Penn State opens wrestling season with Journeymen Duals sweep in Lancaster County

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Penn State head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson.

MANHEIM — During Monday's season-opening Zoom press conference, Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson said he believed part of the reason why his team didn't win another national title last season was because they didn't score enough bonus points.

Scoring points is a principle that Sanderson and his staff are always instilling in their wrestlers. He also said that they were working with the team on scoring more points from the top position.

It seemed as though the Nittany Lions' wrestlers took those lessons to heart in Saturday's season-opening sweep of Sacred Heart (47-3) and Oregon State (32-7) during the Journeymen Duals at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Lancaster County.

Penn State recorded 13 bonus-point victories between the two duals and wrestlers amassed 72 near-fall points.

"That's not me, that's our our coaching staff there," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said of the bonus-point victories. "We need to keep doing that, obviously, and just get better at it. We scored a bunch of bonus points in the top weights, maybe not as many in the lower weights, so just got to keep getting better."

The Nittany Lions got contributions from everyone in the lineup, which included some new faces in Penns Valley graduate Baylor Shunk and Cornell transfer Max Dean.

Penn State won nine of 10 bouts with the Pioneers to start the night. All nine victories had bonus points.

Shunk opened at 125 pounds by using four sets of near-fall points to earn an 18-0 technical fall. Reigning 133-pound NCAA champion Roman Bravo-Young built up an 11-5 lead before pinning Sacred Heart's Anthony Petrillo in 3:40.

Nick Lee, who is the reigning 141-pound NCAA champion, took just 54 seconds to stick Jordan Carlucci. The Nittany Lions led 17-0 after three bouts.

Beau Bartlett got the nod at 149 pounds against the Pioneers' Shaun Williams. Bartlett used four takedowns to pick up a 12-3 major decision. Sacred Heart earned a win at 157 pounds, where Joey Blumer started for Penn State as presumed starters Joe Lee (injury) and Terrell Barraclough (sick) didn't make the trip.

Creighton Edsell was in the starting lineup again for the Nittany Lions, this time at 165 pounds. He started two years ago in a few duals at 184 pounds. He had three takedowns, a reversal, and near-fall points in an 11-3 major decision.

Reigning 174-pound NCAA champ Carter Starocci led Alex Marcinak 14-0 with just over one minute left in the first period. Starocci pinned Marcinak with 48 seconds remaining in the first period to give Penn State a 31-3 lead.

Reigning 184-pound NCAA champ Aaron Brooks snapped of 10 takedowns to secure a 23-8 technical fall of Joe Accousti.

"I felt good. I always want to improve," Brooks said. "I was looking for a pin, but I'm just going to keep wrestling, and keep getting better. I'm really grateful to come out and compete in front of fans again."

Dean, who finished as a NCAA runnerup in the 2019-20 season, took the mat at 197 pounds against Dante Del Bonis. Dean scored 16 near-fall points in an 18-0 technical fall in 3:00. Greg Kerkvliet rattled off seven takedowns before pinning Mark Blokh in 3:57 to finish out the Nittany Lions' 47-3 win over Sacred Heart.

Against the Beavers, Starocci, Brooks, Dean and Kerkvliet all add another bonus-point win to go with their season openers.

Shunk suffered a 16-9 loss to start the dual against Brandon Kaylor. Bravo-Young tied the dual with a 7-3 defeat of Jason Shaner.

Lee came up one point shy of a major decision in an 11-4 win over No. 10 Grant Willits. Bartlett used a third period rideout to secure a 1-0 win over No. 24 Cory Crooks to extend Penn State's lead to 9-3.

No. 15 Hunter Willits put Oregon State on the board again with a 19-6 major decision of Blumer. Edsell used four near-fall points late in the third period to secure a 7-3 win over Matthew Olguin.

Then, Starocci got the bonus-point train rolling again. The freshman used four takedowns and eight near-fall points to secure a 17-2 technical fall in 4:49 to hand the Nittany Lions a 17-7 lead.

Brooks, who said he was looking for a pin in his first match, got a pin in his second match in 1:13. Dean used six takedowns to pick up a 16-3 major decision to make it 27-7 heading to the final bout.

Kerkvliet used 14 near-fall points to secure a 16-0 technical fall of No. 24 Gary Traub in 5:58.

"All summer, coach Cael and them really emphasized bonus points," Brooks said. "Everyone came out here and wrestled hard, and went for it. I'm proud of the guys. There is still a lot of work to be done and growth to be made throughout the season."

No. 2 Penn State 47, Sacred Heart 3

Journeymen Duals

Saturday at Spooky Nook Sports Complex, Manheim

125: Baylor Shunk, PSU, tech. fall 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, major dec. Shaun Williams, 12-3

157: Nick Palumbo, SH, dec. Joey Blumer, 7-3

165: Creighton Edsell, PSU, major dec. Scott Jarosz, 11-3

174: No. 1 Carter Starocci, PSU, pinned Alex Marcinak, 2:12

184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, PSU, tech. fall Joe Accousti, 23-8 (7:00)

197: No. 4 Max Dean, PSU, tech. fall Dante Del Bonis, 18-0 (3:00)

285: No. 5 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU, pinned Mark Blokh, 3:57

Takedowns: SH 3, PSU 35

Records: Sacred Heart (1-1), Penn State (1-0)

No. 2 Penn State 32, Oregon State 7

125: Brandon Kaylor, OSU, dec. Shunk, 16-9

133: No. 1 Bravo-Young, PSU, dec. Jason Shaner, 8-3

141: No. 2 Lee, PSU, dec. No. 10 Grant Willits, 11-4

149: Bartlett, PSU, dec. No. 24 Cory Crooks, 1-0

157: No. 15 Hunter Willits, OSU, major dec. Blumer, 19-6

165: Edsell, PSU, dec. Matthew Olguin, 7-3

174: No. 1 Starocci, PSU, tech. fall Mateo Olmos, 17-2 (4:49)

184: No. 1 Brooks, PSU, pinned Jackson McKinney, 1:03

197: No. 4 Dean, PSU, major dec. J.J. Dixon, 16-3

285: No. 5 Kerkvliet, PSU, tech. fall No. 24 Gary Traub, 16-0 (5:58)

Takedowns: OSU 10, PSU 24

Records: Oregon State (1-2), Penn State (2-0)

Next match: Army West Point at Penn State, Thursday, 7 p.m.