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Live Blog: No. 1 Penn State wrestling vs. No. 2 Iowa

Follow along with Penn State’s 1 vs. 2 matchup via the Basic Blues Nation live blog coverage.



Mar 19, 2022; Detroit, MI, USA; Penn State wrestler Carter Starocci celebrates after defeating Virginia Tech wrestler Mekhi Lewis (not pictured) in the 174 pound weight class final match during the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Little Cesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State wrestling (10-0, 3-0 Big Ten) hosts the Iowa Hawkeyes (12-0, 5-0 Big Ten) tonight before a sold-out Bryce Jordan Center. The winner of this highly anticipated matchup will take the driver’s seat in the Big Ten regular season rankings and claim the title as the top program in the country. In addition, a win for Cael Sanderson would be his 100th in Big Ten duals as head coach of the Penn State wrestling program.

Follow along with Basic Blues Nation as we provide updates to this match in real-time. Please note that all rankings are according to the InterMat individual polls as of January 24, 2023.

Starting Lineups

According to Penn State’s official program and dual notes, the projected starting lineups as of 7:15 PM EST are below. Of course, these are subject to change, and we will update them as necessary during the match.

125 pounds: No. 1 Spencer Lee, Iowa (10-0) vs. Marco Vespa, Penn State (0-2)

133 pounds: No. 17 Brody Teske, Iowa (4-0) vs. No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State (9-0)

141 pounds: No. 2 Real Woods, Iowa (9-0) vs. No. 4 Beau Bartlett, Penn State (14-0)

149 pounds: No. 7 Max Murin, Iowa (13-3) vs. No. 13 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State (11-2)

157 pounds: No. 15 Cobe Siebrecht, Iowa (8-2) vs. No. 9 Levi Haines, Penn State (12-1)

165 pounds: No. 13 Patrick Kennedy, Iowa (12-2) vs. No. 5 Alex Facundo, Penn State (11-1)

174 pounds: No. 16 Nelson Brands, Iowa (4-3) vs. No. 1 Carter Starocci, Penn State (10-0)

184 pounds: Drake Rhodes, Iowa (5-3) vs. No. 1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State (6-1)

197 pounds: No. 7 Jacob Warner, Iowa (11-2) vs. No. 4 Max Dean, Penn State (12-2)

285 pounds: No. 3 Tony Cassioppi, Iowa (16-0) vs. No.2 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State (8-1)

If these lineups hold, then the first seven duals would feature wrestlers facing each other for the first time.

125 pounds: No. 1 Spencer Lee vs. Marco Vespa

Marco Vespa received the unanticipated start over Gary Steen. Vespa came out with a quick reversal to start the match 2-0. However, Spencer Lee proved why he’s the top wrestler in the weight class. Lee won by technical fall in the first period. But the Nittany Lions were fortunate not to give up the full pin. Iowa leads 5-0.

133 pounds: No. 17 Brody Teske vs. No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young

Roman Bravo-Young took control in the first period, securing a 2-0 lead and over 30 seconds of riding time. Former Nittany Lion and current Hawkeye Brody Teske slowed the match for most of the second period. But, RBY was able to quickly score another takedown in the final seconds of the period to enter the third up 4-1. RBY pounced in the last 30 seconds of the final period, pinning Teske in a cradle to get the win by a fall. Penn State leads 6-5.

141 pounds: No. 2 Real Woods vs. No. 4 Beau Bartlett

Real Woods was able to roll out of a Beau Bartlett headlock in the opening 20 seconds of the first period. Woods secured 1:40 of riding time and finished the first up 2-0. Bartlett gained his first point with a quick escape to start the second but still finished the period trailing Woods. Woods played fantastic defense in the third period. Bartlett couldn’t overcome the deficit in riding time gained throughout the bout, and Woods takes the 4-2 win. Iowa leads 8-6

149 pounds: No. 7 Max Murin vs. No. 13 Shayne Van Ness

Both wrestlers had opportunities in the first period, but hard hand-fighting led to a stalemate. Max Murin rode Shayne Van Ness for over half the second period, but Van Ness was able to get an escape with under 30 seconds remaining to take the 1-0 lead. Murin tied the match with an escape to start the third. With 30 seconds remaining, Murin secured his first takedown of the match. Murin wins 4-1. Iowa needed to win at least one of the matches at 141 and 149 to have a chance tonight. They won both. Iowa leads 11-6.

157 pounds: No. 15 Cobe Siebrecht vs. No. 9 Levi Haines

With this start, freshman Levi Haines officially burns his redshirt for Penn State. Haines made his advance in the final 15 seconds but was called for a potentially dangerous move on Cobe Siebrecht to end the first. Siebrecht took Haines to his back to start the second but was unable to secure the takedown. Haines took the 1-0 lead with an escape, which is where the score remained to end the period. Siebrecht tied the match with a quick escape to start the third period. Haines secures the takedown with 1:20 remaining to go up 3-1. An escape by Siebrecht brought the match within one, but Haines was able to hold out for the victory, 3-2. Iowa leads 11-9 at the midway point of the dual

165 pounds: No. 13 Patrick Kennedy vs. No. 5 Alex Facundo

These wrestlers have previously competed against each other in high school, but this match is the first time doing so at the collegiate level. Escapes by both wrestlers evened the match at 1-1 early in the third period. The third period ended in a tie to force overtime. Patrick Kennedy made two impressive attempts in sudden victory, but Alex Facundo was able to fend both off to force tiebreakers. Kennedy was able to escape from underneath Facundo in four seconds during the first tiebreaker, and that was enough for him to take the 2-1 win. Iowa leads 14-9. Penn State’s margin for error is rapidly depleting

174 pounds: No. 16 Nelson Brands vs. No. 1 Carter Starocci

Another match that ends 0-0 after the first. Carter Starocci started the scoring off with an escape in the second period. The crowd hasn’t been pleased with the lack of stall calls on Nelson Brands throughout the first two periods. Starocci took over riding time while on top of Brands to start the third. Brands tied the match using an escape with under 30 seconds remaining. But, with the riding time point, Starocci wins 2-1. Iowa leads 14-12.

184 pounds: Drake Rhodes vs. No. 1 Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks started this match extremely strong, taking the 10-2 lead over Drake Rhodes in the first period. The domination continued into the second, as Brooks easily secured the riding time point in the second period. Already up 20-7, Brooks captured the technical fall in the third period to win. Penn State leads 17-14 with two matches remaining.

197 pounds: No. 7 Jacob Warner vs. No. 4 Max Dean

After remaining scoreless for nearly a period and a half, Max Dean finally got the scoring started with an escape from Jacob Warner in the second period. Warner aggressively tried to escape from Dean to start the third, but Dean was able to erase 45 seconds of riding time and then add some of his own. Dean brought the 16,000 fans at the BJC to their feet as he rode Warner for the entire third period. Dean wins 2-0. Penn State leads 20-14 going into the final bout.

285 pounds: No. 3 Tony Cassioppi vs. No.2 Greg Kerkvliet

Greg Kerkvliet absolutely bodyslammed Tony Cassioppi to get the first takedown points of the match. It certainly looked like he was taking out his anger after losing his first match of the season last week. Cassioppi had nowhere to run in the second period as Kerkvliet rode him for the entire two minutes. Kerkvliet had this one from start to finish, winning 4-1. Penn State wins the dual 23-14.

Historic Night

Tonight was billed as a historic night, and the dual certainly delivered. Iowa won several of the swing matches early and appeared to have the Nittany Lions on the ropes. But after winning the final four matches, Penn State was able to pull out the comfortable win in front of a record-setting crowd in Happy Valley. Penn State wrestling has won 39 dual meets in a row and moves to 11-0 on the season.

The Nittany Lions now sit firmly atop the Big Ten standings. Most importantly, Penn State put the nation on notice with a tone-setting win. Cael Sanderson’s group isn’t going anywhere.

Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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