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No. 1 Penn State 52, Kent State 3: Nittany Lions Dazzle in Season Opener

No. 1 Penn State returned to the mat for their first dual of the season against Kent State on Sunday afternoon in Rec Hall. Another sellout crowd got to see a barrage of pins, and some impressive debuts from Roman Bravo-Young and Jarod Verkleeren. Penn State scored seven falls in total on the day, as the dual barely lasted 1:15 with the Nittany Lions making quick work of Kent State. The dual’s biggest match was supposed to be Bo Nickal against Kyle Conel, but a shoulder injury kept Conel out of action this weekend. 

Roman Bravo-Young lived up to the hype in his first collegiate match against Tim Rooney, who is a seasoned NCAA vet. Rooney was 30-14 last season, and really could not get it going at all in this one. Bravo-Young had incredible poise in his first match, and really controlled the pace from start to finish. He has been working with Zain Retherford in the Penn State room, and it showed on a number of occasions when he got on top. Bravo-Young was able to turn Rooney a couple of times with an armbar that could only make Zain smile. The second time Bravo-Young got the turn, he was able to secure the fall and cap off an impressive debut for the Nittany Lion fans. 

Jarod Verkleeren was the other Penn State freshman making his debut in this one, and he took on Kody Komara. These two went for it all and Verkleeren was the one who came out on top and got the pin. Komara looked to have a tight body lock secured, but Verkleeren was able to counter the throw with double overhooks. Verkleeren was able to clamp down from there and secure the fall in his first dual meet for Penn State. Both Brady Berge and Verkleeren are expected to be entered into the Keystone Classic next weekend, which could end up being the first wrestle-off between the two this season. 

Outside of 125 pounds, Kent State did not score a takedown. Jason Nolf did Jason Nolf things. He scored about 6 takedowns before finishing the match with a crossface cradle. It was as predictable as it was captivating. Vincenzo Joseph got a second period fall to kick off his quest for a third national title. Mark Hall, Shakur Rasheed, and Bo Nickal all followed with pins of their own as Penn State ended up securing six consecutive falls from 149 through 197 pounds. 

Anthony Cassar’s debut at heavyweight went perfectly as he dominated redshirt freshman Billy Bolia 17-2 for a 3rd period tech fall to cap off the easy win for the Nittany Lions. Cassar and Nick Nevills are both expected to be entered into next weekend’s Keystone Classic. Devin Schnupp was feisty as ever against Jake Ferri, but after a strong start could not stop Ferri once the Golden Flash got some momentum. Schnupp ended up falling 12-8 in a close decision. 

Results

  • 125 pounds – Jake Ferri (7-2) def. Devin Schnupp (0-1), 12-8, Kent State 3-0
  • 133 pounds – Roman Bravo-Young (1-0) fall Tim Rooney (5-4), WBF (5:31), Penn State 6-3
  • 141 pounds – No. 5 Nick Lee (1-0) tech fall Cory Simpson (6-6), 18-2, Penn State 11-3
  • 149 pounds – Jarod Verkleeren (1-0) fall Kody Komara (4-7), WBF (1:20), Penn State 17-3
  • 157 pounds – No. 1 Jason Nolf (1-0) fall Joseph Andrussy (2-5), WBF (2:29), Penn State 23-3
  • 165 pounds – No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (1-0) fall Issac Bast (6-4), WBF (3:40), Penn State 29-3
  • 174 pounds – No. 2 Mark Hall (1-0) fall Dylan Barreiro (8-3), WBF (3:33), Penn State 35-3
  • 184 pounds – No. 4 Shakur Rasheed (1-0) fall Andrew McNally (11-2), WBF (1:13), Penn State 41-3
  • 197 pounds – No. 1 Bo Nickal (1-0) fall Shane Mast (4-3), WBF (2:06), Penn State 47-3
  • 285 pounds – Anthony Cassar (1-0) tech fall Billy Bolia (5-6), 17-2, Penn State 52-3

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