Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling Star Aaron Brooks Making History

With his dominating win against UNI’s Parker Keckeisen in the finals of the 2023 NCAA Championships, Aaron Brooks became just the sixth member of the Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling team to ever win three NCAA titles. And no Penn State Wrestler has ever won four individual titles.
Just take a look at this incredible list of three-timers:
Ed Ruth (2012-2014)
Zain Retherford (2016-2018)
Jason Nolf (2017-2019)
Bo Nickal (2017-2019)
Carter Starocci (2021-2023)
Aaron Brooks (2021-2023)
Maybe it’s high time I slap together a “Top 10 Nittany Lion Wrestlers of the Cael Sanderson Era” article.
I could definitely do that, but there’s also an insane probability that no one will agree with the order of my list. But we shall see when that time arises.
Regardless of the order, there’s no doubt Aaron Brooks will crack the top 10. And even though his 67 wins for the Nittany Lions only places him 76th on the list of career wins, he’s currently eighth overall with his ridiculous 95.7% win percentage.
The only Nittany Lion greats above him in the category are the following:
7. Andy Matter (96.7%)
6. Carter Starocci (96.8%)
5. Jason Nolf (97.5%)
4. Bo Nickal (97.6%)
3. Zain Retherford (97.7%)
2. David Taylor (97.8%)
1. Ed Ruth (97.8%)


That is the prime definition of being in rarefied company. But winning for Brooks is nothing new and he’s done it virtually his entire wrestling career.
Prior to Brooks signing on the dotted line to wrestle for Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions, Aaron wrestled at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Maryland. At NHHS he had a career record of 163-2, was a four year letterman, and a three year captain.
Aaron won four Maryland state titles and he became only the seventh wrestler to capture four National High School Coaches Association Championships at the NHSCA High School Nationals. Brooks’ accomplishments on the mat led him to be named the recipient of the 2018 National High School Coaches Association Wrestler of the Year.
During his senior year at North Hagerstown, Brooks moved to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train for the national team. In an interview with FloWrestling, Aaron talks about his goals of being a wrestler, “The Olympics, that’s the pinnacle. There’s no NFL for us, no NBA. If you’re an Olympic champion in wrestling, you’re the best over everyone. Some people say you were an NCAA Champion, you were a folkstyle champion and that’s the only place, but being an Olympic champion where they shrink the weight classes? You’re the best in the world. That’s something I know I’ve always wanted to be.”
And based on everything Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling fans have seen from Aaron, it can’t be a surprise he recently won the 86 kg title at the 2023 US Open in Las Vegas. The win for Brooks qualified him for the Final X later in June which could then vault him to make the US World Team.
But look, the only big question surround Aaron Brooks in regards to collegiate wrestling is if he’ll be a part of the starting lineup come next November.
With the Olympics coming up next year, and with Brooks’ sky-high potential, who knows what will happen.
All I know is this, when Aaron Brooks hits the mat and the bright lights are shining down, he will always be ready to conquer whatever challenge is in front of him.
Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling
Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling dominated the mat, bringing home the national championship. Celebrate, in this National Champions T-Shirt by Nike.
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About Author

Chris Snyder

Expertise: College Wrestling, College Football, Lays Chips Education: Penn State University Location: State College, PA Even though he had no prior journalism experience, Chris has now covered Penn State Wrestling and Penn State Football for the past three years. And it's clear he also likes constant torture as he's been a PSU Basketball fan for way too long. Several years back, Chris made the seamless transition from PGA Professional to computer programmer and thoroughly enjoys following and writing about all things related to Penn State sports during his spare time.