PSU wrestling tops Sacred Heart, Oregon State at Journeyman Duals,
MANHEIM — For the Penn State wrestling team, it was a new season in a new venue against new opponents, but the same old dominating results.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions opened their season Saturday with a pair of wins in the Journeyman Duals. Penn State pounded Sacred Heart, 47-3, and followed that with a 32-7 win over Oregon State at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex.
“You know, we’re just trying to wrestle and see where we’re at and see what we need to work on. And I think we got a pretty good idea coming out of this,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.
“I think we got ridden a little bit more than we’d want to, some of our younger guys with the spiral ride stuff. We need to figure that out. I think for the most part, we’ll just work in all three positions as we move forward, so we’ll be good to go.”
Penn State won 17 of 20 bouts, piling up five falls, five technical falls, three major decisions and four decisions in the two bouts combined. The Nittany Lions amassed a combined 59-13 edge in takedowns.
Perhaps the biggest edge for Penn State came from the top position. Sanderson said at media day last week that he wanted to see more turns from top and more bonus points this season. He wasn’t kidding.
The Nittany Lions turned their opponents a total of 19 times, 14 times for four nearfall points and another five for two nearfall points. And that doesn’t take into account the occasions when they took their opponents down to their backs and pinned them.
“That’s not me. That’s our coaching staff there,” Sanderson was quick to point out. “But, yeah, we need to keep doing that, obviously, and just get better at it. I think we scored a bunch of bonus points in the top weights, maybe not as many of the lower weights so we’ve just got to keep getting better.”
Defending 184-pound NCAA champion Aaron Brooks, one of eight Nittany Lions to notch a win in each dual, said that movement started months ago.
“All summer coach Cael emphasized bonus points,” he said. “Getting turns, getting backs and really transitioning and getting those extra points. Everyone came out here and wrestled hard and went for it.”
Along with Brooks, Roman Bravo-Young (133), Nick Lee (141), Beau Bartlett (149), Creighton Edsell (165), Carter Starocci (174), Max Dean (197) and Greg Kerkvliet all won twice.
Baylor Shunk, who made his Penn State varsity debut, went 1-1 at 125 pounds. The sophomore from nearby Penns Valley is believed to have made school history, becoming the first Ram to start a varsity match for Penn State. He rolled to an 18-0 technical fall in just 4:15 against Sacred Heart.
“I remember sitting at home watching Penn State matches when I was younger and just dreaming of one day taking the mat for coach Cael and these guys. It was a dream come true. It’s definitely something that I’ve been looking forward to. It met my expectations for sure,” Shunk said.
“That’s pretty awesome. I love my community back home. I love my high school. I love my support system. I get texts all the time from people wishing me the best of luck and encouraging me. My support system is unbelievable. Penns Valley is an awesome place and I love it there.”
Against the Pioneers, the Nittany Lions won nine of 10 bouts and rolled up four falls, three technical falls and two major decisions. Penn State piled up a 35-3 advantage in takedowns.
The Beavers, as expected, pushed the Nittany Lions a little more. Still, Penn State produced wins in eight of 10 weights, with a fall, two tech falls, a major decision and eight decisions. It had a 24-10 edge in takedowns.
In addition to Shunk, Joey Blumer made his varsity debut in a Penn State singlet, as did Dean, the transfer from Cornell. Blumer, normally a 149-pounder, was pressed into service when, reportedly, Joe Lee was injured and couldn’t compete and Terrell Barraclough was sick. Neither of those two, who were listed as possible starters on the team’s pre-match notes that were released Wednesday, made the trip to Manheim.
Sanderson sounded pleased at the effort that Shunk and Edsell showed.
“Those are big matches when you get in there and are wrestling for the team,” he said. “I think they did a nice job and hopefully they can continue to just get more comfortable and just let it rip out there a little more.”
No official attendance figures were released, but pre-match publicity said that the full complement of 1,200 tickets had sold out. The facility added more seats on an upper level. No matter the number, the Lions were happy to wrestle in front a full complement of fans.
“I’m not going to lie; I was wrestling in my match and I looked around and was like ‘that’s a crowd.’ I noticed it mid-match,” Brooks said with a smile. “Usually before a match I get in a zone. But that first match I caught myself looking at the fans. It was really exciting to go out there and perform for the fans.”
No. 2 Penn State 47, Sacred Heart 3
(Saturday at Manheim)
125: Baylor Shunk, PSU, won by tech. fall over Kyle Randall, 18-0 (4:15). 133: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, PSU, pinned Anthony Petrillo, 3:40. 141: No. 2 Nick Lee, PSU, pinned Jordan Carlucci, :54. 149: Beau Bartlett, PSU, maj. dec. Shawn Williams, 12-3. 157: Nick Palumbo, SH, dec. Joey Blumer, 7-3. 165: Creighton Edsell, PSU, maj. dec. Scott Jarosz, 11-3. 174: No. 1 Carter Starocci, PSU, pinned Alex Marciniak, 2:12. 184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, PSU, won by tech. fall over Joe Acousti, 23-8 (7:00). 197: No. 4 Max Dean, PSU, won by tech. fall over Dante DelBonis, 18-0 (3:00). 285: No. 5 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU, pinned Mark Blokh, 3:57.
Referees: J.R. Johnson; Mike McCormick.
Takedowns: SH – 3; PSU – 35.
Records: Sacred Heart (1-1)
No. 2 Penn State 32, Oregon State 7
(Saturday at Manheim)
125: Brandon Kaylor, OSU, dec. Baylor Shunk, 16-9. 133: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, PSU, dec. Jason Shaner, 8-3. 141: No. 2 Nick Lee, PSU, dec. No. 10 Grant Willits, 11-4. 149: Beau Bartlett, PSU, dec. No. 24 Cory Crooks, 1-0. 157: No. 15 Hunter Willitts, OSU, maj. dec. Joey Blumer, 19-6. 165: Creighton Edsell, PSU, dec. Matthew Olguin, 7-3. 174: No. 1 Carter Starocci, PSU, won by tech. fall over Aaron Olmos, 17-2 (4:49). 184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, PSU, pinned Jackson McKinney, 1:13. 197: No. 4 Max Dean, PSU, maj. dec. J.J. Dixon, 16-3. 285: No. 5 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU, won by tech. fall over No. 24 Gary Traub, 16-0 (6:00).
Referees: J.R. Johnson; Mike McCormick.
Takedowns: OSU – 10; PSU – 24.
Records: Oregon State (1-2), Penn State (2-0).
Next match: Army at Penn State, 7 p.m. Thursday.