UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lions (12-2, 8-1 B1G), ranked No. 2 in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index nearly shut out American University wrestling (3-8) on Senior Day in Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon by winning 40-3 in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,447.
Seniors Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, and Shakur Rasheed showed out in their Rec Hall finales by earning wins by pins to help cap off outstanding careers at PSU. The Nittany Lions won nine of the ten matches. The match was the 55th straight Rec Hall sellout for Penn State and the 61st of the last 63 sellouts at home, including six of eight in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The dual began at 141. Nick Lee ranked No. 1 at 141, started against Sal Profaci. Lee took a 4-1 lead into the second period with a few takedowns to his credit. He continued to score and notched a 7-3 win to put the Nittany Lions up 3-0 early.
At 149 lbs., No. 17 Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren wrestled No. 8 Kizhan Clarke of American in the dual’s marquee matchup and it was a good one. With just:03 left, Verkleeren finished off a counter-takedown to post a 3-1 win for the Cats.
Luke Gardner got the nod at 157 pounds weight class. Gardner came back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to get three takedowns and roll to a 7-5 victory to put the Nittany Lions up 9-0.
At 165 lbs., No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph’s action-packed first period gave him a 6-0 advantage against American’s Tim Fitzpatrick heading into the second period. Joseph wasted no time to earn a fall at the 4:00 minute mark in his final match in Rec Hall. PSU was leading 15-0 heading into No. 2 Mark Hall’s bout at 174 lbs. against American’s Anthony Wokasch.
The only difference between Hall’s and Joseph’s matches was how long they lasted. Hall also brought Rec Hall to a frenzy in his last match at Rec Hall as he earned his fall at the 2:33 mark, putting the Cats up 21-0 heading into intermission.
No. 6 Aaron Brooks leaped out to an early 7-3 lead over Tanner Harvey of American in their bout at 184 lbs. After an American challenge, Harvey closed the gap to make the score 7-5 heading into the third period. Brooks posted a hard-fought 8-5 win over American junior Tanner Harvey and Penn State led 24-0 and close the rest of the matches out in a grandiose fashion.
The Nittany Lions posted a superb 24-3 advantage in takedowns. Penn State won nine of ten bouts and picked up 13 bonus points off four pins (Joseph, Hall, Rasheed, Bravo-Young) and a major (Nevills).
Penn State closes out the dual season with a 12-2 mark, 8-1 in the Big Ten. American falls to 4-8. Penn State now prepares for the 2020 Big Ten Championship at Rutgers in two weeks. The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 7-8, at the RAC in Piscataway, N.J. and will serve as the national qualifier for the conference.