4 Lions reach finals
ST. LOUIS – Penn State’s Nick Lee and Rutgers’ Sebastian Rivera tangled in one of the more entertaining bouts in the Big Ten Championships a couple weeks ago at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Lee won that semifinal bout, 3-1, in overtime. Friday night, they hooked up in another entertaining 141-pound semifinal at the NCAA Championships. Lee pulled away late with a four-point move to win, 9-3.
Lee was one of four Lions who advanced to today’s championship finals and completed 4-for-4 performance in the semifinals at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Roman Bravo-Young (133), redshirt freshman Carter Starocci (174) and top-seeded Aaron Brooks (184) also reached the finals. The finals are scheduled for 7 p.m. and be televised by ESPN.
Iowa leads Penn State in the team standings by 14.5 points, 109-94.5.
Freshmen Michael Beard (197) and Greg Kerkvliet (285) have earned All-America honors. They’ll wrestle for seventh place after going 1-2 on Friday.
Brady Berge (157) came up a win shy of earning a medal, while freshman Robbie Howard (125) was eliminated a round earlier.
Berge, who pulled off one of the biggest wins of the first day in a 3-2 win over Iowa’s Kaleb Young, had to injury default to Rider’s Jesse Dellavecchia with an apparent right leg injury in the first period of their quarterfinal bout. He then medically forfeited his consolation bout.
Central Cambria two-time state champion Max Murin (149), who wrestled in the quarterfinals, came up one win shy of becoming an All-American as he went 0-2 on Friday with two overtime losses.
Huntingdon two-time state champ Jacob Oliver (174), a three-time NCAA qualifier, lost his second-round consolation bout and ended his redshirt junior season with a 1-2 mark in the tournament.
Lee rang up an 11-3 major decision over North Carolina’s Zachary Sherman in the quarterfinals.
In the finals, Lee was the aggressor early on, but Rivera scored a late takedown in the period. In the second period, Lee escaped and got stalling point at the 1:22 mark to tie the score. Lee took Rivera down with 45 seconds left in the period.
Rivera escaped quickly in the third and later tried to throw Lee unsuccessfully. Instead, Lee took Rivera down to his back for a four-point move. He got a riding time point to set the final score.
Lee will face Iowa’s top-seeded Jaydin Eirman in the finals in a rematch of the Big Ten finals. Eirman won the matchup, 6-5.
Bravo-Young reached the semifinals with a 4-1 win over Virginia’s Louie Hayes in the quarterfinals. RBY earned a 5-3 win over Virginia Tech’s Korbin Myers in the semifinals to earn a finals berth against Oklahoma State’s top-seeded Daton Fix.
Bravo-Young was tied, 2-2, entering the third and chose neutral. The move paid off as he took Myers down with a low shot with 1:02 left in the match. RBY rode until Myers escaped with 2 seconds left. He got riding time to set the final.
Starocci advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Kent State’s Andrew McNally. And then he rode Utah Valley’s Demetrius Romero out in the final period in the semifinals to win, 2-0.
“Staying patient and staying calm (was the key),” Starocci told NCAA Wrestling in a video interview on Twitter. “This is why I do it for. This is the big stage. It’s what I love to do.”
Starocci will face Iowa’s Michael Kemerer in a rematch of the Big Ten finals. Kemerer won that that matchup, 7-2.
In a rematch of the Big Ten 184-pound finals, Brooks earned a 9-4 win over Nebraska’s Taylor Venz. In the semifinals, he defeated Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen, 6-4, scoring two takedowns, escaping and getting riding time.
“I’m just feeling really good,” Brooks told ESPN. “I’m just working with Coach Cael (Sanderson). He’s the best technician in the world. I put my abilities with that, and I’m extremely blessed.”
Brooks will face North Carolina State’s Trent Hidlay, a Mifflin County grad, in the finals.
Howard won his first consolation bout of the day, 9-7, over Chattanooga’s Fabian Gutierrez, but he was pinned by Minnesota’s Patrick McKee in 2:04 in the next consolation bout.
Murin suffered a heartbreaking 6-4 overtime loss to Oklahoma State’s Boo Lewallen in the quarterfinals. And then he dropped a 2-1 tiebreaker loss to Stanford’s Jaden Abas in his only consolation bout.
Oliver was losing 7-6 in the third period and gaining momentum against Campbell’s Austin Murphy, but Murphy threw Oliver to his back and pinned him in 6:40.
The consolation semifinals begin at 10 this morning.
133–Bravo-Young, Penn State, dec. Hayes, Virginia, 4-1; 141–N. Lee, Penn State, maj. dec. Sherman, North Carolina, 11-3; 149–Lewallen, Oklahoma State, dec. Murin, Iowa, 6-4 OT; 157–Dellacecchia, Rider, won by injury default over Berge, Penn State, 2:39; 174–Starocci, Penn State, dec. McNally, Kent State, 6-3; 184–Brooks, Penn State, dec. Venz, Nebraska, 9-4; 197–Woodley, Oklahoma, dec. Beard, Penn State, 8-3; 285–Steveson, Minnesota, dec. Kerkvliet, Penn State, 9-4.
Second Round Consolations
125–Howard, Penn State, dec. Gutierrez, Chattanooga, 9-7; 174–Murphy, Campbell, pinned Oliver, Edinboro, 6:40.
Third Round Consolations
125–McKee, Minnesota, pinned Howard, 2:04.
133–Bravo-Young, dec. Myers, Virginia Tech, 5-3; 141–N. Lee, dec. Rivera, Rutgers, 9-3; 174–Starocci, dec. Romero, Utah Valley, 2-0; 184–Brooks, dec. Keckeisen, Northern Iowa, 6-4.
Fourth Round Consolations
149–Abas, Stanford, dec. Murin, 2-1 TB; 157–Sheets, Oklahoma State, won by forfeit over Berge; 197–Beard, maj. dec. Sloan, South Dakota State, 9-1; 285–Kerkvliet, maj. dec. Harris, Oklahoma State, 13-5.
197–Elam, Missouri, dec. Beard, 5-0; 285–Schultz, Arizona State, dec. Kerkvliet, 14-8.