Heating Up

Led by another dominant performance from the wrestling team, Penn State made postseason noise in several winter sports.  

collage of five photos of Penn State winter sports by Penn State Athletics

The Penn State wrestling team won its 11th national championship and 10th under Cael Sanderson in March, as Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks were both crowned individual NCAA champions for the third time. The 55 points between the Nittany Lions, who have won 10 of the last 12 team titles, and second-place Iowa was the largest margin in Penn State history and the fifth-largest by a champion in the tournament’s history.

Starocci pinned Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola to claim 174-pound gold, and Brooks followed by taking down top-seeded Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa 7-2 at 184 pounds. Greg Kerkvliet, Levi Haines, and Roman Bravo-Young earned runner-up finishes at 285, 157, and 133 pounds, respectively.


Men’s Basketball

Led by senior guard Jalen Pickett, the first Penn State men’s basketball player to be named a first- or second-team All-American in 68 years, the Nittany Lions won nine of their final 12 games and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. The Lions won their first game in the tournament since 2001, a 76-59 rout of Texas A&M, before their season ended with a 71-66 loss to Texas in the round of 32. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry accepted the same position at Notre Dame a week later; shortly before this issue went to press, the program announced the hiring of former Virginia Commonwealth University coach Mike Rhoades.


Women’s Ice Hockey

The Nittany Lions reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history after winning their first CHA championship. Penn State fell 3-2 in triple overtime to Quinnipiac in the tournament’s opening round to snap an 18-game winning streak; it was the third-longest game in women’s college ice hockey history.


Men’s Ice Hockey

The Nittany Lions won 22 games and advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history before falling 2-1 to Michigan in overtime at a sold-out PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Connor MacEachern, Liam Souliere, and Christian Berger were named to the Allentown Regional All-Tournament team.