Redshirt freshman Brady Berge is bringing home some hardware ahead of the 2018-19 wrestling season, as he earned a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia.
Future Nittany Lion teammate Aaron Brooks, a verbal commit who’s spending this upcoming season at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, is also not coming home empty-handed, as he won silver at 79 kilograms.
Wrestling at 70 kg, Berge suffered a loss by technical fall in the first round, 13-3, to Russia’s Razambek Zhamalov, who was a semifinalist at the senior level at Russian Nationals. Zhamalov went on to win his semifinal match, and ultimately take second, to keep Berge alive in consolations, where he tallied a 13-2 technical fall over Aliaksandr Kuryshta, of Belarus, and a 1-1 decision on criteria over Arman Andreasyan, of Armenia.
Also medaling for the U.S. men’s freestyle team so far were Zach Elam and Daton Fix, who won silver and bronze, respectively. Competition continues Sunday morning, with Team USA trailing Russia 105-74.
Berge’s path to the Junior World Championships started in April, when he finished as runner up to Tar Heel Austin O’Connor, also a redshirt freshman. Berge avenged that loss on criteria a few weeks later at the Junior World Team Trials in Rochester, Minn., when he beat O’Connor 2-1 in a best-of-three series final.
His Nittany Lion teammates sophomore Nick Lee and fellow redshirt freshman Jarod Verklereen, finished second and third, respectively, at 65 kg in that tournament.
Both listed on Penn State’s roster at 149 pounds, Berge and Verklereen are likely competing to fill the void left in the starting lineup by three-time national champ and two-time Hodge Trophy winner Zain Retherford.
Other Nittany Lions winning international hardware over the summer were junior Mark Hall and 2010-14 standout David Taylor, who both won gold at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in May.
Taylor will wrestle in his first Senior World Championships Oct. 20-28 in Budapest, Hungary.