Penn State wrestling wins Big Ten title, crowns 4 individual champions

Penn State wrestling wrapped up the Big Ten title Sunday and did it by crowning four individual champions at the 2023 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Nittany Lions had Roman Bravo-Young (133 pounds), Levi Haines (157 pounds), Carter Starocci (174 pounds) and Aaron Brooks (184 pounds) all earn their crowns as individual champions.

The team victory was clinched after the 165-pound title bout, a match between Wisconsin’s Dean Hamiti and Iowa’s Patrick Kennedy. Hamiti won the title, limiting how many points Iowa could accrue as a team and putting Penn State out of reach in the team race. The team title is Penn State’s first since 2019, after Iowa won in 2020 and 2021 while Michigan won in 2022. The Nittany Lions won last year’s NCAA title despite not winning the conference.

Bravo-Young got the action rolling for the Nittany Lions by beating Minnesota’s Aaron Nagao by 5-2 decision at 133 pounds. The win is his fourth conference title and sets him up to be the likely No. 1 seed later this month as he chases his third national title.

Haines, a freshman, won his first Big Ten title in his first attempt this year, defeating Nebraska’s Peyton Robb by 3-1 decision in sudden victory at 157 pounds. The loss was Robb’s first of the season.

Starocci defeated Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola by 6-1 decision at 174 pounds to earn his second Big Ten title. He, like Bravo-Young, will be chasing his third national title in a couple of weeks.

Brooks immediately followed Starocci by dominating Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero at 184 pounds on his way to an 11-2 major decision. The win gave him three Big Ten titles to go with his two national titles.

Penn State’s Max Dean and Greg Kerkvliet were the only finalists not to win their title bouts Sunday. Dean fell by 6-3 decision to Nebraska’s Silas Allred at 197 pounds, while Kerkvliet lost in sudden victory to Mason Parris by 5-3 decision.

The Nittany Lions will send nine wrestlers to the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Tulsa, Okla. from March 16-18 — the six finalists along with 141-pounder Beau Bartlett, who finished third at his weight, 149-pounder Shayne Van Ness, who finished fourth, and 165-pounder Alex Facundo, who finished seventh.