Satisfy your wrestling fix: Read about star-studded action at Nittany Lion Club event
STATE COLLEGE — The Nittany Lion Wrestling Club pulled out all the stops in its fourth live streamed event of the year.
The event consisted of 28 bouts, which included a UFC star, Santa Claus, The Grinch, a trio of brothers and several local wrestlers making a homecoming of sorts on Tuesday night.
The co-main events on the main card consisted of Penn State junior Roman Bravo-Young taking on Aljamain Sterling, who is the No. 1 contender in the Bantamweight Division of the UFC. Former Nittany Lions standout Zain Retherford took on Bajrang Punia, who is ranked No. 2 in the world on the freestyle circuit.
Both RBY and Retherford were victorious in their bouts. They each earned their wins in different manners.
RBY trailed Sterling 4-2 after the first period. Sterling hit a lateral drop for his lone points of the match.
Bravo-Young picked up an early takedown in the second period to tie the bout. He added two push-out points to top Sterling 6-4. The duo then competed in a 3-minute submission match, which Sterling won.
Retherford was locked in for his match with Punia. The former Penn State wrestler caught Punia off guard 24 seconds into the match picking up a takedown as Punia stumbled.
Retherford's takedown scored the lone points of the first period. In the second period, Retherford snapped off another takedown. On the way down, Retherford locked up a leg lace and rolled Punia over for back exposure points.
Retherford earned a 6-0 shutout of Punia, for the biggest win of Retherford's international freestyle wrestling career.
Current Nittany Lions wrestlers Michael Beard, Carter Starocci, Brady Berge and Nick Lee also competed on the main card, against North Carolina State wrestlers with the Wolfpack RTC. Beard, Starocci and Lee were all victorious.
Beard led Nick Reenan 6-2 after one period of wrestling thanks to two takedowns and back exposure points. In the second period, Beard tacked on another set of exposure points and a takedown to top Reenan 10-6.
Starocci looks poised to fill the void left by former national champ Mark Hall this season. Starocci led 4-2 after the first period. He had a takedown, reversal and push out for the scoring.
In the second period, it was all Starocci. After a push-out point early, Starocci snapped of four takedowns to complete a 13-2 technical fall over Daniel Bullard in 5:54.
Lee was on his way to earning a technical fall over Tariq Wilson, but Wilson had other plans. Lee used three takedowns and back exposure points for an 8-4 lead after the first period.
At one point in the second period, Lee led 12-4 and needed just one more takedown or exposure points to secure the technical fall. Wilson responded by earning two push-out points. Lee earned his last points of the match with exposure points, but Wilson tacked on two other takedowns in Lee's 14-10 victory.
The undercard had 17 bouts on it and was a freestyle dual meet of sorts, pitting the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club against the Wolfpack Wrestling Club, which consisted of North Carolina State wrestlers.
The undercard also served as a bit of a preview of what Penn State's roster could look like for the upcoming season, even though an official roster hasn't yet been announced.
Of the 17 bouts, 13 of them highlighted Nittany Lions wrestlers who were on the roster last season. Those wrestlers were Penns Valley graduate Baylor Shunk, Brandon Meredith, Terrell Barraclough, Joey Blumer, Bo Pipher, Scott Obendorfer, Joe Lee, Creighton Edsell, Donovan Ball, Austin Hoopes, Seth Nevills, Luke Gardner and Greg Kerkvliet.
The other four bouts showcased the talent Penn State has waiting to hit the mat collegiately in Beau Bartlett, David Evans, Matt Lee and Aurelius Dunbar.
Those 17 wrestlers went a combined 11-6 with over half of those victories coming by way of technical fall.
Evans, Bartlett, Blumer, Joe Lee, Edsell and Kerkvliet claimed those technical fall victories. Kerkvliet's was the quickest, as he racked up 10 points in 43 seconds for a 10-0 win over Deonte Wilson.
Edsell was the next fastest. He took Alex Falson down, locked up leg laces and rolled Falson all over the mat for a 10-0 win in 1:17. Joe Lee also had a 10-0 technical fall. He snapped off five takedowns to top Tyler Barnes in 3:54.
Evans secured the first technical fall victory of the night with Bartlett following right behind him.
Evans gave up a reversal, but his three takedowns and three sets of exposure points, propelled him to a 12-1 win over Alex Urquiza in 2:19. Bartlett had a 10-0 win in 2:51. He had three takedowns on Kai Orine, and two sets of exposure points.
Blumer's victory was a rallying one. He was tied 3-3 with Silas Shaw, but Blumer scored 10 unanswered points for a 13-3 win in 2:30. He had three sets of exposure points and two takedowns.
Shunk started the event off with a bang. Trailing 4-3 late, Shunk should his never quit mentality to score a takedown with one second left. It gave the former Rams wrestler a 5-4 win over Johnny Devine.
Pipher had a similar result. He gave up a stalling point to AJ Leitten to tie it at 4-4. Now, Pipher held the win in his hand on criteria if the score ended that way by scoring a set of exposure points and takedown earlier in the match. However, Pipher tacked on one more set of exposure points for a 6-4 win.
Matt Lee used three second-period takedowns to top AJ Kovacs 7-4. Dunbar used two takedowns and exposure points to rally past Kai Bele 8-4. Gardner was dominant in his 9-3 win over Orine, who competed in his second bout of the night.
PIAA Class 3A NW wrestlers return home ... sort of: A pair of dominating PIAA Class 3A Northwest regional wrestlers made a return to the area to compete for the Wolfpack Wrestling Club.
Ed Scott and Hayden Hidlay dominated the regional tournaments in high school, combining for seven titles. Scott, who competed at DuBois, claimed four PIAA Class 3A NW crowns. Hidlay, who competed at Mifflin County, won three, but was in the finals all four years of high school.
On Tuesday night, they each won again. Hidlay earned a 5-0 shutout of Berge on the main card. Scott came out on top of a high scoring affair with Barraclough, 10-8.
Snyder makes return to mat: Olympic champion Kyle Snyder made a return to the wrestling mat competitively for the first time since he suffered an injury at the beginning of October.
The time away didn't seem to have an impact on Snyder's wrestling. He took on Ty Walz on Tuesday and cruised to a victory.
Snyder led 5-0 after one period thanks to a takedown, two push-out points and a stall point. In the second period, Snyder secured another takedown, exposure points and another push-out point for a 10-0 technical fall in 5:02.
Santa Claus decks The Grinch: There was a five-minute exhibition match on the main card that had Santa Claus taking on The Grinch.
The Grinch came out on fire, racing out to a 9-0 lead on St. Nick. However, Santa Claus seemed to find a boost of energy.
Claus strung together four sets of feet-to-back scores to climb into a 16-9 lead. On the fourth set of scoring, Claus pinned The Grinch with two minutes remaining in the bout.
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Event No. 4
Tuesday at State College
Men's match No. 1: Franklin Gomez dec. Malik Amine, 5-2
Men's match No. 2: Michael Beard dec. Nick Reenan, 10-6
Exhibition: Santa Claus pinned The Grinch, 3:00
Men's match No. 3: Kyle Snyder tech. fall Ty Walz, 10-0 (5:02)
Women's match No. 1: Emma Bruntil dec. Jen Page, 2-1
Men's match No. 4: Carter Starocci tech. fall Daniel Bullard, 13-2 (5:54)
Men's match No. 5: Hayden Hidlay dec. Brady Berge, 5-0
Men's match No. 6: Nick Lee dec. Tariq Wilson, 14-10
Women's match No. 2: Jane Valencia def. Xochitl Mota-Pettis, 4-4, criteria
Co-main event: Roman Bravo-Young dec. Aljamain Sterling, 6-4
Co-main event: Zain Retherford dec. Bajrang Punia, 6-0
Men's 137 lbs: Baylor Shunk, NLWC, dec. Johnny Devine, WPWC, 5-4
Men's 137 lbs: Jarrett Trombley, WPWC, tech. fall Brandon Meredith, NLWC, 12-2 (4:46)
Men's 137 lbs: David Evans, NLWC, tech. fall Alex Urquiza, WPWC, 12-1 (2:19)
Men's 145 lbs: Beau Bartlett, NLWC, tech. fall Kai Orine, WPWC, 10-0 (2:51)
Men's 285 lbs: Deonte Wilson, WPWC, dec. Seth Nevills, NLWC, 6-1
Men's 145 lbs: Joey Blumer, NLWC, tech. fall Silas Shaw, WPWC, 13-3 (2:30)
Men's 153 lbs: Ed Scott, WPWC, dec. Terrell Barraclough, NLWC, 10-8
Men's 153 lbs: Bo Pipher, NLWC, dec. AJ Leitten, WPWC, 6-4
Men's 153 lbs: Hunter Lewis, WPWC, tech. fall Scott Obendorfer, NLWC, 12-2 (4:27)
Men's 161 lbs: Matt Lee, NLWC, dec. AJ Kovacs, WPWC, 7-4
Men's 169 lbs: Joe Lee, NLWC, tech. fall Tyler Barnes, WPWC, 10-0 (3:54)
Men's 169 lbs: Aurelius Dunbar, NLWC, dec. Kai Bele, WPWC, 8-4
Men's 178 lbs: Creighton Edsell, NLWC, tech. fall Alex Falson, WPWC, 10-0 (1:17)
Men's 188 lbs: Jacob Ferreria, WPWC, dec. Donovan Ball, NLWC, 3-1
Men's 285 lbs: Tyrie Houghton, WPWC, tech. fall Austin Hoopes, NLWC, 12-2 (4:06)
Men's 145 lbs: Luke Gardner, NLWC, dec. Orine, WPWC, 9-3
Men's 285 lbs: Greg Kerkvliet, NLWC, tech. fall D. Wilson, WPWC, 10-0 (:43)