University Park—Penn State won eight bouts, three in OT, to rout Ohio State 32-7 before nearly 16,000 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday night, marking its 59th consecutive sellout and the fifth-largest crowd to attend an NCAA indoor wrestling match
The Nittany Lions (15-0, 7-0 Big Ten) won big was no surprise. Penn State won close matches, something coach Cael Sanderson stressed all season.
Terrell Barraclough (157), Creighton Edsell (165) and Max Dean (194) won in SV, marking the second consecutive match in which the Nittany Lions won at least two OT bouts. PSU won in sudden victory and the tiebreaker in defeating No. 2 Iowa last week.
“Yeah, that was sweet,” Penn State’s Drew Hildebrandt said. “The fans were great. The atmosphere was awesome.” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said Starocci has been dealing with an injury and felt it was right to give him some time off. Sanderson then explained that Berge has been “working on his weight.”
Hildebrandt (No. 6) got the ball rolling with a 2-0 decision against Malik Heinselman. Hildebrandt tallied an escape point in the second period and used riding time in the third to earn the win. The Lions raced out to 13-0 lead and never looked back.
“I got the job done,” he said. “There’s some lessons to take from it. I wish I could have a little more offensively, but I got the job done.”
Roman Bravo-Young came out at 133 faced Brady Koontz. The NCAA champion put on a takedown clinic with three first period takedowns. He took Koontz down two more times in the second period to take a 11-3 lead.
In the third period, Bravo-Young threw Koontz on his back for a fall in 5:24 to sent the white-out crowd into a frenzy. Nick Lee kept things rolling for the Nittany Lions at 141 against No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio. Lee had five takedowns in a 13-3 major decision to give PSU an early double-digit lead.
“I think it helps. We’ve been behind also at halftime,” Sandersaon said, “but either way, you just got to go compete, and be the best you can. I think our guys did a nice job, even the matches we lost.” Offense was hard to come by during Hildebrandt’s match with No. 10 Malik Heinselman.
At 149 Penn State’s Beau Bartlett wrestled No. 2 Sammy Sasso, and trailed 1-0 going to the third period. Bartlett earned a reversal with 1:07 left in the third period to excite the crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Sasso kept wrestling and escaped which tied the match up at 2-2. Both wrestlers looked for that final shot for the win, and it came with six seconds left when Sasso came out on top of a scramble situation.
“Barlett’s right there against one of the top guys,” Sanderson said. “It came down to a takedown in the last minute.”
At 157 Terrell Barraclough took on Ohio State’s third-stringer in Isaac Wilcox. He used a late escape to force sudden victory at 2-2.
Wilcox gave it his all but looked tired, but was in deep on a late shot in the sudden-victory period. Barraclough fought it off, reshot and recorded a bout-winning takedown with three seconds remaining in one of three matches to go to sudden victory. PSU led 16-3 at the break.
“It was fun to see him get excited after his win in a big duel like that,” Sanderson said of Barraclough’s victory. “He was pumped. He’s really good and tough. He just needs some confidence and some experience. Like everything else, if you don’t believe, it’s tough. He works hard, and just a great kid.”
Penn State were without No. 11 Brady Berge (165 pounds, 3-1) and reigning national champion No. 1 Carter Starocci (174 pounds, 14-0). Even without them, the Nittany Lions won eight of 10 bouts and ended the night with a 15-8 takedown advantage.
“Carter’s just been nursing an injury, and it just made sense to give him a little bit more time here, not rush him into these duals,” Sanderson said. “Brady’s just been working on his weight, so he doesn’t have anything bothering him at all.”
The Buckeyes was down wrestlers in No. 4 Carson Kharchia (165 pounds), No. 6 Kaleb Romero (184) and No. 33 Jashon Hubbard (157).
At 174 pounds, Mason Manville, who filled in for Starocci, made a return to the Penn State lineup for the first time since the 2018-2019 season. No. 7 Ethan Smith took Manville down six times — four alone in the first period — to rack up a 15-5 major decision.
The Nittany Lions led 19-7 with three matches to go. Aaron Brooks displayed why he is the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 184 pounds. Up 2-0 to start the second period, Brooks started from the bottom position. He quickly hit a reversal on Rocky Jordan, who was filling in for No. 6 Kaleb Romero, locked up a cradle and decked Jordan in 3:20 to get the Penn State fans back on their feet.
Max Dean had another close bout on his hands at 197 pounds as he took on No. 21 Gavin Hoffman. The Cornell transfer needed a riding-time point to force sudden victory at 3-3.
Dean took Hoffman down with 25 seconds remaining to secure a 5-3 win, and pushed Penn State’s advantage to 28-7.
Greg Kerkvliet finished match off by racking up a 10-2 major decision on No. 13 Tate Orndorff at heavyweight.
This was a title that the Nittany Lions shared with Iowa last year. “I think we wrestled fine. We had a couple guys out of the lineup,” Sanderson said.
The Nittany Lions now turn their focus to Nebraska, which comes to Rec Hall on Sunday for a Noon dual start. If Penn State wins that dual, they will be crowned the Big Ten regular-season champion.