photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Roman Bravo-Young’s name resonates throughout the Arizona wrestling community.
Bravo-Young, now a sophomore at Penn State University, went 182-0 in his high school career and claimed four state championships. He followed in the footsteps of Arizona greats such as Angel and Henry Cejudo and Anthony Robles. He also helped lay the groundwork for those such as Anthony Echemendia and Beau Bartlett (now at Wyoming Seminary).
This weekend, Bravo-Young will make a homecoming of sorts as Penn State heads to Tempe to take on Arizona State on Friday night.
The dual will take place just over 100 miles from Sunnyside High School, where the now All-American made his name.
“That’s gonna be fun. I’m excited,” he said of the chance to wrestle in his home state. “I get to go home after the match and celebrate Thanksgiving. So I’m pretty pumped up for that one.”
In addition to the caliber of opponent, the decision to wrestle in the home state of one of its recruits is nothing new for the Nittany Lions, who headed out west to CSU Bakersfield towards the end of Morgan McIntosh’s career. Bravo-Young said that while the dual obviously wasn’t a condition of his recruitment, it is something he appreciates.
“When you come to a place like Penn State and from Arizona, you know you’re not going to get as many opportunities to wrestle in front of friends and family,” he said. “So do be able to do that, especially in a big dual like the one against Arizona State, is really cool.”
The Nittany Lions 133-pounder was impressive in his true freshman season, racking up 25 wins and an All-American finish at the NCAA Tournament, but he said he feels the best is yet to come.
“I know what to expect and I’ve been working hard and it’s not so much about winning and losing; it’s about getting better every day,” he said. “I’m just focusing on being the best I can be every match and controlling what I can control.”
Bravo-Young, ranked No. 4 in the nation, said that he feels his pace and conditioning are better this year compared to last season and that having more concrete goals and knowing what to expect from the season has helped him take the necessary steps to become a title contender.
“I think just mentally and just the little things,” he said when asked about specific areas of improvement. “Because I know I can hang with anyone on their feet, so I just worked my top-bottom and just the little things, pretty much.”
Penn State’s dual with No. 6 Arizona State is set for 9 p.m. Eastern on Friday and can be watched on Pac-12 Arizona and streamed live on Pac12.com. Bravo-Young is set to square off with 11th-ranked Josh Kramer, who has already knocked off three ranked opponents this season.