UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Whenever two powerful wrestling programs meet up, you know it is going to come down to the last few matches.
No. 2/2 Penn State (11-2, 8-1 B1G) beat No. 6/3 Ohio State wrestling team (10-4, 6-3 B1G) 20-16 in their dual meet. The 10 matches were split with five wins going each way, but the Nittany Lions upper wi three consecutive bonus point garnering performances (165-184 pounds) pushed Penn State on top.
The match started at 125 pounds with Brandon Meredith and Ohio State’s Malik Heinselman. Meredith was heavy with hands early, but a Heinselman’s takedown in the first period and riding time was enough to secure the dual. He won 5-3 and gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 team lead.
Two bouts later, Sasso toughed out a 3-1 sudden victory to get beat Jarod Verkleeren. An escape by each wrestler was the only points in regulation before Sasso sealed the match with a takedown in overtime. Quinn Kinner ruined Brady Berge’s return to the lineup, with a third-period takedown to notch a 4-3 win over the 2019 NCAA Qualifier.
The main bout of the evening came at 141 pounds where No. 1 Luke Pletcher of Ohio State took on No. 2, Nick Lee. Both wrestlers entered the match with unblemished records and possibly meeting the NCAA finals next month.
Pletcher came out very aggressive and fast on the attack, picking up an early score to go up 2-1 within the first seconds of the dual. Heading into the second period Pletcher was up 2-1. Pletcher then escapes to make it 3-1, Lee settled down and started to get attack Pletcher’s legs. He scored his first takedown of the match with less than minute to go in the period and rode it out, forcing a pair of stall calls and re-take the lead at 4-3 after 2 periods.
Lee escaped early in the third to take a 5-3 lead and got right back on the attack, by taking Pletcher down for 2 and going up 7-3. Lee had riding time to give him a decisive 8-4 win.
At 149, Jarod Verkleeren continued to wrestle tough in his bouts. February. Verkleeren forced Buckeye Sammy Sasso into sudden victory before losing 3-1. That tied to dual at 6-6.
The Buckeyes held a 9-6 lead at the break.
After the intermission, the meat and potatoes of the Nittany Lions’ lineup went to work.
Top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph who gave up an early takedown in the bout cruised through with a 13-5 major decision over No. 16 Ethan Smith. The win gave PSU 10-9 lead and they got big wins from the 174 & 184 pounds weight divisions.
No. 2 Penn State 20, No. 6 Ohio State 16
125 lbs | Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Bryce Meredith (PSU) | D, 5-3; Team Score: 0-3
133 lbs | No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young (PSU) def. Jordan Decatur (OSU) | D, 10-4; TS: 3-3
141 lbs | No. 2 Nick Lee (PSU) def. No. 1 Luke Pletcher (OSU) | D, 8-4; TS: 6-3
149 lbs | No. 1 Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. Jarod Verkleeren (PSU) | SV-1, 3-1; TS: 6-6
157 lbs | Quinn Kinner (OSU) def. Brady Berge (PSU) | D, 4-3; TS: 6-9
165 lbs | No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) def. No. 14 Ethan Smith (OSU) | MD, 13-5; TS: 10-9
174 lbs | No. 2 Mark Hall (PSU) def. No. 7 Kaleb Romero (OSU) | PIN, 0:46; TS: 16-9
184 lbs | No. 7 Aaron Brooks (PSU) def. No. 12 Rocky Jordan (OSU) | MD, 15-4; TS: 20-9
197 lbs | No. 1 Kollin Moore (OSU) def. No. 18 Shakur Rasheed (PSU) | MD, 14-6; TS: 20-13
285 lbs | No. 23 Gary Traub (OSU) def. No. 13 Seth Nevills (PSU) | D, 5-4; TS: 20-16
Three weeks of training await OSU. Ohio State’s regular season is officially in the books and tournament action begins at the Big Ten Championships (March 7-8).