NWCA All-Star Classic showcases 14 college showdowns, including four winners from host Penn State

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), Marlynne Deede (Iowa) with arms raised in victory at 2023 NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The NWCA All-Star Classic was a wonderful showcase of men’s and women’s college wrestling, with a 14-match card of nationally ranked stars.

The event started with four women’s freestyle bouts, with victories by Samara Chavez of King (116), Alexis Janiak of Aurora (130), Adaugo Nwachukwu of William Penn (136) and Marlynne Deede of Iowa (160). In the three NCAA vs. NAIA battles, the NCAA won twice and the NAIA won once. Freestyle is the style of college women’s wrestling.

The event switched to men’s folkstyle, the style of college men’s wrestling. The card continued in weight class order.

Winners in men’s folkstyle were Matt Ramos of Purdue (125), Connor McGonagle of Lehigh (133), Lachlan McNeil of North Carolina (141), Shane Van Ness of Penn State (149), Nolan Hertel of UW-LaCrosse (157), Izaak Olejnik of Oklahoma State (165), Carter Starocci of Penn State (174), Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa (184), Aaron Brooks of Penn State (197) and Greg Kervliet of Penn State (285).

2023 NWCA All-Star Classic match summaries follow

Samara Chavez (King) works for fall at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Women 116: #2 Samara Chavez, King (NCAA) pin #3 Sydney Petzinger, North Central (NCAA), 3:50

Chavez nailed a headlock for four points midway through the first period to lead 4-0. Petzinger was in danger, but was able to get out of the hold. Chavez tries another headlock, Petzinger counters for a takedown to close it to 4-2. Chavez hit a blast double for two points and a 6-2 lead. A late counter takedown by Petzinger made it 6-4 at the break. Add a counter headlock by Chavez early in the second period for four points, and she presses for the fall.

Alexis Janiak (Aurora) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Women 130: #2 Alexis Janiak, Aurora (NCAA) tech. fall #1 Sarah Savidge, Life (NAIA), 10-0, 0:31

A quick takedown by Alexis Janiak, and then she locks up the ankle lace. Four straight turns by Janiak gave her the quick technical fall victory.

Adaugo Nwachukwu (William Penn) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Women 136: #1 Adaugo Nwachukwu, William Penn (NAIA) dec. #1 Yele Aycock, North Central (NCAA), 11-7

Nwachukwu hits a double leg takedown to lead 2-0. Nwachukwu goes upperbody and shoots on the edge for a takedown and a 4-0 lead. Aycock hits a leg attack for a takedown and closes it to 4-2 late in the first period. In the second period, Nwachukwu gets a double leg takedown and a gut wrench turn to jump her lead to 8-2. Aycock goes to the edge and hips Nwachukwu out for a four-pointer to make it 8-6. Nwachukwu challenges the call which is denied, making it 8-7. Aycock takes a shot, and from the scramble is unable to finish. Aycock pushes the action, Nwachukwu counters for a takedown and a 10-7 lead. A last second step out makes it 11-7 for Nwachukwu.

Marlynne Deede (Iowa) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Women 160: #1 Marlynne Deede, Iowa (NCAA) dec. #1 Latifah McBryde, Life (NAIA), 8-3

McBryde controls the early ties. McBryde gets behind Deede but doesn’t finish. Deede gets a tilt, and gets behind for a takedown and a 4-0 lead. Referees discuss the call from the scramble, and changes it to a 2 and 2, making the score 2-2. McBryde forces a pushout, 3-2, then goes down with an injury. The period ends with McBryde winning 3-2. McBryde drives Deede to the edge, but Deede pops a hip toss for four points and a 6-3 lead for Deede. McBryde not able to score in final minute, Deede gets a counter spin behind and ends up winning, 8-3.  

Matt Ramos (Purdue) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 125: #4 Matt Ramos, Purdue dec. #1 Anthony Noto, Lock Haven, 8-2

There was no takedown in the first period. Noto goes down and gets a quick escape, 1-0. Ramos gets the takedown and a 3-1 lead. Noto gets his escape and closes to 3-2. Noto gets a single leg shot and a scramble ensues, goes back and forth, but nobody gets the takedown. In the third period, the choice is neutral for Ramos. Noto tries a late attempt, and Ramos gets the takedown and back points, 8-2.

Connor McGonigle (Lehigh) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 133: Connor McGonagle, Lehigh dec. #5 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech, 7-5 TB

McGonagle gets behind Latona for the takedown and a 3-0 lead. Latona gets an escape after 32 seconds of riding to make it 3-1 as the first period ends. Latona goes down in the second period. Latona gets the escape, with McGonagle at 55 seconds of riding time, 3-2 which is the score at the end of two periods. McGonagle gets cut for 4-2 lead. Latona gets the takedown to lead 5-4. McGonagle escapes to tie it at 5-5 in the last minute. It goes into overtime. In sudden victory, Latona takes a shot and Latona injured his leg during the scramble but gets back up. There is no takedown. In the tie-breaker, Latona is on top, and they go down to a scramble and a break. Latona gets hit for the stall. McGonigle gets a reversal to lead 7-5. Latona challenges. Next up, Latona goes neutral and can’t get the takedown. McGonigle is hit for the stall. With no takedown, McGonagle wins 7-5.

Lachlan McNeil (North Carolina) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 141: #3 Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina dec. #9 Josh Koderhandt, Navy, 4-2

McNeil gets a single, lifts it up and trips to complete the takedown to lead 3-0. After 28 seconds, Koderhandt gets the escape to make it 3-1, which is the score at the end of one period. McNeil goes down and gets an escape, 4-1. Neither can score on the feet, and the score is 4-1 after two periods. In the third, Koderhandt goes down and gets a quick escape to make it 4-2. Koderhandt gets a low single, McNeil counters and it ends in a scramble. McNeil wins, 4-2.

Shayne Van Ness (Penn State) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 149: #2 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State dec. #3 Kyle Parco, Arizona State, 5-1

There were many attempts, but no takedowns in the first period to end at 0-0. Van Ness goes down in the second, Van Ness gets standup escape, 1-0. Neither athlete can complete a shot, as both wrestlers are active most of the period. Van Ness gets a late takedown on the edge for a 4-0 lead at the end of the second period. Parco goes down in the third. Van Ness is strong on top, working a leg in and arm bar. Van Ness gets riding time. Parco gets the escape late to make it 4-1. Van Ness shoots and time runs out. Riding time goes to Van Ness to make it 5-1.

Nolan Hertel (UW-LaCrosse) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 157: #2 (DIII) Nolan Hertel, UW-LaCrosse dec. #1 (DII) Nick Novak, St. Cloud State, 3-1 TB-2

There is no takedown in the first period. Novak goes down in second. Novak gets the escape to lead 1-0. Neither wrestler gets a great shot so the period ends 1-0. Hertel takes down and gets an escape to tie it at 1-1. Riding time is at 0. Neither gets a takedown and regulation ends 1-1. In sudden victory, Hertel gets a single leg but goes to a stalemate. Nobody gets the takedown. In the tie-breaker, Hertel takes down. Novak gets two legs in and is able to get the rideout. Hertel goes down and Novak rides him out. We go back to sudden victory. Nobody gets a takedown. Hertel goes down and gets the reversal, 3-1. Novak goes neutral and does not score. Hertel wins 3-1.

Izaak Olejnik (Oklahoma State) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 165: #6 Izzak Olejnik, Oklahoma State, dec. #4 Dean Hamiti, Wisconsin, 8-2

Hamiti takes a number of shots, but nobody gets a takedown to end the first period, 0-0. Hamiti goes down in the second period. Hamiti gets the escape to lead 1-0. Olejnik gets an ankle pick for the takedown and a 3-1 lead. Olejnik has 1: 32 in riding time after two periods. Olejnik is down in the third and escapes to make it 4-1. Olejnik hit for stalling penalty, now 4-2. Olejnik gets a throw by in the last seconds for a takedown, 7-2. Add Olejnik’s riding time to make it 8-2.

Carter Starocci (Penn State) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State maj. dec. #2 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech, 11-0

Starocci gets on a leg shot, Lewis counters, Starocci not able to finish in a great exchange. Starocci gets another leg, but they go out of bounds on the counter. Lewis hit for stall warning. Starocci gets on a shot, but another scramble ends the period at 0-0. Lewis goes down. Starocci has a strong ride, flattening Lewis. Lewis hit for a stalling penalty, 1-0 Starocci. Starocci turns Lewis for backpoints, getting four points and a 5-0 lead. Starocci rides out the period. In the third period, Starocci is down and gets an escape, 6-0. Lewis hit for another stalling penalty, 7-0. Starocci gets in on a shot and finishes a takedown in the final seconds to lead 10-0. Add riding time and Starocci wins 11-0.

Parker Keckeisen (UNI) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 184: #1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa dec. #2 Bernie Truax, Penn State, 7-5

Truax gets a leg attack takedown on the edge to lead 3-0. Keckeisen gets the quick escape to make it 3-1. Keckeisen gets a shot two times but they both go out of bounds. Period ends 3-1. Keckeisen goes down and gets and escape, 3-2. Keckeisen gets a single leg and they go out of bounds. Truax warned for stalling, and second period ends 3-2 for Truax. In the third, Truax goes down and gets the escape, 4-2. Keckeisen gets a leg but they go out of bounds again. Truax hit with stalling penalty, 4-3. Keckeisen gets a takedown on the edge with seven seconds left, 7-4. Penn State challenges. A point to Truax makes the final score 7-5 for Keckeisen.

Aaron Brooks (Penn State) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 197: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State maj. dec. #2 Tanner Sloan, South Dakota State, 11-2

Brooks gets the single leg shot and finishes for the takedown, 3-0. Brooks rides out the period for 44 seconds and leads 3-0 after one period. Brooks is down in the second period. Brooks gets a quick escape for a 4-0 lead. Brooks gets a single leg and finish for a takedown and 7-0 lead. Sloan gets the escape, 7-1, but Brooks has 1:08 in riding time. Brooks gets a takedown with three seconds left in the second period to lead 10-1. Sloan is down in the third period and gets an escape, 10-2. Sloan gets a single leg on the edge but can’t finish. Add in riding time and Brooks wins 11-2.

Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) at NWCA All-Star Classic (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Men 285: #1 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State tech. fall #2 Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force, 18-2

Kerkvilet gets the shot and takes Hendrickson to his back and gets four back points to lead 7-0. Hendrickson is able to avoid the pin, then is injured. Kerkvliet chooses down after the injury time and adds the escape to lead 8-0. Kerkvliet gets a shot and takedown for an 11-0 lead. Hendrickson escapes at end of the period to make it 11-1 after one period. Kerkvliet goes down and escapes, 12-1. A Kerkvliet takedown for a 15-1 lead. Hendrickson escapes for a 15-2 score. A Kerkvliet takedown on the edge makes it an 18-2 technical fall.