2023 NWCA All-Star Classic

2023 NWCA All-Star Classic Live Updates From Penn State

2023 NWCA All-Star Classic Live Updates From Penn State

A play-by-play recap of all the wrestling from the 2023 NWCA All-Star Classic in award-winning blog form.

Nov 21, 2023 by Andrew Spey

It's all going down at 7:00 PM ET in historic Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University and it's all being blogged right here, for you, the wise and knowledgable college wrestling fan. 

2023 NWCA All-Star Classic Lineup

  • 116: #3 Sydney Petzinger, North Central (NCAA)  vs #2 Samara Chavez, King (NCAA)
  • 130: #1 Sarah Savidge, Life (NAIA) vs #2 Alexis Janiak, Aurora (NCAA)
  • 136: #1 Adaugo Nwachukwu, William Penn (NAIA) vs #1 Yele Aycock, North Central (NCAA)
  • 160: #1 Marlynne Deede, Iowa (NCAA) vs #1 Latifah McBryde, Life (NAIA)
  • 125: #1 Anthony Noto, Lock Haven vs #4 Matt Ramos, Purdue
  • 133: #5 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech vs Connor McGonagle, Lehigh
  • 141: #3 Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina vs #10 Josh Koderhandt, Navy
  • 149: #2 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State vs #3 Kyle Parco, Arizona State
  • 157: #1 (DII) Nick Novak, St. Cloud State vs #2 (DIII) Nolan Hertel, UW-LaCrosse
  • 165: #4 Dean Hamiti, Wisconsin vs #6 Izzak Olejnik, Oklahoma State
  • 174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State vs #2 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech
  • 184: #1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa vs #2 Bernie Truax, Penn State
  • 197: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State vs #2 Tanner Sloan, South Dakota State
  • 285: #1 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State vs #2 Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force

We'll keep the most recently finished bouts at the top of the page, so if you're reading this after the dual and want to read in chronological order, scroll to the bottom of the article and read bottom to top. 

And if you're reading this now that means the All-Star Classic has concluded! Appreciate you reading and apologies for the typos, see you next time!

285: #1 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State vs #2 Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force

1st period: It just so happened that the heavyweight bout is a natural marquee matchup for the event. So we're already at the final bout of the day (remember I'm live-blogging these bouts in reverse chronological order). Kerkvliet wasting no time, finds and angle and grabs a knee and drives Hendrickson to the mat and throws in a half and has him in danger! Hendrickson fights off his back but now needs injury time. He's limping a bit and hopefully he can continue but Hendrickson did look banged up in his gold medal match that he won at the U23 World Championships a little over a month ago. Wyatt talks to the trainer and his coach Sam Barber and he is good to go. Kerkvliet has choice after injury time and goes on bottom. Kerk is up and out and its 8-0 after less than a minute of wrestling. Another shot by Kerkvliet and he brings Hendrickson down to the mat for three more. Hendrickson has to fight but he escapes just before time runs out in the first. 

2nd period: Kerkvliet has bottom again in the second and a 11-1 lead, now 12-1 lead after a quick escape. Takedown for Kerkvliet makes it 15-1. Hendrickson escapes, but Kerkvliet goes back in and gets another takedown before time runs out in the second and it's a tech fall for Greg Kerkvliet over #2 Wyatt Hendrickson!

285: Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) TF Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force), 18-2 4:48

197: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State vs #2 Tanner Sloan, South Dakota State

1st period: Three-time NCAA champ Brooks has only had three bouts at 197 so far in his career, all three coming a week and a half ago. Sloan will be by far Brooks’ toughest test at his new, heavier weight. Brooks having no trouble hanging with Sloan for the first two minutes. No scores but lots of hand fighting and collar ties. A few half shots and fakes. Brooks fires off a shot just under the final minute mark and he's too precise. Quick finish makes it 3-0 with 30 seconds to go. Brooks will get the ride out to take a 3-0 lead into the break with 44 of RT. 

2nd period: Brooks starts the period down. Aaron is up and out in about 7 seconds or thereabouts. Brooks perfectly times another shot, runs the pike and corals Sloan for another three and a 7-0 lead. Brooks slaps in an underhooks and charges ahead, dropping down to a leg and collecting the far leg for a takedown in the final seconds of the periods. And it's 10-1 going in to the final period of regulation.

3rd period: Sloan chooses down. He'll ride for about 15 seconds before Sloan stands and escapes to make it 10-2, though Brooks has amasses 1:29 of RT and will almost definitely have that locked up at some point. Nice shot from Sloan with under a minute to go but Brooks is able to stuff it and get back to neutral. RT locked up. Shot by Brooks, reattack by Sloan has Brooks in trouble but he retreats to the edge and Sloan can't drag him back or find the second leg to score a takedown of his own so that'll do it. Major decision by Brooks over last year's NCAA runnerup!

197: Aaron Brooks (Penn State) MD Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State), 11-2

184: #1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa vs #2 Bernie Truax, Penn State

1st period: These two met twice at the 2022 NCAA Championships, with Truax winning on the top side while Keckeisen won in the 3rd place match. The third of five Nittany Lions takes the mat against the lone UNI Panther to wrestle in Rec Hall tonight. Swing single for Truax and Keckeisen furiously defends. Truax stays down on Keckeisen's legs and collects three. Keckeisen escapes and responds with two good shots but Truax's long frame is able to get out of bounds and stops both sequences by touching a foot to the hardwood. Coach Doug Schwab wants a stall call on the second one and he may have a point. Truax has a bloody nose that we pause the action for with 20 seconds left in the period. Bernie is cleaned up and we go to the second.

2nd period: Keckeisen gets to choose first and he picks bottom. Kecekeisen stands and goes right back at Truax's legs. No escape or reversal yet and Truax once again sticks a leg on the hardwood to stop the action. An escape is called but no stall warning. In neutral on the restart. Another single leg for Keckeisen and Truax again as backed up to the edge and lunges for the gym floor with a foot to get a whistle. This time however a stall warning is issued on Truax. Parker shoots in short time but Truax defends in the center of the mat.  

3rd period: Truax chooses bottom and is out in about 10 seconds to make it 4-2, riding time not a factor. Single leg by Keckeisen and repeat the sequence, out of bounds, no stall. One minute to go. Keckeisen continues to shoot and another stall warning and there's another point for Keckeisen, 4-3, 50 seconds to go. Truax with a swing single that doesn't land. 30 seconds. Keckeisen plowing forward and Truax giving ground, gets hit for stalling again and it's tied 4-4. No whistle and Keckeisen in on a double at the edge of the mat as time keeps ticking away. Can he get the two and stay in bounds this time? He does, by a millimeter of shoe with a couple of seconds on the clock. Penn State challenges but to no avail. 7-4 with a few seconds to go on the restart. Keckeisen gets a locked hands call but its moot as the Panther train rolls to a 7-5 come from behind win!

184: Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) DEC Bernie Truax (Penn State), 7-5

174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State vs #2 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech

1st period: A rematch of the 2022 NCAA finals and the 2022 NWCA All-Star Classic. Both bouts were won by Starocci, though the margin of victory in both were razor thin. Staorcci in on the first good shot. But Lewis is so hard to score against. Starocci tried a variety of finishes but the defense of Lewis was too strong. Great wrestling but no scores, now after 2 minutes. Another single leg from Starocci but Lewis does the splits and somehow his defense holds up. The crowd is calling for a stall call and they'll get it with 30 seconds left in the period. Another shot by Starocci, another scramble. 10 seconds and it's still 0-0 as the period runs out. Starocci has been relentless despite the lack of takedowns. 

2nd period: Lewis chooses down. Starocci keeps the pressure on. Lewis is having trouble building up to his base. Starocci attacking with his legs and his arms all at once. And Lewis picks up another stall call and that will be a point for Starocci. Now with a leg figure-foured Starocci is looking for swipes. And he'll get them in short time. A full compliment and then the ride out to boot. 5-0 lead for Starocci.

3rd period: Starocci takes down with a 5-0 lead and nearly two minutes of riding time. Carter stands and is out and now Mekhi is in a 6-0 hole, soon to be 7-0 once riding time is inevitably locked up. Shot from Starocci but again Lewis defends. Starocci continues to attack. Another stall on Lewis and it's 7-0 on the board. Riding time locked up and Starocci gets another takedown in the final 10 seconds and the ride out and it's 11-0 officially. A major decision and a statement win by Carter Starocci!

174: Carter Starocci (Penn State) MD Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech), 11-0

165: #4 Dean Hamiti, Wisconsin vs #6 Izzak Olejnik, Oklahoma State

1st period: Back to Division 1 wrestlers. Hamiti and Olejnik are the only respective Badgers and Cowboys in the event. Both these guys are real lanky and scrambly. And right on cue Hamiti has a single leg and the limbs go flying. No score after 90 seconds. Hamiti in on a single again but can't beat Olejnik's whizzer. Hamiti stays on the attack and Olejnik gets hit for stalling. Period ends 0-0. 

2nd period: Hamiti is underneath for the second. He stands and is out. Hamiti continues to to shoot but Olejnik's whizzer continues to stymie Hamiti. On the restart there's a slick ankle pick from Olejnik and he takes the lead 3-0. Olejnik keeps Hamiti's legs crossed and turked and looks for a chanery hold on the head for nearfall. Hamiti doesn't give up the swips but he does get ridden out and Olejnik takes a 3-1 lead an over 90 seconds of riding time into the third. 

3rd period: Olejnik takes down and Hamiti cuts him after a just a few seconds. 4-1 with most of the third period to go. Hamiti keeps shooting but can't finish off the scrambles. A shot with a minute left gets Olejnik dinged again for stalling so it's 4-2 but Olejnik has 1:24 of riding time. Less than 30 to go. Riding time locked up but a takedown can still tie for Hamiti. Time running out, double form Hamiti that's caught and thrown by and Olejnik covers for three more just before time runs out. Final will be 8-3 as Olejnik gets the minor upset over Hamiti!

165: Izzak Olejnik (Oklahoma State) DEC Dean Hamiti (Wisconsin), 8-2

157: #1 (DII) Nick Novak, St. Cloud State vs #2 (DIII) Nolan Hertel, UW-LaCrosse

1st period: We needed two replacements for 157 and decided it was time to give these two wrestlers an opportunity to share the stage with some of the best collegiate wrestlers in America. It's DII champ vs DIII champ in Rec Hall! Lots of collar ties and hand fighting but no scores after a couple of minutes. Hertel down on a single leg but Novak dives for a leg of his own and he scrambles his way to the break. Donuts on the board after one period. 

2nd period: Novak underneath to start the second. Hertel rides him tough but Novak won't be denied his escape and is out in just under 30 seconds to score the first point of the bout. More battling from neutral but no scores so Novak will take his slim lead to the third. 

3rd period: Hertel on bottom, Novak throws in a leg, Hertel stands with the leg in and eventually gets the escape. Score is 1-1 with 0:00 on the riding time clock so it's as tied as a match can be at this point. Under a minute to go. Show from Novak, stuffed by Hertl. Novak with a nice high crotch in short time but he runs out of time before he can finish. Nice defense by Hertel as well. To overtime!

Sudden victory 1: Two minutes on the board. Novak on a head-inside single. Hertel trying to cut the corner. And it's stalemated. 1:07 to go on the restart. Now Hertel with a leg and he's in his position to score. Novak dives for a leg and has it and there's a potentially dangerous call to get a restart. Under 30 to go. Shot by Novak but Hertel stops him with a sprawl. SV ends and we'll go to tiebreakers!

Tiebreaker 1: Hard to say who has an advantage here as RT in regulation was zeroed out. Hertel starts underneath. He stands. Mat return by Novak. Two boots in by Novak. And he gets the 30 seconds ride out. Big advantage for Novak now going into TB2.

Tiebreaker 2: Novak on bottom. Stand and forward roll for Novak into a crab ride. Hertel stays on him. And He gets the ride out! It can't be any more even of a match!

Sudden victory 2: 10 minutes of wrestling already in the books. Only one minute of sudden victory now. No scores. Okay more tiebreakers. 

Tiebreaker 3: Hertel is on bottom. Hertel stands, Novak tries to broomstick him back to the mat, Hertel catches the leg and gets a reversal. That's huge for Hertel! Period ends with hertel on top. He leads 3-1 and has 1 second of riding time. 

Tiebreaker 4: Novak chooses neutral. No stall calls on either wrestler. Shot from Novak with 10 seconds to go. Hertel sprawls. And there's the win by Nolan Hertel. Victory for Wisconsin-LaCrosse and Division 3!

157: Nolan Hertel (Wisconsin-La Crosse) DEC Nick Novak (St. Cloud State), 3-1

149: #2 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State vs #3 Kyle Parco, Arizona State

1st period: The first Nittany Lion is introduced to thunderous applause inside Rec Hall. SVN beat Parco in the 3rd place bout at last season's NCAA Tournament. Lots of movement and semi-shots from both wrestlers eat up the first 90 seconds of the period. Van Ness fires off a double, Parco catches him and nearly throws him by, but no score there, and no score after three minutes so a high energy, low scoring period comes to a close. 

2nd period: Van Ness wins the toss and takes bottom. SVN is out after 13 seconds. We pause to clean up some blood (I think) and back to action, Parco drops to a single, Van Ness gets his hips back and has enough strength to get back to neutral. Now a scramble, they're going upper body, Van Ness in the better position and Parco gets thrown to his back. He fights to his belly and Van Ness just gets the takedown. He leads 4-0 as the period ends. 

3rd period: Parco chooses down. Van Ness with a couple of mat returns. He's putting on a solid ride. Riding time up over a minute. Riding time now locked up. Finally, Parco escapes but he doesn't have a lot of time to work. Parco pressuring in, now a shot from Van Ness. They finish in a scramble but no scores, and Van Ness is going to take it, much to the approval of the many Penn State fans in attendance. 

149: Shayne Van ness (Penn State) DEC Kyle Parco (Arizona State), 5-1

141: #3 Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina vs #10 Josh Koderhandt, Navy

1st period: Koderhandt was a late replacement for the event but one of the brightest stars on a very tough Navy squad. McNeil has a single leg early in the match. Koderhandt defending but eventually McNeil gets a leg in the air and foot sweeps Koderhandt to the mat for three. Escape by Koderhandt and it's 3-1 after a minute. Hand fighting for another minute or so. McNeil in on another single leg in short time. Can he still a takedown before time runs out? He cannot. Still 3-1.

2nd period: McNeil will go down. Koderhandy rides for about 30 seconds before McNeil escapes. Shot by Koderhandt, McNeil defends after a brief scramble. McNeil stuffs a double leg from Koderhandt. Some scrappy neutral wrestling but no more scores. 4-1 McNeil

3rd period: Koderhandt chooses down for the final period of regulation. He stands, hits a standing switch and McNeil backs off and Koderhandt earns a quick escape. 4-2 with 90 seconds left in regulation. A takedown will give Koderhandt the lead. Single leg for Koderhandt, he's got about 30 seconds to finish. They go around and around on the mat. McNeil won't allow Koderhandt to finish and the Tar Heel picks up the win, 4-2!

141: Lachlan McNeil (North Carolina) DEC Josh Koderhandt (Navy), 4-2

133: #5 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech vs Connor McGonagle, Lehigh

1st period: McGonagle is only unranked because his teammate, redshirt freshman Ryan Crooham, has been on fire, beating then #1 Vito Arujau already this season. McGonagle was ranked #6 to start the season. Latona has a solid shot but McGonagle timed it well and stops it and runs behind for a big three pointer after about 100 seconds of wrestling. Latona throws McGonagle's legs out and scootts free for an escape point. That's how the period ends, 3-1 for McGonagle.

2nd period: Latona wins the coin toss and chooses down. McGonagle throws in legs and again Latona throws them out and escapes. 3-2 with 90 seconds left in the period, McGonagle with 55 seconds of riding time. Latona taking ground, firing off some half shots, McGonagle keeping him at bay. Period ends still 3-2. 

3rd period: McGoangle's choice and he takes down. Latona goes neutral start and gives McGonagle another point. 4-2 but Latona just a takedown away from taking the lead. Latona snipes a leg, he works his way up and collects a takedown to make it 5-4. McGonagle out quickly to knot things up 5-5. 30 seconds to go. We got a match here! Can Latona keep the momentum and end it in regulation? No, we go to over time. 

Sudden victory: Two minutes, first score wins. Latona more active but no committed shots or scrambles after a minute. Latona fires off a low shot, he's got a leg. McGonagle grabs a far ankle, they'll scramble in short time. Latona grabs his knee. He may be hurt. Whistle blew, no scores. But Latona shakes it off. He'll keep wrestling. No scores so we go to tiebreaker. 

Tiebreaker 1: McGonagle on bottom. He stands, now to a switch. They scramble. Latona drops to a leg and picks up a stall call. Restart with 12 seconds left. McGonagle grambies, then hi heists, but McGoangle is in position for a reversal. He gets it! May get swipes too. No nearfall but 7-5 now McGonagle leads. Latona challenges though, saying it wasn't a reversal because Latona had a leg the whole time. Call stands though, so still 7-5. Latona's choice in the next tiebreaker. 

Tiebreaker 2: Latona still slightly limping. He elects to go neutral. 30 seconds on the clock. Latona attacks, McGonagle gets hit with stalling, his first warning. Latona dives in but McGonagle stuffs him and chews up some clock. Latona can't score in the final few seconds and McGonagle wins it! Kudos to Latona for gutting out the exhibition match when he could've very justifiably talent he injury default. And credit to McGonagle for getting that reversal in overtime to earn the dub. Great bout!

133: Connor Mcgonagle (Lehigh) DEC Sam Latona (Virginia Tech), 7-5 TB2

125: #1 Anthony Noto, Lock Haven vs #4 Matt Ramos, Purdue

1st period: This was a #1 vs #2 matchup at the start of the season. Since then Noto has risen from #2 to #1 and Ramos has slide a couple of spots from #1 to #4. Collar ties and some half shots but no scores after a minute. Same deal after another minute. Tough hand fight but not a lot in the way of committed attacks. More shoving but no scoring so it's a 0-0 first period. 

2nd period: Noto chooses down to start the second. Noto is out in a hurry. Ramos fires off a shot and he's on Noto's legs. He converts for three and it's 3-1, now 3-2 as Noto once again escapes. Quick reminder, takedowns are worth 3 points in college starting this year! Noto now on a shot, there's a scramble. 30 seconds to go, still scrambling. Noto builds height but Ramos finds away to avoid danger and keep the flurry going. No score as time runs out so it's 3-2, 31 seconds of riding time, bot in favor of Ramos. 

3rd period: Ramos chooses neutral. Slow, tactical pace. No stall warnings on either wrestler. One minute to go. Down to 30, Noto hasn't found a way through Ramos' defenses. There's a shot by Noto, Ramos catches him in a headlock. Noto tries to jump over and make something happen but Ramos was ready for him and he hits Noto on his back. He'll collect four nearfall in the closing seconds and make the score 10-2 after that five point move. New number one at 125?

125: Matt Ramos (Purdue) MD Anthony Noto (Lock Haven), 10-2

160: #1 Marlynne Deede, Iowa (NCAA) vs #1 Latifah McBryde, Life (NAIA)

1st period: Deede is the only Hawkeye here at the All-Star Classic. Both her and McBryde are ranked #1 in their respective collegiate associates. McBryde has two sisters who are also currently rostered on the Life wrestling team. Fierce handfighting to start the period, headlock attempt by Deede, it doesn't land, McBryde goes for a suplex, that doesn't land. They're in a scramble, McBryde gets an exposure but Deede answers back with a crotch lock and throws McBryde through for two more. It's 2-2, with Deede leading via criteria. They wrestle toward the edge of the mat, they may have bonked heads or an eye poke on McBryde but she needs the trainer. She's okay and they go back to wrestling, McBryde having picked up a step out. 3-2 is how the period ends in Latifah's favor. 

2nd period: McBryde taking ground, they're at the edge of the mat, and Deede hip tosses McBryde to her back and that'll be fore the Hawkeye to make it 6-3 with 90 seconds left in the match. Now an eye poke (accidental) on Deede and we pause the action. Back to the center. Deede defending, seizes an opportunity to get another downblock go-behind to ice it, and 8-3 is the margin of victory. Deede is the first Iowa women's wrestler to win at the NWCA All-Star Classic!

Marlynne Deede (Iowa) VPO1 Latifah Mcbryde (Life), 8-3

136: #1 Adaugo Nwachukwu, William Penn (NAIA) vs #1 Yele Aycock, North Central (NCAA)

1st period: Nwackukwu is the favorite, as she's gone toe-to-toe and even beaten some of the best senior level women around this weight in the country. Both Adaugo and Yele are ranked number one in their respective college associations. Nwachukwu strikes first with a double leg. Aycock stuffs the next attack by Nwachukwu keeps coming forward, throwing in an underhook and throwing Aycock down for another takedown. 4-0 halfway through the first. Aycock shoots in but is stopped. With 30 seconds left in the period Aycock shoots in again and headwheels Nwachukwu over for a takedown and she's on the board. 4-2 Nwachukwu leads one period. 

2nd period: Nwachukwu immediately goes back to work after the whistle. Double leg converts for Adaugo who transitions into a gut wrench that scores two more. It's 8-2 early in the second period. Aycock pressuring in, Nwachukwu is backed up to the boundary, she tries to cartwheel over Aycock but Aycock hips her over to her back, just barely, for a four-point feet-to-back to make it 8-6 as they go out of bounds. Nwachukwu challenges but loses. 8-7 and Yele is right back in this bout. One point will give Aycock the lead via criteria. 90 seconds to go. Single leg by Aycock, a scramble, Nwachukwu snags a leg and manages to wrestle to a stalemate. Back to neutral. Under a minute. 30 seconds. Simultaneous shots, and Nwachukwu gets behind Aycock and a huge two points for Adaugo in short time. A step out with two seconds left and you can put it in the books. Great bout, 11-7 victory for Adaugo Nwachukwu! 

Adaugo Nwachukwu (William Penn) VPO1 Yele Aycock (North Central), 11-7

130: #1 Sarah Savidge, Life (NAIA) vs #2 Alexis Janiak, Aurora (NCAA)

1st period: No wasting time in this match, single leg by Janiak, clean finish and it's a two point lead. Janiak has a lace locked up. She takes Savidge over for two more. Plenty of space to work. Three more turns with the leg lace and it's a 10-0 tech for Alexis Janiak of Illinois!

Alexis Janiak (Aurora) VSU Sarah Savidge (Life), 10-0 0:31

116: #3 Sydney Petzinger, North Central (NCAA) vs #2 Samara Chavez, King (NCAA)

1st period: We start 2023's edition of this historic event with the first of four women's bouts. The women's matches will be freestyle. Back and forth in the first minute, then Chavez loads up and fires a head lock hip toss and Perzinger goes down to the mat, back-first. Petzinger fights off her back and eventually gets a restart, 4-0 Chavez lead. Chavez goes back to the headlock but Petzginer stops the motion, pops her head out and then comes around behind to force a takedown. Chavez answers with a blast double takedown to make it 6-2. Another headlock is missed by Chavez and again Petzinger capitalizes with another takedown. Acton-packed first period comes to an end, 6-4 lead for Chavez. 

2nd period: Petzinger going on the offensive in this period. Gets the tie she wants and goes for a back trip. Chavez adjust and rips another headlock, this one puts Petzinger on her back again. Chavez adjusts and squeezes and that's all she wrote! Chavez by pinfall!

Samara Chavez (King) VFA Sydney Petzinger (North Central), 8-4 3:50

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