
Sophomore Aaron Brooks, ranked No. 2 at 184, remained unbeaten on the year as well. Brooks dominated Phillip Spadafora in a 17-5 major decision with 1:57 in riding time. Freshman Michael Beard, ranked No. 16 at 197, finished off the perfect night with a strong 13-3 major decision over Maryland’s Jaron Smith. Beard’s win closed out Penn State’s 44-0 shutout victory.
The Nittany Lions gave up only two takedowns in the dual, posting a 47-2 margin over Maryland. The Lions gave up only five during their two final duals (Ohio State only had three on Friday).
Penn State’s last shutout victory was the season opener last year, a 45-0 win over Navy on Nov. 10, 2019, here in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions posted their fifth unbeaten dual meet season under Cael Sanderson.
The Nittany Lions will host the 2021 Big Ten Wrestling Championship on Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7, in the Bryce Jordan Center. While no public tickets will be made available for the event due to virus mitigation restrictions, the Big Ten Network will air action on Saturday, Saturday night’s semifinals and Sunday’s finals live nationally and the Big Ten Network+ will live stream every mat.
#3 Penn State 44,
285: Greg Kerkvliet PSU pinned Garrett Kappes MD, WBF (1:12) 6-0
125: Robert Howard PSU pinned Zach Spence MD, WBF (3:38) 12-0
133: #3 Roman Bravo-Young PSU maj. dec. Jackson Cockrell MD, 24-13 16-0
141: #2 Nick Lee PSU maj. dec. Danny Bertoni MD, 14-2 20-0
149: Beau Bartlett PSU dec. Hunter Baxter MD, 9-3 23-0
157: Luke Gardner PSU dec. Michael Doetsch MD, 8-2 26-0
165: #14 Joe Lee PSU pinned Jonathan Spadafora MD, WBF (5:56) 32-0
174: #5 Carter Starocci PSU maj. dec. Phillip Spadafora MD, 15-6 36-0
184: #2 Aaron Brooks PSU maj. dec. Kyle Cochran MD, 17-5 40-0
197: #16 Michael Beard PSU maj. dec. Jaron Smith MD, 13-3 44-0