No. 1 Penn State wrestling continues Big Ten dominance with rout of No. 4 Ohio State

Abby Drey/

It was another Friday night with Penn State hitting the wrestling mat against another top 5 team in the country.

This time around the Nittany Lions took on Big Ten foe and No. 4 Ohio State inside the Covelli Center in Columbus, Oh.

The result was the same, Penn State crushing its opponent 29-9 for a 40th straight win. Penn State has now won 106 of its last 108 duals.

“The tricky thing about college wrestling is everyone is going through the same challenging schedules,” Nittany Lions’ Beau Bartlett said to the Penn State Sports Network, “and a large part of it’s determined by the Big Ten Committee, whoever schedules all those matches. No matter what, you’re going to get these back-to-back matches, these Friday and Sunday matches, traveling home and away. Some people say it’s a grind, I don’t like that word because I truly love traveling, coming out and putting on a show.”

Bartlett was one of eight Penn State wrestlers to secure a win in the Nittany Lions’ come-from-behind victory.

The dual began with the Buckeyes’ Malik Heinselman taking Gary Steen down early. Heinselman tilt Steen for four nearfall points.

He went for another set of nearfall, but this time Heinselman stuck Steen in 1 minute, 55 seconds with a bow and arrow.

Roman Bravo-Young took on an up-and-coming freshman in No. 9 Jesse Mendez. RBY showed off his veteran moxie by taking care of Mendez easily.

The two-time NCAA champ patiently tallied three takedowns and amassed 1:04 in riding time to secure an 8-2 win.

Bartlett followed and took on No. 19 Dylan D’Emilio for the ninth time overall in their entire wrestling careers — elementary to current. D’Emilio won the first eight, but Bartlett broke the streak on Friday.

The Nittany Lions wrestler recorded the first points with a nice duck under for a takedown midway through the first period. D’Emilio’s escape in the second period had it 2-1 in Bartlett’s favor to begin the third period.

In the third period, Bartlett quickly escaped and got defensive the rest of the period to give up a stall point, but he had enough riding time in a 4-2 win.

“Coming off of Iowa last week, I wanted to make an effort to get to my offense and get to my offense early,” Bartlett said. I’m making some strides toward the right direction. It feels good, but it doesn’t feel good so much as getting a win over another opponent. It feels good that I was able to get to a good attack. I was able to ride out the first period. I was able to get out of bottom really quickly.”

Bartlett’s victory tied the dual for Penn State at 6-6.

Shayne Van Ness took on No. 3 Sammy Sasso at 149 pounds, and took down Sasso with a counter takedown. Sasso didn’t stay down for long, and he even picked up a takedown to lead 3-2 after one period.

Sasso opened the second with a reversal, which Van Ness subsequently escaped from. The Ohio State wrestler rode Van Ness for the third period to secure a 6-3 win — the final win of the night for the Buckeyes.

Levi Haines took on his fourth straight ranked opponent in No. 25 Paddy Gallagher at 157 pounds. Haines showed why his redshirt came off and his No. 9 ranking in the country is warranted.

He easily rattled off four takedowns and collected late nearfall points in the third period to earn a 14-2 major decision. It gave the Nittany Lions a 10-9 lead at the break.

Alex Facundo took on No. 12 Carson Kharchla in a top-15 tilt at 165 pounds. Neither wrestler scored in the first period, but Facundo fought off a Kharchla takedown attempt in the first period.

In the second period, Facundo had an escape and Kharchla was docked a penalty point for hands to the face to make it, 2-0.

Facundo added a takedown in the third period to collect a 4-1 win, and Penn State was rolling.

“The freshmen are really inspiring. They have so many strengths. Things you might consider objectively as a weakness, they’re working on it,” Bartlett said. “I like picking their brains I was telling them on the bench, ‘Man, you guys are so good at this. We got to wrestle next week because I need to figure out how to do this.’ I’m a little older than them, but they’re really good. I love learning in any way I can, and they’re teaching me cool things.”

The Nittany Lions’ “Murderers Row” followed Facundo to take a four-point lead into a 20-point win.

Carter Starocci faced No. 7 Ethan Smith at 174 pounds, and had no problems with Smith in an 11-5 victory. However, Smith was able to do something that no one else has so far this year — take Starocci down.

The No. 1 wrestler held a 59-0 takedown mark entering his bout with Smith. Now, Starocci’s takedown advantage is 63-1.

Aaron Brooks needed a gutsy takedown in the third period to secure a 3-2 win over No. 5 Kaleb Romero. Brooks had a leg of Romero at the edge of the mat, that he drug Romero back toward the center with and then picked up the score.

Max Dean sealed the dual at 197 pounds by sticking No. 17 Gavin Hoffman in 4:28. Dean used his patented bow and arrow for the fall.

Greg Kerkvliet closed out the dual by using three takedowns on No. 18 Tate Orndorff. Kerkvliet was dominant with his ride game to the tune of 4:53 in riding time for a 9-0 major decision.

“I’m living my life. This is the best place to be. It’s a special thing that’s going on here,” Bartlett said, “so many individuals that are so motivated and passionate. Getting to watch everyone’s hard work pay off or see people learn what they have to do to get closer to where they want to be ... we have a very special bond, and I’m in their corner.”

No. 1 Penn State 29, No. 4 Ohio State 9

Friday at Columbus, Oh.

125: No. 10 Malik Heinselman, OSU, pinned Gary Steen, 1:55

133: No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young, PSU, dec. No. 9 Jesse Mendez, 8-2

141: No. 5 Beau Bartlett, PSU, dec. No. 19 Dylan D’Emilio, 4-2

149: No. 3 Sammy Sasso, OSU, dec. No. 13 Shayne Van Ness, 6-3

157: No. 9 Levi Haines, PSU, major dec. No. 25 Paddy Gallagher, 14-2

165: No. 8 Alex Facundo, PSU, dec. No. 12 Carson Kharchla, 4-1

174: No. 1 Carter Starocci, PSU, dec. No. 7 Ethan Smith, 11-5

184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks, PSU, dec. No. 5 Kaleb Romero, 3-2

197: No. 4 Max Dean, PSU, pinned No. 17 Gavin Hoffman, 4:28

285: No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU, major dec. No. 18 Tate Orndorff, 9-0

Takedowns: PSU 19, OSU 3

Records: Penn State (12-0, 5-0 Big Ten), Ohio State (11-2, 5-1 Big Ten)

Next match: Penn State at No. 22 Indiana, 2 p.m., Sunday