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True freshman leads Penn State to road victory

From Mirror reports

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team downed Nebraska Friday night, 20-18, to begin a rugged 16-day stretch of Big Ten road action.

Penn State won in front of a record-Nebraska crowd with true freshman Seth Nevills sealing the deal with a win in the dual’s final matchup.

The Nittany Lions, ranked second in the latest InterMat Tournament Power Index, improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten, while No. 7 Nebraska dropped to 5-3 overall, 0-3 in the conference.

Penn State is on a run of four-of-five road duals in 16 days, including action at Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with a home dual against Maryland splitting the four road dates. Each team won five bouts in the hotly contested battle with Penn State winning the bonus point battle to grab the win in front of 5,960 fans.

The dual began at 125 where freshman Brandon Meredith lost a hard-fought 3-1 sudden victory decision to Nebraska’s Alex Thomsen, giving the Huskers an early 3-0 lead in the dual.

Sophomore Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 3 at 133, was winding down a regular-decision win over No. 13 Ridge Lovett when he hit on a furious six-point move as the bout ended, nearly pinning the Husker in the process. The takedown, four nearfall points and riding time gave the Lions an 11-3 major decision and gave Penn State a 4-3 lead.

Junior Nick Lee, ranked No. 2 at 141, dominated No. 8 Chad Red Jr. in the next bout. Lee used three takedowns, an escape, a stall point and nearly 4:00 in riding time (3:58) to roll to a 9-1 major decision over the ranked Husker and give Penn State an 8-3 lead.

Sophomore Jarod Verkleeren battled No. 14 Collin Purinton at 149. Trailing 3-2 in the third, Verkleeren forced a scramble as he looked for a takedown but was pinned by the ranked Husker at the 5:50 mark. With No. 4 Brady Berge not competing at 157, junior Bo Pipher took the mat against No. 11 Peyton Robb. Pipher lost a hard-fought 5-3 decision. Nebraska’s two wins to close out the half put Penn State behind 12-8 at intermission.

Senior Vincenzo Joseph, ranked No. 1 at 165, dominated No. 5 Isaiah White in the second half’s first bout. Joseph used a first-period takedown, a second-period rideout, an escape, a stall point and 2:00 riding time to post the 5-1 win. Senior Mark Hall, ranked No. 1 at 174, then took care of No. 6 Mikey Labriola as he pinned the ranked Husker at the 6:52 mark to put Penn State up 17-12.

True freshman Aaron Brooks, ranked No. 6 at 184, suffered his first loss of the season, a tough 9-5 decision to No. 8 Taylor Venz, the veteran Husker junior cutting Penn State’s lead to 17-15.

Senior Shakur Rasheed, ranked No. 19 at 197, dropped a tough 3-1 decision to No. 8 Eric Schultz as the Husker used a late second period takedown to grab the victory. The Huskers led 18-17 with one bout left.

That was when Nevills took on No. 15 Christian Lance, a senior, at 285 with the dual meet in the balance. Nevills was unphased by the moment and dominated the Nebraska senior.

After a scoreless first period, Nevills notched a second-period rideout after Lance chose down to start the middle stanza. The Lion freshman escaped to start the third and finished off the dual with a late takedown to post an impressive 4-0 win with 2:11 in riding time. Nevills’ impressive performance gave Penn State the 20-18 victory.

Penn State won the takedown battle 13-8. With each team winning five bouts, the dual meet came down to bonus points and the Lions won that battle 5-3. Penn State got bonus points off of one pin (Hall) and two majors (Bravo-Young, Lee).

The Lions are off until next Friday when it visits Iowa for a 9 p.m. match to air live on the Big Ten Network.

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