Penn State Wrestling: Nittany Lions tame Beavers 31-3 in Rec Hall

Mar 19, 2022; Detroit, MI, USA; Penn State wrestler Max Dean celebrates after defeating Iowa wrestler Jacob Warner (not pictured) in the 197 pound weight class final match during the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Little Cesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2022; Detroit, MI, USA; Penn State wrestler Max Dean celebrates after defeating Iowa wrestler Jacob Warner (not pictured) in the 197 pound weight class final match during the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Little Cesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The No. 1 Penn State Wrestling team put on a show for the home crowd by taking down No. 25 Oregon State 31-3

The lazy Sunday afternoon dual meet scheduled against Oregon State was the second straight tough test for the No. 1 Nittany Lions. But Cael Sanderson and the Penn State Wrestling squad eat tough tests for breakfast and wash it down with a cup full of nails.

The Nittany Lions gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in their 31-3 beatdown of the Oregon State Beavers. Let’s take a look at how it all went down.

Onto the action!

The dual started out at 125 and it was an uphill climb for the Nittany Lions as Gary Steen had the difficult task of taking on Brandon Kaylor, an All-American from last year.

Steen put up a heck of a fight, but it simply wasn’t enough as Kaylor used a full second period ride out and a takedown in the third period to cruise to a 4-0 lead. The Beavers struck first and lead 3-0 following the first match.

Roman Bravo-Young then hit the mat at 133 and for the first time in I have no idea how long, RBY was losing this match in the first period. Oregon State’s No. 16 ranked Jason Shaner had the day off and freshman Gabe Whisenhunt got the nod.

Maybe it was ignorance or the irrational confidence some freshmen have, but Whisenhunt came out firing against Bravo-Young. Which lead to an early takedown in front of a stunned Rec Hall crowd. But I guarantee everyone in attendance had this feeling for a split second. Because they knew exactly what was about to happen.

And that was the fact RBY went to work on his Beaver counterpart and started raining down takedowns. Once the dust finally settled, Bravo-Young picked up the major decision, 17-8, and Penn State took the lead in the dual 4-3.

The match at 141 featured the first ranked match of the afternoon with Beau Bartlett taking on Cleveland Belton. And once again Bartlett looked impressive in notching the 5-3 decision and pushes his perfect record to 8-0 on the season.

The Nittany Lions then extended their lead over Oregon State to 7-3.

On paper, then next match didn’t appear to be anything to write home about. But give OSU’s Noah Tolentino a ton of credit, he gave Shayne Van Ness all he could handle, and the two grapplers put on an exciting match for Rec Hall crowd.

Ultimately Van Ness was too strong in the top position and following a third period takedown he earned the 6-1 decision while piling up over two minutes of riding time. Going into the fifth match of the afternoon, Penn State held a 10-3 lead.

And the excitement and high energy continued in the next match as Terrell Barraclough kept pressure on his Beaver foe from the opening whistle. Barraclough was able to land three takedowns and accumulate over two minutes of riding time to snag the 8-4 decision over Isiah Crosby. Heading into intermission, Penn State took a double-digit lead, 13-3.

The second half of the dual started out with another ranked matchup with No. 15 Alex Facundo facing a scrappy No. 23 Matthew Olguin. Each grappler would represent the toughest opponent they had faced so far in the early 2022-2023 season.

Facundo was able to strike first blood with a takedown in the first period following a low double. Olguin was able to work himself free for the escape and the first period ended with both grapplers still looking to get to their offense.

Facundo and Olguin each traded escapes in the second and third period and the match ended with a scramble at the center of the mat as the clock hit triple zeros and Alex earning the hard fought 3-2 decision. This result put the Nittany Lions up 16-3 with some of the hammers of the Penn State lineup yet to go.

At 174, No. 1 Carter Starocci faced a familiar opponent in Oregon State’s No. 28 Aaron Olmos. These two faced each other early last season with Starocci winning a one-sided 17-2 technical fall in the middle of the second period.

But this time, Olmos was able to keep Starocci in check. Well, sort of. I guess going from a technical fall to a major decision is still progress if you’re the guy on the losing end. And losing is something Carter Starocci doesn’t enjoy as evident by the 14-3 major decision butt whooping he put on Aaron Olmos.

Going into the final three matches of the afternoon, Penn State had a 20-3 lead.

Going into this dual meet the match at 184 looked like it was going to be a great one. At least on paper. No. 1 Aaron Brooks was slotted to go toe to toe with No. 13 Trey Munoz. But instead, it was Penn State’s Donovon Ball taking on Jackson McKinney.

And just because it wasn’t two top 13 grapplers going to battle, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good match. Rather Ball and McKinney put on a decent show for the Rec Hall fans.

Going into the third period the match was 1-0 in favor of McKinney with Ball starting in the bottom position. And shortly into the final period Ball was finally able to work himself out of McKinney’s grasp. With the match now tied at 1-1, Ball went on the attack to look for the winning takedown. Which is exactly what he did by landing a single leg and working it into a takedown with less than 10 seconds left in the match.

Ball ride out McKinney for the final seconds and he pulled out the exciting 3-1 decision. With the biggest matchup of the afternoon on deck, Penn State pushed their lead to 23-3.

No. 1 Max Dean versus No. 11 Tanner Harvey represented the fourth ranked matchup of the day as well as the highest ranked matchup. Just recently, the Nittany Lion faithful have seen Max Dean face some highly competitive guys and they’ve seen him lose each of his last two matches against Rider’s Ethan Laird and Lehigh’s Michael Beard.

Would Dean be able to bounce back against another top grappler?

Things certainly started out on a good note with Dean snagging a single leg in the first period to earn a takedown. Harvey escaped and the match was 2-1 in Max’s favor going into the second period.

Dean started in the bottom position in the second and he fought out for the escape to extend his lead to 3-1. Max then went back on the offensive by grabbing another single leg, working the position, and getting the go behind for his second takedown of the match.

Dean held a 5-2 lead starting the third period and while Harvey pulled his second escape of the match, he was not able to do anything else. Max Dean wrestled a gritty, intelligent, and technically sound match and he wasn’t about to lose another match, especially in front of the home crowd. His 6-3 decision was Penn State’s eighth straight win of the day and moved their lead to 26-3 with one match remaining.

In the final match of the afternoon, Greg Kerkvliet was about as dominant as a human being could be when wrestling another human being who weighed roughly the same.

Kerk Kong looks simply incredible this season and I just don’t see how the dominance won’t continue. All I can say is that I don’t want to be the person who has to face him in the wrestling room every day. That guy should get some sort of award.

Kerkvliet blitzed his heavyweight counterpart with an 18-2 technical fall which ended early in the third period.

Penn State Wrestling ended up winning the final nine matches on the afternoon and crushed the Oregon State Beavers to the tune of 31-3

Next on the schedule for the Nittany Lions is a trip down to New Orleans for the 2022 National Collegiate Duals on December 19th.

No. 25 Oregon State 3 No. 1 Penn State 31

125 No. 12 Brandon Kaylor (OSU) dec. over Gary Steen (PSU) 4-0, OSU 3 PSU 0
133 No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young (PSU) major dec. over Gabe Whisenhunt (OSU) 17-8, OSU 3 PSU 4
141 No. 9 Beau Bartlett (PSU) dec. over No. 24 Cleveland Belton (OSU) 5-3, OSU 3 PSU 7
149 No. 17 Shayne Van Ness (PSU) dec. over Noah Tolentino (OSU) 6-1, OSU 3 PSU 10
157 No. 30 Terrell Barraclough (PSU) dec. over Isiah Crosby (OSU) 8-4, OSU 3 PSU 13
165 No. 15 Alex Facundo (PSU) dec. over No. 23 Matthew Olguin (OSU) 3-2, OSU 3 PSU 16
174 No. 1 Carter Starocci (PSU) major dec. over No. 28 Aaron Olmos (OSU) 14-3, OSU 3 PSU 20
184 Donovon Ball (PSU) dec. over Jackson McKinney (OSU) 3-1, OSU 3 PSU 23
197 No. 1 Max Dean (PSU) dec. over No. 11 Tanner Harvey (OSU) 6-3, OSU 3 PSU 26
285 No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) tech. fall over J.J. Dixon (OSU) 18-2, OSU 3 PSU 31