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Hidlays, PSU roll on Day 1 of NCAAs

ST LOUIS, Mo. — Lewistown brothers Hayden and Trent Hidlay took two steps toward their goals of winning national championships on the first day of the 2021 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

The North Carolina State wrestlers, seeded second at 157 pounds and 184, respectively, had little trouble advancing into this morning’s quarterfinal round.

Penn State pushed seven wrestlers into the quarterfinals. Roman Bravo-Young (133), Nick Lee (141), Brady Berge (157), Carter Starocci (174), Aaron Brooks (184), Michael Beard (197) and Greg Kerkvliet (285) all advanced. Robbie Howard is alive in the 125-pound consolation bracket. Joe Lee (165) lost his first two matches and was eliminated.

Penn State sits in second place in the team race, looking up at Iowa. The Hawkeyes have eight quarterfinalists and 33.5 team points in first. The Nittany Lions have seven quarterfinalists and 28 points in second. Missouri is in third with 23.5 and four quarterfinalists and NC State is in fourth with 21 and five quarterfinalists. Oklahoma State is in fifth with 19.5 points and four in the quarterfinals.

Hayden started his day with a 14-5 major decision of No. 31 seed Michael Petite of Buffalo. After somewhat slow start, Hayden gained momentum as the match went on, exploiting an advantage on his feet to win going away.

In his second match, against Cade DeVos of South Dakota State, Hidlay was dominant, piling up points almost at will in a 20-3 technical fall in 5:59.

Next up for Hayden is a quarterfinal pairing with Wyoming’s Jacob Wright, the No. 23 seed.

Trent struck first and fast and wasted no time in piling up points in what turned into a 17-2 technical fall in seven minutes over No. 31 seed Ryan Reyes of Oregon State. In the next round, he was once again a scoring machine. In another 7-minute technical fall, this time he outscored Alan Clothier of Northern Colorado 20-5.

Trent faces Northern Illinois No. 7 seed Brit Wilson.

Penn State went 15-3 on the day, earning bonus points in 11 of those wins to try to keep pace with Iowa.

Bravo-Young earned his quarterfinal berth against Virginia’s Louie Hayes with a couple of lopsided wins. He started his day with a 20-5 technical fall in 7:00 over Appalachian State’s Sean Carter. In the next round, Bravo-Young once again showed his superior takedown skills as he used four in an 11-3.

Lee, too, dominated on his way to a quarterfinal matchup with North Carolina’s Zach Sherman. Lee blitzed Drexel’s Julian Flores 18-0 in 2:33 in a first-round drubbing. In the next round, he engineered a 14-3 win over South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson.

Berge had a tougher time in his two wins, but he still fought his way into the quarterfinals where he will meet Jess Dallavecchia of Rider, the No. 4 seed. The Nittany Lion stayed a step ahead of Navy’s Andrew Cerniglia in a 12-4 first-round major decision. Then, in the second round, he clipped Iowa’s Kaleb Young, 3-2, the difference coming on a slick first period ankle pick takedown. It was Iowa’s first loss of the tournament as the Hawkeyes had been 14-0 to that point.

Brooks gave up just one point in his two wins as he cruised into the quarterfinals. He’ll face Nebraska’s Taylor Venz this afternoon.

In his opening match, Brooks wasted little time in amassing a 17-1 technical fall in 5:25 as he dominated Jhaquan Anderson of Gardner Webb. In the next round, he delivered a methodical 5-0 shutout of Minnesota’s Owen Webster.

Beard got off to a good start in his first NCAA appearance. He was in total control as he scored a major decision over Jacob Koser of Navy. Then, in the second round, he was the beneficiary of a first-round upset of second-seeded Eric Schultz of Nebraska. That meant Beard would instead meet No. 31 seed Owen Pentz of North Dakota State. Beard showed off a variety of takedowns as he majored Pentz, 17-8. Beard faces No. 26 seed Jake Woodley of Oklahoma in the quarterfinals.

Kerkvliet pitched a shutout in his NCAA debut, scoring the initial takedown and turning Johnathan Birchmeier four separate times and rolled up an 18-0 technical fall in just 2:17. In the next round, he met Lehigh’s Jordan Wood. Kerkvliet was able to exploit an advantage on his feet and earned a 12-2 major decision. The Nittany Lion freshman, seeded ninth, meets top-seeded Gable Steveson of Minnesota.

Howard avenged a pair of 5-2 losses to Ohio State’s Malik Heinselman in the first round to jump start the Nittany Lions’ first round. He was dropped into the consolation bracket in the round of 16 by Utah Valley No. 7 seed Taylor LaMont, who earned a 2-1 win with 1:26 of riding time the difference. He faces Fabian Guitierrez of Chattanooga in a second-round consolation bout.

Joe Lee took his lumps in his first trip to the NCAA tournament. He dropped an 8-1 decision to Oklahoma State’s Travis Wittlake in the opening round, as he came out on the wrong end of an upper body struggle and gave up a decisive six-point move. Then, in the first round of consolations, Chattanooga’s Andrew Nicholson broke open a close match early and pulled away to a 10-4 win to eliminate the Nittany Lion freshman.

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