Sunnyside High School alum Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State reached multiple individual achievements Friday at the NCAA wrestling championships at Tulsa, Okla., most important among them advancing to Saturday’s championship at 133 pounds.
In a shocker, the title match for Bravo-Young, the No. 1 seed at 133 pounds, will not be against No. 2 Daton Fix of Oklahoma State.
No. 3 Vito Arujau of Cornell upset Fix by major decision (11-3) to improve to 24-1.
“He’s tough. I’m tough,” said Bravo-Young (20-0) in a press conference. “It’s going to be a fun match. Good for you guys, right? You get to watch a fun match. Yeah.”
Arujau was asked about the talk of Fix facing Bravo-Young for the championship before the tournament started.
“Roman and Daton did not ignore me,” he said. “They were fully aware I was a threat, and the public may not have been super aware because I have been shaky in folkstyle. I have never made the finals before.
“I’m very happy for myself and my program that I’m able to represent us in the finals now. But, no, I think they’re fully aware of what I’m capable of, and, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
With his semifinal win earlier tonight, Roman Bravo-Young has claimed his 100th career win!#PSUwr pic.twitter.com/TCnaMkwk5y
— Penn State WRESTLING (@pennstateWREST) March 18, 2023
By winning in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds Friday, Bravo-Young earned his 100th victory at Penn State and he became a five-time All-American (to gain All-American status a wrestler must advance to the national semifinals).
Bravo-Young is 100-19 in his five-year career at Penn State (an extra year of eligibility was granted because of COVID-19 restrictions in 2019-20).
He defeated No. 8 Aaron Nagao of Minnesota by a 4-1 decision in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Michael McGee of Arizona State 6-4 in sudden victory in the semifinals.
McGee took a lead with a takedown on Bravo-Young, who rallied to tie the match at 2 with less than a minute to go in the third period. McGee was on the attack, but Roman Bravo-Young got the takedown to pull ahead 4-2.
McGee tied the match with riding time and an escape.
In sudden victory, Bravo-Young maneuvered a takedown to clinch the victory.
Roman Bravo-Young with the 4-1 win over Nagao!
RBY into the semis…
He’s now a 5X All-American! #PSUwr pic.twitter.com/daQVgSVI6H
— Penn State WRESTLING (@pennstateWREST) March 17, 2023
Bravo-Young had a rematch of the Big Ten title match with No. 8 Aaron Nagao of Minnesota in the quarterfinal round.
Bravo-Young fought off an early Nagao shot and worked the remainder of the opening period in neutral.
Tied 0-0, Nagao chose down to start the second period and Bravo-Young controlled him for the full period. He got hit with stalling once during the ride and had 1:57 riding time after the period ended.
Bravo-Young chose down to start the third period and steadily worked his way to a reversal and a 2-1 lead after a Nagao escape. Bravo-Young added a penalty point and nearly 2:00 in riding time to post the 4-1 victory.
RBY wins it in SV and is headed back to the NCAA Finals!
📺 ESPN#NCAAWrestling x @pennstateWREST pic.twitter.com/0GmcWO5dlP
— NCAA Wrestling (@NCAAWrestling) March 18, 2023
When asked what he will do to prepare for the championship against Arujau, Roman-Bravo said, “Rest up. Seven minutes is all that’s left of my college career. That’s it, seven minutes. I’m grateful to be able to do what I’ve done, and this is just another opportunity to be great.”
Penn State is well within reach to win its second consecutive team championship.
It has 116.5 points with Iowa next at 77.
Penn State closed out the semifinal round sending five Nittany Lions into the finals on Saturday. They are Bravo-Young (133), Levi Haines (157), Carter Starocci (174), Aaron Brooks (184) and Greg Kerkvliet (285).
The Lions also have three wrestlers in consolation action, including Beau Bartlett (141), Shayne Van Ness (149) and Max Dean (197).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.