Penn State leads NC State and Iowa after NCAA first round

Updated: March 16, 2023

Photo: Carter Starocci, one of four returning champs for Penn State, flattened Clarion’s John Worthing in a first-round match at 174 pounds. This was one of five bonus-point victories by the top-ranked Nittany Lions, who lead the team race after the first round of the 2023 NCAA Division I Championships in Tulsa, Okla. (Photo by Ginger Robinson)

By Mike Finn & Tristan Warner

TULSA, Okla. — Defending national champion Penn State won eight of nine bouts and scored bonus points in five of those victories Thursday morning to take an early lead before 15,199 fans in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Division I Championships in the BOK Center.

Shayne Van Ness (149), Carter Starocci (174) and Greg Kerkvliet (Hwt) all scored falls for the Nittany Lions while Roman Bravo-Young (133) and Aaron Brooks (184) added major decisions; giving Penn State 16 points.


Heading into Thursday night’s second-round, which starts at 6 p.m. CDT, Penn State leads second-place NC State and No. 3 Iowa in the team standings.

The Wolfpack of the ACC also scored wins in eight of nine bouts and received a fall by Kai Orine (133), a technical fall by Trent Hidlay (184) and major decision by Owen Trephan at heavyweight.

The Hawkeyes, who entered the tournament with a wrestler at all 10 weight classes, earned victories in eight of those bouts. That included bonus point wins by three-time defending national champ Spencer Lee (a fall in 36 seconds) at 125 and major decisions by Real Woods at 141 and Tony Cassioppi at heavyweight.

            The remaining top-five teams after the first round were Northern Iowa and Ohio State, which are tied for fourth with 10 points. The Panthers were a perfect 7-0 and gained bonus points from Kyle Biscoglia (a pin at 133) and a major decision by top-ranked Parker Keckeisen at 184 pounds.

The Buckeyes got victories from six of its nine entries, including major decisions by true freshman Jesse Mendez (133), Dylan D’Emilio (141), Sammy Sasso (149) and Kaleb Romero (184).

Team Standings after Round 1

Pl School Points
1 Penn State 16
2 NC State 12.5
3 Iowa 12
4 Northern Iowa 10
4 Ohio State 10
6 Minnesota 9
6 Missouri 9
6 Wisconsin 9
9 Nebraska 8.5
10 Cornell 8
10 Illinois 8
10 Iowa State 8
10 Michigan 8
14 Air Force 7
14 Arizona State 7
14 Oklahoma State 7
17 Lehigh 6
17 North Dakota State 6
17 Northwestern 6
17 South Dakota State 6
17 Stanford 6
17 Virginia Tech 6
23 Pittsburgh 5
23 Princeton 5
25 Cal Poly 4.5

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 125 pounds

  • Top two seeds, Iowa’s Spencer Lee and Princeton’s Pat Glory each scored first-period pins.
  • West Virginia’s No. 28 seed Killian Cardinale upset Appalachian State’s No. 5 seed Caleb Smith, 3-2. This was not really an upset since the Mountaineer senior has qualified for four NCAAs and finished seventh in 2021. Cardinale scored the only takedown with 1:21 left in the second period.
  • Wyoming’s true freshman Jore Volk, seeded No. 21, upset a former All-American in Northwestern’s Michael DeAugustino, 3-1 by scoring a takedown with 34 seconds left in sudden victory. DeAugustino was seeded No. 12 but finished fourth in the 2022 NCAAs.
  • NC State’s Jarrett Trombley, seeded No. 20, defeated No. 13 Dean Peterson of Rutgers, 4-3. The Wolfpack wrestler used a first-period takedown to lead 3-1 before the Scarlet Knight tied the bout with a third-period reversal. The final point came with 1:06 left in the bout.
  • Maryland’s Braxton Brown, seeded No. 19, defeated No. 14 seed Noah Surtin of Missouri 8-6. The Terp score three takedowns and used a two-point nearfall in the second period to lead 8-3 before the Tiger fought back with a third-period reversal and added a riding time point to cut the margin.
  • Michigan’s Jack Medley, seeded No. 26, upset Pac-12 champ and No. 7 seed Brandon Kaylor, 3-1, scoring the bout’s only takedown with two seconds left in the first period.
  • Virginia Tech’s Eddie Ventresca, seeded No. 27, upset No. 6 seed Stevo Poulin of Northern Colorado, 4-2 in overtime. The deciding takedown by the Hokie came with 21 seconds left in sudden victory.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 133 pounds

  • No. 9 Micky Philippi (Pitt) surrendered the first takedown but broke a 2-2 deadlock with a late takedown and added a riding time point to top fellow PA native No. 24 Wyatt Henson (Oklahoma), 5-2.

    Oklahoma State’s Dalton Fix (left) got a leg up and pinned Jake Maida of American in a first-round match at 133 pounds. (Ginger Robinson photo)

  • No. 21 Chance Rich (CSU Bakersfield), an at-large selection, got off to an early lead and held on late to defeat returning All-American No. 12 Chris Cannon (Northwestern), 6-5.
  • No. 11 Dylan Ragusin (Michigan) was upset and pinned by Cody Phippen (Air Force), at the 2:02 mark. A long challenge ensued to determine if a technical violation occurred before the pinning move was executed, but the call ultimately stood.
  • In a rematch of a 2021 NCAA Quarterfinal at 125 pounds, No. 6 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech) flipped a former loss into a victory, taking down No. 27 Taylor LaMont (Wisconsin) with 24 ticks left in overtime for a 3-1 SV advancement.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 141 pounds

            There were only two lower-seeded wrestlers who won at this weight in the first round.

  • Minnesota’s Jakob Bergeland, seeded 20th, “upset” Oklahoma State’s Carter Young, 5-0, on a takedown and reversal. But it should be pointed out that the Gopher placed seventh in the 2022 NCAAs.

    Northwestern’s Frankie Tal Shahar held on to beat Virginia Tech’s Tom Crook in overtime at 141 pounds. (Ginger Robinson photo)

  • Northwestern’s No. 18 Frankie Tal Shahar beat No. 15 Tom Crook, a true freshman from Virginia Tech, 3-1 in overtime. The deciding takedown by the Wildcat came 29 seconds into sudden victory.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 149 pounds

  • Three-time NCAA Champ No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) topped alternate and former All-American No. 33 Dom Demas (Cal Poly), 6-1, on the strength of two takedowns, an escape and over four minutes of riding time.
  • In the wildest bout of the championships thus far, No. 21 Ethen Miller (Maryland) scored a takedown and successive tilts to jump out to an 8-0 lead on No. 12 Shayne Van Ness (Penn State) in the opening frame, but Van Ness stormed back with several takedowns and a feet-to-back scenario before securing a pin in the final 30 seconds.
  • No. 22 Chance Lamer (Michigan) surrendered the first takedown but used a second period escape and takedown to upend No. 11 Doug Zapf (Penn), 4-3.
  • Iowa State’s Paniro Johnson, seeded No. 5, avoided an upset by Ohio’s No. 28 Alec Hagan, who nearly scored a takedown in sudden victory before the ISU freshman earned a 2-1 tiebreaker victory.

    Iowa State’s Big 12 champion Paniro Johnson (left) eventually penetrated the defense of Ohio’s Alec Hagan in a first-round match at 149 pounds. The Cyclones won 3-2 in a tiebreaker. (Ginger Robinson photo)

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 157 pounds

  • Missouri’s four-time national qualifier Jarrett Jacques, seeded No. 17, held off No. 16 Anthony Artalona, a three-time NQ of Penn, 5-4. The Tiger scored a takedown in both the first and second periods.
  • Wisconsin’s No. 19 seeded Garrett Model used a takedown and four-point nearfall in the final 19 seconds of the second period to beat Iowa’s No. 14 Cobe Sierbrecht, 10-5.
  • Northern Iowa’s No. 22 seeded Derek Holschlag scored a first-period takedown, then swapped a pair of reversals with Michigan State’s No. 11 Chase Saldate and beat the Spartan 4-3, as 59 seconds of riding time for Saldate were a second short of sending the bout to overtime.
  • Virginia Tech All-American overcame a reversal and two-point nearfall in the first period to edge Ohio’s Peyton Keller, 7-6.
  • Oklahoma State’s Kaden Gfeller scored a takedown with two seconds left in the second sudden victory to beat George Mason’s Peter Pappas, 7-5

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 165 pounds

  • No. 25 Bubba Wilson (Nebraska) came out on top of a long scramble to takedown No. 8 and Pac-12 champ Matthew Olguin (Oregon State) with under 10 seconds remaining in overtime for a 3-1 SV decision.
  • No. 20 Holden Heller (Pitt) took down freshman Nittany Lion No. 13 Alex Facundo with a workmanlike 5-3 decision.
  • No. 4 Julian Ramirez (Cornell) became the highest seeded wrestler to lose in the opening round as the Big Red wrestler was taken down three times by No. 29 Caleb Fish (Michigan State), who advanced with a controlling 8-4 decision.
  • No. 19 Dan Braunagel (Illinois) scored early and often, dominating No. 14 Peyton Hall (West Virginia), 16-5.
  • No. 10 Carson Kharchla (Ohio State) scored a reversal with under a minute left to defeat his former high school teammate (Olentangy Liberty in Powell, Ohio) No. 23 Connor Brady (Virginia Tech), 2-1.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 174 pounds

  • There were three first-period pins at this weight, including by Penn State’s top-ranked Carter Starocci over Clarion’s John Worthing in 1:21. Also flattening foes were South Dakota State’s #13 Cade DeVos over Central Michigan’s Alex Cramer in 2:13 and by Cornell’s No. 4 seed Chris Foca over Arizona State’s Cael Valencia in 2:22.
  • Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis, the 2019 NCAA champ and 2022 runner-up and seeded No. 3, got a scare from Rutgers’ 2021 All-American Jackson Turley before the Hokie held on to win 2-1. Lewis’ only points came on a second-period reversal.
  • Iowa’s Nelson Brands, seeded No. 11, scored a takedown and two-point nearfall with four seconds left to earn a 6-3 victory over NC State’s Alex Faison.
  • Northwestern’s No. 19 Troy Fisher scored a takedown with 1:02 left in sudden victory to upset Army No. 14 Ben Pasiuk, 10-8.
  • Missouri’s Peyton Mocco, seeded No. 7, scored a takedown with 1:03 left to beat Ohio’s No., 26 Sal Perrine, 3-1
  • Drexel’s Michael O’Malley, seeded No. 23, scored a takedown and four-point nearfall to lead 6-0 after one period, then held on to edge Chattanooga’s No. 10 Rocky Jordan, 8-7. The Moc scored two takedowns in the final period.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 184 pounds

  • No. 25 Brian Bonino (Drexel) scored a takedown with one second remaining in the bout to upset No. 8 Matt Finesilver (Michigan), 3-2. The Wolverine is a transfer from Duke.
  • No. 20 Neil Antrassian (Virginia) scored 11 unanswered points in an upset victory over No. 13 Lenny Pinto (Nebraska), as the Cavalier went down 6-0 in the opening frame but stormed back with a match-tying six-point second period and five-point third period to pull away, 11-6.
  • No. 22 Colton Hawks (Missouri) upset No. 11 Gavin Kane (North Carolina), with two first period takedowns, an escape and a riding time point, to win 6-2.
  • True freshman No. 18 Brian Soldano (Rutgers) was on his back trailing 4-0 but hit a headlock from bottom and scored a first period fall over No. 15 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State) at the 1:40 mark.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: 197 pounds

  • North Dakota State’s #16 Owen Pentz was leading Wisconsin’s #17 Braxton Amos, 3-0, when the Badger was forced to injury default.
  • Penn State’s defending national champ Max Dean, seeded #9, defeated Campbell’s Levi Hopkins, 6-1, as the Nittany Lion scored takedowns in the second and third period after a scoreless first period. This sets up a rematch of the 2023 Big Ten finals against Nebraska’s Silas Allred, who beat Virginia’s Michael Battista, 13-7
  • In a battle of former All-Americans, Iowa’s defending national runner-up and No. 14 seed Jacob Warner held off Michigan State’s No. 19 Cam Caffey, 5-1, scoring a second-period takedown and third-period reversal.

NCAA First-Round Notebook: Hwt

  • No. 17 Taye Ghadiali (Campbell) converted a takedown 30 seconds into overtime to upend No. 16 Tate Orndorff (Ohio State), 3-1 SV.
  • No. 2 and No. 3 seeds Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force) and Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), respectively, secured first period falls. Hendrickson pinned Trevor Tinker (Cal Poly) in 1:54 while the Nittany Lion stuck Hayden Copass (Purdue) in 0:34.