Year: Graduate Student
Major: Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.
Penn State Career
Roman Bravo-Young has compiled a career record of 87-9 while wrestling for Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions. This includes being undefeated in both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons with RBY going on to win back-to-back NCAA titles in this span.
Bravo-Young is a four-time All-American, a two-time Big Ten champion, was named the Penn State Male Athlete of the Year in 2021 and was a Hodge Trophy finalist in 2022.
RBY’s success on the mat also rolls into the classroom with him being a three-time NWCA first team National All-Academic honoree and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient.
Prior to Penn State
Before winning titles in Happy Valley, Bravo-Young was a standout wrestler for Sunnyside High School in Tuscon. In his four years wrestling for the Fighting Blue Devils, Roman compiled a perfect 182-0 record and snagged four straight Arizona state title along the way.
Bravo-Young is one of only three wrestlers to ever be crowned the Arizona State Championship Outstanding Wrestler winner for all four years he competed.
He was also the captain of the team for three seasons and won several Arizona Central State Wrestler of the Year awards. The Dave Schultz Award is given annually to a male high school senior based equally on outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement and citizenship or community service. And Roman Bravo-Young was Arizona’s recipient of this award in 2018.
"“I remember Roman as a great role model, always reserved, but at the same time always positive. His grandfather Mike Bravo trained him from the time he was a child. RBY was always eager to learn new things, and I recall taking him to Colorado Springs to the OTC as a cadet a couple of times. there he grew as a wrestler by training with the women at first; Ali Regan, Kelsey Campbell, Helen Maroulis, Sarah Hildebrant, my Daughter Áreana Villaescusa. He was a great training partner to those women and they loved it. Terry Stiener always welcomed him and invited him for that reason he brought great value. A few days after one of those visits he went off to Iowa and won a USAW Folkstyle championship. He is a great ambassador of his Sunnyside Program, and his family.” -Coach Fernando Villaescusa"
In the world of freestyle, Roman was also a load to deal with at a young age. RBY competed as a cadet from 2014-2016 where he qualified for the US National team and competed at the World Championships. During this run, Bravo-Young won a United World Wrestling National Championship, two USA Wrestling National Championships, and a Pan American Championship.
And everyone in the nation knows about Penn State wrestling, right?
Well, apparently RBY didn’t when he lived in Arizona. He didn’t even know about Penn State wrestling until Coach Sanderson and the coaching staff started recruiting him.
Bravo-Young added, “I didn’t really know what Penn State was, I didn’t about Princeton, or Rutgers. I didn’t know about all of these colleges on the east coast until I got to Penn State. None of my family went to college so I was figuring everything out as I got here.”
Roman was so blown away by the coaching staff that he committed to Cael Sanderson without ever visiting the campus.
“I’m excited. He’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch. He’ll be one of those guys that, while we’d like to have 10 of those guys, that no one is going to leave their seat when he’s about to come up cause he is pretty special.”
Roman Bravo-Young opened up about his choice to choose Penn State in a Daily Collegian article. “I just like how it’s the number one team in the country,” Bravo-Young said. “And Cael Sanderson.”
“My grandpa was actually close with his dad, and they watched him (Cael Sanderson),” he said. “Once they called me it was a no-brainer, like why not.”
Former teammate, Patrick Higgins, also opens up about his experience going up against RBY in the wrestling room. “My senior year had some really talented freshman and sophomores. Probably simultaneously one of my favorites but also least favorite people to wrestle was Roman Bravo-Young. I loved wrestling RBY because he is a human Swiss army knife meets a box of chocolates, you never know what’s gonna happen.”
RBY talks about another story involving the last person to beat him in college wrestling, Sebastian Rivera.
“We hit each other on Instagram and was like, let’s workout. We hung out at the Jersey Shore, we were in Sea Side, and we were on the boardwalks. And we were just having a good time and doing what college kids do. And then training hard. That lead to other people wanting to come out and train. We got Shayne Van Ness to come out and now everyone wants to come out and do it.”
Does anyone want to know what kind of character Roman Bravo-Young has?
Roman brings up another story involving Sebastian Rivera and about his interview with FloWrestling.
“We actually talked about this. He (Sebastian Rivera) said when I go out to wrestle everyone, I hate all of them. They are all dead to me. Except one. And that’s you (Roman Bravo-Young).”