The Nittany Lions delivered an exciting and show-stopping win over the No. 3 Buckeyes in front of 15,995 fans in a sold-out BJC.
No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph and No. 6 Aaron Brooks had major decision wins and No. 2 Mark Hall had a pin over No. 7 Kaleb Romero in just 45 seconds. These bonus points ended up being crucial to the win, considering Penn State and Ohio State split the bouts five wins each.
Other key factors to the Nittany Lion victory were No. 2 Nick Lee’s upset win over No. 1 Luke Pletcher and No. 17 Jarod Verkleeran’s close match with No. 1 Sammy Sasso.
The Lee vs. Pletcher bout was the marquee matchup of the night. Lee has been making a steady climb to the top of the 141 rankings over the past two seasons and he made it clear he deserves the number one slot after Saturday night. The two undefeated wrestlers stepped into the spotlight. Lee gave up a takedown early in the first, but that would be Pletcher’s one and only. Lee delivered a few shots but Pletcher fought him off. Pletcher chose down to start the second and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. Lee continued to shoot and finally notched his first takedown, forcing a stall call on Pletcher in the process. Lee was working for back points and forced another stall to take the lead late in the second. The third period was all Lee, Pletcher looked gassed and was only able to get one final point after Lee had escaped, taken him down and clinched the riding point for an 8-4 victory.
After the big win for Lee, Jarod Verkleeran almost notched another upset win over No. 1 Sammy Sasso. Again, the Lion appeared to have a leg up endurance-wise. He wore Sasso down fighting off his shots and forced the match into sudden victory tied with escapes 1-1. One wrong move led to Verkleeran’s defeat, but the 3-1 loss limited OSU’s team points and was a big asset to Penn State’s victory.
PSU alumni made an appearance for the big day including Bo Nickal, Zain Retherford, David Taylor and Kerry McCoy. The four outstanding wrestlers were recognized as being Hodge Trophy winners during their time at Penn State.
Penn State closes out the regular season on Sunday February 23rd back in Rec Hall at 2PM against American University. The team will celebrate its seniors as it looks to close out the season with a win heading in to tournament play. BTN+ members can catch the match live and fans can listen for free on LionVision.
BOUT BY BOUT:
PSU-20, OSU- 16
125: OSU Malik Heinselman dec. PSU Brandon Meredith, 5-3
133: PSU No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young dec. OSU Jordan Decatur, 10-4
141: PSU No. 2 Nick Lee dec. OSU No. 1 Luke Pletcher, 8-4
149: OSU No. 1 Sammy Sasso dec. PSU No. 17 Jarod Verkleeren, 3-1 (sv)
157: OSU Quinn Kinner dec. PSU Brady Berge, 4-3
165: PSU No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph maj. dec. OSU No. 16 Ethan Smith, 13-5
174: PSU No. 2 Mark Hall pinned OSU No. 7 Kaleb Romero, WBF (0:46)
184: PSU No. 6 Aaron Brooks maj. dec. OSU No. 12 Rocky Jordan, 15-4
197: OSU No. 1 Kollin Moore maj. dec. OSU No. 17 Shakur Rasheed, 14-6
285: OSU Gary Traub OSU dec. PSU No. 15 Seth Nevills, 5-4