UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 1 Penn State (4-0, 0-0 B1G) dominated No. 9 Arizona State (1-3) in the Sun Devils’ first-ever appearance in Rec Hall. Penn State won nine of ten bouts, including two top five clashes, to roll to a 41-3 victory over the Sun Devils in front of yet another Rec Hall sellout crowd.
The dual was highlighted by top-five match-ups at 165 and 174, opening up the second half after the Lions bolted out to a 17-3 lead at intermission. Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.) thrilled one of the largest crowds in Rec Hall history with big wins in the two marquee bouts.
The dual began at 125, where Nittany Lion sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) dropped a hard-fought 13-7 decision to Brandon Courtney, using a late reversal to keep from giving up a major. True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), an Arizona-native, then took on Arizona State’s Ryan Millhof, ranked No. 7 at 125, as ASU opted to bump the senior up to face the Lion freshman. Bravo-Young dominated the bout, rolling to a 14-1 major decision with 3:16 in riding time to give Penn State a 4-3 lead. Sophomore Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, put Penn State up 10-3 by pinning Cory Crooks at the 2:18 mark.
Red-shirt freshman Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 12 at 149, took on No. 11 Josh Maruca in his Rec Hall dual debut, the first of four match-ups featuring ranked opponents. Berge notched the only two takedowns of the bout to post a hard-fought 5-4 win. Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, then dominated No. 16 Christian Pagdilao, posting an 18-5 major decision to give the Nittany Lions a 17-3 lead at intermission.
Joseph, ranked No. 1 at 165, opened up the second half against No. 5 Josh Shields in another ranked battle. Joseph continued his dominating season, roaring to an 11-2 major decision over the ranked Sun Devil, including 1:38 in riding time. Hall, ranked No. 2 at 174, took to the mat against No. 1 Zahid Valencia in a rematch of last year’s NCAA title bout (won by Valencia) and a 2017 NCAA National Semifinal (won by Hall on his way to an NCAA championship). The last two NCAA Champions battled in front of a frantic Rec Hall crowd and Hall thrilled the hometown faithful by posting a strong 4-0 win over Valencia, including 2:41 in riding time. Hall’s win snapped Valencia’s 43-match win streak that dated back to the 2017 NCAA semifinals.
Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 4 at 184, kept Penn State’s roll going with an outstanding 15-0 technical fall over Kordell Norfleet, getting the 15-0 tech at the 7:00 mark off 4:58 in riding time. Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 197, then stepped to the mat and notched one of his textbook fast falls. Nickal moved in quickly on Austyn Harris, locked the Sun Devil’s shoulders up and turned him quickly to his back for a fall in just 0:35 to put Penn State up 35-3. In the dual’s final bout, senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.), ranked No. 5 at 285, capped off Penn State’s dominating team performance with the Lions third fall of the evening. Cassar pinned ASU’s Brady Daniel at the 5:18 mark for the Lions’ ninth win in the dual. Cassar’s fall finished off Penn State’s 41-3 victory over the Sun Devils.
The Nittany Lions posted a lopsided 27-6 takedown advantage and did not give up a takedown in nine of the ten bouts. The Lions picked up 14 bonus points off three pins (Lee, Nickal, Cassar), a tech fall (Rasheed) and three majors (Lee, Nolf, Joseph). The dual was ASU’s first in Rec Hall although the Sun Devils wrestled in the Bryce Jordan Center during the 2001 National Duals, hosted by Penn State. Penn State has now won 49-straight dual meets dating back to the end of the 2014-15 season. The sellout crowd of 6,676 is the 44th straight Rec Hall sellout for Penn State and the program’s 48th in its last 50 duals (including four of six in the near-16,000 seat Bryce Jordan Center). The crowd is the sixth-largest in Rec Hall since Cael Sanderson’s arrival as head coach in 2009-10.
Penn State is now 4-0 overall while Arizona State falls to 1-3. Penn State will now head to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the 2019 Southern Scuffle. The Nittany Lions will be looking for their eighth Scuffle title in their last eight trips to the event. The Scuffle, hosted by UT-Chattanooga, is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 1-2.
125: Sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) took on Brandon Courtney of Arizona State. Courtney opened up the match with a strong high double to take an early 2-1 lead. The Sun Devil freshman added on two more takedowns to lead 6-3 two minutes into the bout. Courtney scrambled his way to a takedown and an 8-3 lead as the period wound down and carried that lead into the second period. Courtney chose down to start the second period and Schnupp put together a strong ride, working the clock down to 1:23 before Courtney escaped to a 9-33 lead. The Lion sophomore began nearly scored on a solid shot but Courtney was able to slip out of bounds at the 1:10 mark. Schnupp’s tempo had the ASU grappler on his heels as the period ended, forcing a first stall warning. Schnupp chose down to start the third and quickly escaped to a 9-4 score. Courtney notched another takedown and led 11-5 at the 1:20 mark after a quick Schnupp escape. Courtney scrambled to a takedown with :25 left, looking to notch a major decision. However, Schnupp scrambled his way to a reversal with :02 left to keep the bout to a 13-7 decision, bringing the Rec Hall faithful to their feet.
133: True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.) battled Ryan Millhof, ranked No. 7 at 125, who bumped up a weight to take on the Lion freshman. Bravo-Young was the aggressor early, scrambling his way to a takedown on the edge of the mat to take an early 2-0 lead with 2:28 on the clock. Bravo-Young then controlled the action on top, building up a :40 riding time edge before the ranked Sun Devil escaped. Bravo-Young’s strength allowed him to power through a high shot and take a 4-1 lead with a second takedown. He then dominated the action on top, working the clock down to zeroes and his riding time edge up to 2:19 at the end of the period. Leading 4-1, Bravo-Young chose neutral to start the second period. He picked a fifth point on a second stall and led 5-1 with 1:25 on the clock. Bravo-Young continued to press the ranked 125-pounder. He countered a slight Millhof shot, gained control of his shoulders and worked the clock down to :30 before a stalemate forced a reset. He then powered through a high double off the restart and took a 7-1 lead with :15 left to lead 7-1 with 2:43 in time after two. Trailing 7-1, Millhof chose top to start the third period but Bravo-Young easily escaped to an 8-1 lead. Bravo-Young shot low at Millhof’s feet, forcing a scramble in the middle of the mat with 1:10 left. With the riding time point clinched, Bravo-Young finished off the takedown and then turned him for two back points. A final stall point and the riding time point allowed the Lion to roar to a 14-1 major with 3:16 in riding time.
141: Sophomore Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, met Sun Devil Cory Crooks. Lee dominated the action from the get-go, taking Crooks down twice early and tacking on two nearfall points to lead 6-1 midway through the opening period. Lee then worked arm control into a turn that ended with a quick pin at the 2:18 mark.
149: Redshirt freshman Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 12 at 149, made his Rec Hall dual meet debut against No. 11 Josh Maruca of Arizona State. The twosome battled evenly in the middle of the mat for the first half of the opening period with Berge forcing the junior Maruca back to the outside circle and into a first stall warning at the 1:10 mark. Berge countered a slight Maruca shot and scrambled around him for a takedown and a 2-1 lead with :30 on the clock. Trailing 2-1, Maruca chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Berge got hit for a stall warning at the :35 mark as the duo battled on their feet in the middle of the mat. Tied 2-2, Berge chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. Berge nearly connected on a counter takedown with 1:10 left, but Maruca was able to slip out of trouble and the match continued on with Berge leading 3-2. Berge dodged another Maruca shot, countered, and picked up a second takedown to lead 5-3 with :20 left in the bout. The Lion gave up a stall point and then held on for a hard-fought 5-4 win.
157: Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, met No. 16 Christian Pagdilao. Nolf scored quickly, taking the ranked Sun Devil down for a 2-1 lead just :40 into the bout. The Lion then reeled off two quick takedowns and led 6-3 at the 1:15 mark. Nolf then blew through a fast low double, forced a brief scramble, and picked up his fourth takedown to lead 8-3 with :18 on the clock. The Lion then rode Pagdilao out to lead 8-3 after the first period. Pagdilao chose down to start the second period and Nolf put together a dominant ride, building up 1:38 in riding time before cutting the Sun Devil loose to an 8-4 lead. Paglidao forced a scramble with a low shot and Nolf countered for a takedown of his own to lead 10-4 with 1:58 in riding time after two periods. Nolf chose down to start the third period and deftly scrambled his way to an escape and an 11-4 lead. The Lion senior continued to shoot and took Pagdilao down again with :50 on the clock. Nolf cut the Devil loose and then locked his shoulders between his legs, got the takedown and two near fall points as the period ended. A riding time point thanks to a 2:03 advantage gave Nolf a strong 18-5 major decision.
165: Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, took on No. 5 Josh Shields in a key match-up at 165. The duo battled evenly for a minute, with neither wrestler breaking through the other’s defense. Joseph gained control of Shields’ ankle, worked his way to a wild takedown on the edge of the mat, using leverage and his legs to turn the Sun Devil for four back points at the 1:16 mark. The move gave Joseph a 6-0 lead. Shields tried to work his way free of Joseph’s ride off a reset, but the Lion controlled the Sun Devil junior until the :05 mark to lead 6-1 with 1:18 in time after one period. Joseph chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 7-1 lead. Joseph continued to look to score, forcing Shields into defense for the bulk of the second period. The Lion fought off a solid Shields shot at the end of the period and carried that lead, with 1:14 in time, into the third period. Shields chose down to start the third period and Joseph cut him loose to a 7-2 score with 1:42 left. Shields got hit for a first stall warning with 1:20 on the clock. Joseph picked up a stall point and then capped off the dominating major with a final takedown. A 1:38 riding time edge gave Joseph the 11-2 major over fifth-ranked Shields.
174: Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, took on No. 1 Zahid Valencia in a rematch of two thrilling NCAA tournament battles from 2017 and 2018. The duo battled evenly for the opening minute-plus, working in the middle of the mat on the Nittany Lion logo. They battled to a stalemate on their feet at the 1:15 mark with the bout scoreless with each man looking for an opening to score. The duo battled for the remainder of the period without scoring and the bout moved to the second stanza tied 0-0. Hall chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Hall fought off a Valencia high single at the 1:20 mark, scrambling his way into control of the Sun Devil and rolling through for a takedown and 3-0 lead at the :50 mark, bringing nearly 7,000 Rec Hall faithful to their feet. Hall spent the remainder of the period looking to turn Valencia and, while not getting a near fall, finished off the rideout to lead 3-0 with a :41 riding time edge after two periods. Valencia chose down to start the third period and Hall controlled him front the top position again, building up over 1:00 in riding time in the process. The Lion junior continued his ride deep into the third period. He worked his way into a chance to turn Valencia but only got a quick one count at the :40 mark. Hall finished the match off on top and rolled to a dominating 4-0 win with 2:41 in riding time.
184: Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 4 at 184, met Kordell Norfleet. Rasheed was steady to start, taking his time and finding the right spot on the edge of the mat to connect on a low single with 1:41 left. Leading 2-0, Rasheed spent the next minute-plus looking for a chance to turn the Sun Devil wrestler to his back. While not finishing off a cradle, Rasheed finished on top and led 2-0 with 1:41 in time after one period. Rasheed chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. He then quickly turned in on a single and upped his lead to 5-0 with another takedown at the 1:40 mark. Rasheed picked up a riding time point and then began looking to lock up a cradle. A third stall gave Rasheed a 7-0 lead with 3:8 in riding time after two periods. Norfleet chose neutral to start the third period, tried to connect on a low shot, only to have Rasheed roll behind him for another takedown and a 9-0 lead. He upped his lead to 10-0 on another stall, picked up four near fall points at the 1:02 mark and finished on top to post a 15-0 technical fall (with the 4:58 riding time point) at the 7:00 mark.
197: Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 197, faced off against ASU’s Austyn Harris. Nickal wasted no time adding to the Lion lead. Nickal spent just 0:30 on his feet before locking Harris up, turning him quickly to his back and getting the fast fall at the 0:35 mark.
285: Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.), ranked No. 5 at 285, met Sun Devil Brady Daniel. Cassar took Daniel down early, opening up a 2-0 lead just over 0:30 into the bout. The Lion senior built up a solid riding time edge, controlling the action from the top position and then working arm control into a turn. Cassar picked up the four count and led 6-0 at the 1:07 mark. Daniel escaped to a 6-1 score with :30 on the clock and Cassar led 6-1 with 1:51 in time after one. Cassar chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 7-1 lead. He then worked his way through a low shot for a scrambling takedown and a 9-1 lead with 1:30 left in the middle stanza. The Lion senior dominated the action from the top position, forcing Daniel into a first stall warning as his time advantage inched closer to 3:00. He cut the Sun Devil big man loose with :35 on the clock and immediately took him down again to up his lead to 11-2. Trailing 11-2, Daniel chose neutral to start the third period and Cassar made him pay for the decision. The Lion senior moved in quickly, picked Daniel up and tossed him to his back A quick reset on top and Cassar posted the fall at the 5:18 mark.