Nittany Lions romp on senior day

UNIVERSITY PARK — The No. 2-ranked Penn State wrestling team dominated American University in the team’s dual meet finale Sunday.

Three Penn State seniors got falls on senior day for Penn State, and sophomore Jarod Verkleeren notched a victory in the dual’s marquee matchup as Penn State (12-2, 8-1 in Big Ten) rolled to a 40-3 win.

Seniors Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall and Shakur Rasheed notched pins in their final Rec Hall duals as nearly 6,500 fans packed sold-out Rec Hall. The dual was the 55th straight Rec Hall sellout for Penn State and the 61st of the last 63 sellouts at home.

The dual began at 141. Junior Nick Lee controlled the action from the start in his bout against Sal Profaci. He rolled up 2:45 in riding time and notched a 7-3 win to put Penn State up 3-0 early.

Verkleeren took on No. 8 Kizhan Clarke and did not disappoint. Verkleeren battled the eighth-ranked Eagle evenly for the bulk of the bout and, with just :03 left, finished off a counter-takedown to post a thrilling 3-1 win.

Junior Luke Gardner got the nod at 157 and kept Penn State’s winning ways going. Gardner came back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to notch three takedowns and roll to a 7-5 victory to put the Nittany Lions up 9-0.

Joseph, ranked No. 1 at 165, pinned American’s Tim Fitzpatrick. Joseph turned a cradle into a pin at the 4:00 mark in the second stanza to give the Nittany Lions a 15-0 lead.

Mark Hall, ranked No. 2 at 174, duplicated Joseph’s dual meet swansong. The Lion turned a first period cradle into a fall as well, pinning Conner Allshouse at the 2:33 mark.

True freshman Aaron Brooks kept Penn State perfect through six bouts as the Lion won the second half’s first bout. Brooks posted a hard-fought 8-5 win over American junior Tanner Harvey and Penn State led 24-0.

Rasheed hit the mat against William Jarrell and, like his teammates, locked up a cradle for a fast fall. Rasheed got the pin at the 1:04 mark and Penn State led 30-0.

True freshman Seth Nevills turned a close bout into a major win with a strong third period against Niko Camacho. Nevills picked up two near falls in the final stanza to roll to a 10-2 major decision and give the Lions a 34-0 lead.

At 125, freshman Brandon Meredith took American junior Gage Curry to extra time before the Eagle notched a takedown to post a 3-1 win, picking up American’s first win of the dual.

Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 2 at 133, capped off the Nittany Lion rout with a frenetic first period that ended in a fast fall. Bravo-Young collected nine takedowns in less than two minutes before pinning Joshua Vega at the 1:10 mark.

Penn State now prepares for the 2020 Big Ten Championship at Rutgers in two weeks.

141: #1 Nick Lee PSU dec. Sal Profaci AU, 7-3; 149: #17 Jarod Verkleeren PSU dec. #8 Kizhan Clarke AU, 3-1; 157: Luke Gardner PSU dec. Ethan Karsten AU, 7-5; 165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU pinned Tim Fitzpatrick AU, WBF (4:00); 174: #2 Mark Hall PSU pinned Conner Allshouse AU, WBF (2:33).

184: #6 Aaron Brooks PSU dec. Tanner Harvey AU, 8-5; 197: #18 Shakur Rasheed PSU pinned William Jarrell AU, WBF (1:04); 285: #17 Seth Nevills PSU maj. dec. Niko Camacho AU, 10-2; 125: Gage Curry AU dec. Brandon Meredith PSU, 3-1 (SV); 133: #2 Roman Bravo-Young PSU pinned Joshua Vega AU, WBF (1:10).

Records: Penn State (12-2, 8-1 B1G); American (4-8).