Lastly, we have 86KG where Penn State Wrestling is represented by Aaron Brooks and Mark Hall.
Brooks is the #3 seed and began the contest with three dominant victories. Brooks did not allow a single point to his opponents in the first three bouts. Brooks cruised into the semis and looked to be continuing his momentum from the NCAA Championship.
Just like Aaron Brooks, Mark Hall had no trouble getting to the semifinals either. An opponent did not score against Hall in the first three matches either. Mark Hall was onto the semifinals. As I mentioned in my preview article, we were on a collision course between the two Penn State Wrestling greats. Unfortunately, thanks to seeding, the paths would cross in the semifinals.
Brooks and Hall squared off in the semis on Thursday night. It was a competitive match, but Hall couldn’t get any offense going against Brooks, and Brooks won the contest 6-1.
Hall is now in the consolation semifinals, awaiting the winner of Hale and Morgan. Hall can still go for third place.
Aaron Brooks is onto the finals, where he will face #1 Zahid Valencia. Valencia is one of the best wrestlers in the world at this weight class, and Brooks is seen as the underdog. Brooks is 0-2 against Valencia, but they haven’t squared off since 2021. Brooks has improved a lot in the past two years, but will it be enough to defeat his rival?
As if this matchup wasn’t hyped enough, the winner of this contest will go on to face Penn State Wrestling legend and Olympic gold medalist, David Taylor, at final X.