Lastly, we have 86KG weight class which was seemingly hyped as the main event by everyone.
Following the all-Penn-State semifinal between Aaron Brooks and Mark Hall, we had Aaron Brooks facing off against #1 seed Zahid Valencia in the finals. As I mentioned in the day one recap, this was a must-see match for wrestling fans all over. Brooks was 0-2 in his career against Valencia, including a not-so-friendly battle in 2019.
But this was the first matchup between the two since 2021, and as any Penn State Wrestling fan will tell you, Brooks has improved a ton in the past two years.
It was not a great start for the Nittany Lion representative. Valencia used his speed to pull off a 4-point move within the first 35 seconds of the contest. Trailing 4-0, Brooks was relentless the rest of the first period. Constantly attacking, pushing, and pulling Valencia and looking for points. Unfortunately, Brooks would finish the period scoreless and still trailing 4-0.
The second period started similarly. Brooks forced Valencia to constantly defend his attacks. Suddenly, Valencia caught a Brooks takedown attempt and once again used his speed to spin around and secure himself 2 points. Brooks was now trailing 6-0 with 2:09 remaining and his shot at Final X slipping away.
However, as we’ve seen time and time again, the training that goes on in the Penn State Wrestling room is unlike any other. Brooks just kept coming and coming at Valencia. Every time the wrestlers were separated and put into the neutral position, Valencia was slower to get back to his feet and meet in the middle. Meanwhile, Brooks was eager for the referee to blow the whistle so he could attack again.
With about 1:45 remaining, Brooks would secure his first takedown for 2 points. At about the 1:30 mark Brooks would take down Valencia again. This time he would pull off two rolls on the mat for a total of six points in the sequence! The Penn State wrestler was suddenly in the lead 8-6. In the final minute you could tell Valencia had nothing left. Brooks had wore him down with six straight minutes of constant offense. Brooks would push Valencia out of bounds two more times to make the final score 10-6. Aaron Brooks is your winner at 86KG and will face fellow Penn State Wrestling member David Taylor and Final X!
After losing to Aaron Brooks in the semifinals, Mark Hall found himself in the consolation bracket. Hall would start with a 8-2 victory over Andrew Morgan before finding himself in the third place match.
Hall would square off with #4 Trent Hidlay in the bout. Unlike the competitive match we just watched, this was a dominant performance from Mark Hall. Hall scored seven points within the first 1:10 of the match and never looked back. Hall would give up two points in the second, but then quickly scored six more himself to give us a final score of 13-2. Hidlay is a very talented wrestler but Mark Hall was on a mission tonight. Hall finishes in third place with his only loss coming to the aforementioned Aaron Brooks.