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Live Blog: No. 1 Penn State Wrestling vs. No. 5 Ohio State

Follow along with Basic Blues Nation for live coverage of this top-five matchup.



© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Penn State wrestling (11-0, 4-0 Big Ten) hits the road tonight to take on No. 5 Ohio State (11-1, 5-0 Big Ten) in Columbus. Starting tonight, the Nittany Lions will face off against two conference foes as part of a weekend-long road trip, the first of its kind this season.

Tonight’s highly anticipated matchup comes on the heels of Penn State’s historical win against then-No.2 Iowa last Friday at the BJC. Ohio State has already announced that the dual is a sellout, so expect a raucous crowd for this one.

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 for the week of January 29, 2023.

Starting Lineups

Below are projected starting lineups from Ohio State’s official dual notes as of noon EST. As usual, these are subject to change, and we will update them as necessary during the match. As it stands, there are currently three top-ten matchups projected for tonight.

125 pounds: Gary Steen, Penn State (5-9) vs. No. 10 Malik Heinselman, Ohio State (17-2)

133 pounds: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State (10-0) vs. No. 9 Jesse Mendez, Ohio State (10-1)

141 pounds: No. 5 Beau Bartlett, Penn State (14-1) vs. No. 19 Dylan D’Emilio, Ohio State (11-7)

149 pounds: No. 13 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State (11-3) vs. No. 3 Sammy Sasso, Ohio State (17-3)

157 pounds: No. 9 Levi Haines, Penn State (13-1) vs. No. 25 Paddy Gallagher, Ohio State (8-3)

165 pounds: No. 8 Alex Facundo, Penn State (11-2) vs. No. 12 Carson Kharchla, Ohio State (7-3)

174 pounds: No. 1 Carter Starocci, Penn State (11-0) vs. No. 7 Ethan Smith, Ohio State (14-4)

184 pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State (7-1) vs. No. 5 Kaleb Romero, Ohio State (18-3)

197 pounds: No. 4 Max Dean, Penn State (13-2) vs. No. 17 Gavin Hoffman, Ohio State (14-4)

285 pounds: No.2 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State (9-1) vs. No. 18 Tate Orndorff, Ohio State (8-4)

125 pounds: Gary Steen vs. No. 10 Malik Heinselman

Steen never stood a chance in this match. Heinselman went up early with a quick takedown and kept Steen on the mat for the entire bout, earning several near-fall points in the process. Heinselman wins by fall in the first period. Ohio State leads 6-0.

133 pounds: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 9 Jesse Mendez

Bravo-Young entered the third period up 4-1 following takedowns in the final half-minute of the first two periods. RBY continued to pile on in the last period, securing another takedown and the riding time point to win 8-2. The match is RBY’s 47th consecutive win. Ohio State leads 6-3.

141 pounds: No. 5 Beau Bartlett vs. No. 19 Dylan D’Emilio

Bartlett led 2-0 following a takedown halfway through the first period, earning nearly a minute and a half of riding time in the process. Bartlett gave up the escape to D’Emilio at the start of the second to avoid a stalling call, bringing the score to 2-1. Although he did sacrifice a stalling point in the third, Bartlett added an escape and the riding time point to win 4-2. Dual tied at 6.

149 pounds: No. 13 Shayne Van Ness vs. No. 3 Sammy Sasso

Van Ness struck first with an early takedown, but Sasso responded with an escape and takedown of his own to take a 3-2 lead. Sasso built upon his lead in the second, adding an escape and a reversal to go up 5-3. Van Ness really started to struggle in the third period and gave up the riding time point. Sasso wins 6-3. Ohio State leads 9-6.

157 pounds: No. 9 Levi Haines vs. No. 25 Paddy Gallagher

As a freshman, Haines continues to put together one of the most impressive seasons of anyone in the Penn State wrestling program. Haines dominated the entire first period, earning two takedowns en route to a 4-1 lead. The freshman added another takedown in the second to go up 6-2. Haines had just under three minutes of riding time at the start of the third period. Victory well in hand, Haines moved to secure bonus points midway through the third. Haines cruises to a 14-2 major decision. Penn State leads 10-9 at the midway point.

165 pounds: No. 8 Alex Facundo vs. No. 12 Carson Kharchla

The first period saw a ton of activity, but both wrestlers played great defense, and the period ended 0-0. Facundo earned the escape early in the second to go up 1-0. With 45 seconds left in the period, the officials awarded Facundo a point after Kharchla took several shots to Facundo’s head. Kharchla brought the score within one following an escape at the start of the third period. After holding off an aggressive body lock attempt, Facundo added a late takedown to win 4-1. Penn State leads 13-9.

174 pounds: No. 1 Carter Starocci vs. No. 7 Ethan Smith

Starocci earned his 60th and 61st takedowns in dual meets early in the first and led Smith 4-2 at the end of the period. Smith started the second period with an escape to bring the score within one. Starocci added another takedown as time wound down in the second to go up 6-3. With 1:32 remaining, Smith secured the single-leg takedown to bring the score to 7-5. However, Starocci pressed on the accelerator to close the match, scoring another takedown and earning the riding time point to win, 11-6. Penn State leads 16-9.

184 pounds: No. 1 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 5 Kaleb Romero

A competitive first period ends in a stalemate. Brooks started the scoring in the second with an early escape. But the draw returned throughout much of the second, and the period finished with Brooks up 1-0. Romero tied the match with an escape seven seconds into the third period. However, Brooks quickly responded with a single-leg takedown to go up 3-1. Smith escaped with 25 seconds remaining to bring the score to 3-2. Ohio State challenged a holding call as time expired, but it was unsuccessful. Brooks wins by a 3-2 decision. Penn State leads 19-9

197 pounds: No. 4 Max Dean vs. No. 17 Gavin Hoffman

The first period remained mostly a stalemate (Dean had an early takedown call reversed), but Dean secured a takedown with two seconds remaining to take the lead. Dean took command in the second period. After riding for over a minute and 20 seconds, Dean put Hoffman in a bow and arrow to win by fall. Penn State leads 25-9.

285 pounds: No.2 Greg Kerkvliet vs. No. 18 Tate Orndorff

Kerkvliet started the match fast – securing a takedown 15 seconds into the first period. By this point, the crowd in Columbus had fallen silent, and the Penn State contingent could be heard on the broadcast. Kerkvliet earned 2:44 of riding time in the first. The riding time point was easily secured in the second, and the period ended with Kerkvliet up 5-0. Kerkvliet put this one out of reach early in the third period, winning 8-0. Penn State wins 29-9. 

Nuts Cracked

After two electric weekends in the BJC, the hostile crowd could have been a big test for the Nittany Lions. However, Cael Sanderson’s group took the fans out of this meet with solid performances in the second half of the dual. I continue to be impressed by Levi Haines and the fantastic freshman campaign he is putting together.

Penn State wrestling has now won eight straight against Ohio State and 40 consecutive dual meets. With a matchup against 7-2 Indiana in store for Sunday, I wouldn’t expect that dual meet streak to end this weekend.

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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