January 20, 2010

Wrestling Wreport: Illinois Preview

No. 13 PSU (8-3-1) vs. No. 19 Illinois (5-3)

7 pm, Friday Jan. 22 at Rec Hall


There's been a mix of good and bad news for the Penn State Wrestling team of late. 133-pounder Tyler Saltsman informed coaches he was leaving the team on Jan. 14th.

Saltsman said he was unhappy because he wasn't given a chance to compete at the 133-pound weight class in recent dual meets.

Saltsman said the coaches told him he'd get an opportunity to compete at the Jan. 8-9 Virginia Duals, but instead watched as Pearsall compiled an 0-4 record while competing in each bout.

Saltsman's leaves PSU with a 3-5 record and incredibly thin at 133 as Bryan Pearsall is pretty much it from this point forward.

The good news is Penn State has signed another state champ. Eastern wrestler Hank Stinson committed to attend Penn State on scholarship Jan. 17th. Stinson was a 2008 state champ but missed most of last season with an injury. The money sound bite:

"It's just the perfect combination," Stinson said. "It's a great coach, and it's driving distance and my parents came come up and watch me wrestle."


Illinois has a 9-2 record all-time against Penn State but more importantly the Fighting Illini have pwned PSU since the Lions joined the Big Ten going a perfect 8-0. The last time these two teams met No. 15 Illinois upset No. 8 Penn State 18-15 Feb. 3, 2008 at Huff Hall (Illinois). The only common opponent is Pitt who PSU tied 18-18 and Illinois lost to 15-18.


184: #2 John Dergo (ILL) (20-2) vs. # 12David Erwin (PSU) (19-5)

Erwin has come on since moving up to 184 and lately had an impressive win over No. 9 Clayton Foster (9-3) in the Virginia Duals. Erwin will have to be sharp because John Dergo has been a buzz saw. Dergo's two losses on the season have come at the hands of wrestlers ranked in the top 7 and he's beaten the #1, #2, and #3 ranked wrestlers. In the Midlands tournament Dergo beat three consecutive two-time All-Americans to claim the title. This will be a litmus test for Erwin.

141: #20 Eric Terrazas (ILL) (11-0) vs.#5 Frank Molinaro (21-1)

Despite his undefeated record, Eric Terrazas has yet to face a ranked opponent while Frank has beaten #7 Jason Chamberlain 3-1 at Reno. Their one common opponent, Brandon Weist of Missouri, Frank beat 6-1 and Terrazas won 4-2. Frank is coming off a 2-5 loss to #4 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma and hopefully is looking to redeem himself and this match could be key. On paper it's against a ranked opponent but if Frank can wrestle aggressively like he has in the past he should win and could possibly give PSU bonus points.


Wt: Illinois vs. Penn State

125: John Deneen (6-6) vs. #12 Brad Pataky (17-5)

Pataky has come out quick in matches like this and he has a big advantage here. Brad has to be thinking about scoring as many bonus points as he can get with the goal of a pin or technical fall. Anything less than a major is unacceptable if PSU is going to win.

-Major Advantage Pataky

133: Daryl Thomas (12-9) vs. 133 Bryan Pearsall (2-14)

Although Sanderson has said Pearsall has been wrestling better and better, from what I've witnessed he's not ready to beat a wrestler with a winning record. Pearsall went 0-4 in the Virginia Duals and was pinned in his last match. On the season Pearsall has been pinned twice and one of his wins was by default. He's kept it close to wrestlers with Thomas' ability and that's all Penn State fans can hope: keep it close and no bonus points.

-Advantage Thomas

141: #11 Ryan Prater (9-4) vs. Adam Lynch (5-8)

A key match for Illinois, as was the case for Pataky for Penn State, Prater must get bonus points. That means Lynch must stay off his back and keep it close. Adam has been so inconsistent this season it's hard to get a read. He was pinned by #4 Jamal Parks and #18 Seth Ciasulli but kept it close to #12 Chris Diaz. Lynch must wrestle smart and give up no more than a major.

-Major Advantage+ Prater

157: Conrad Polz (12-9) vs. #5 Cyler Sanderson (19-2)

Another chance for Penn State to get bonus points this is about as much of a sure thing as PSU will get. In his last 12 bouts, Sanderson has faced 5 ranked wrestlers. Of the other 7 unranked wrestlers Sanderson has faced, 2 ended in majors, 4 ended in technical falls, and 1 ended in a fall (read: we're getting bonus here and possibly big bonus).

-Major Advantage+ Sanderson

165: Joe Barczak (10-6) vs. #8 Dan Vallimont (18-3)

Another chance for bonus points Vallimont will need at least a major. Unlike Sanderson though, Vallimont hasn't been producing bonus points lately. Since the Nittany Lion Open Vallimont has only registered 1 Fall, 1 TF, and 1 major while only wrestling 4 ranked opponents in 11 bouts. Anything less than a major could hurt PSU.

-Major Advantage Vallimont

174: #14 Jordan Blanton (12-3) vs. Justin Ortega (6-10)

The next two bouts could make or break Penn State's chances and it starts with Ortega. Justin has done a decent job of staying off his back although he did give up a tech fall. Against the three ranked opponents he's face though, he's given up the aforementioned Tech Fall but kept it close to #12 David Craig (1-3) and in his last match against #8 Jeff James he lost 1-2 in a tie breaker.

-Major Advantage Blanton

197: #10 Patrick Bond (14-8) vs. Clay Steadman (8-7)

Unlike Ortega, Steadman hasn't had the close matches against ranked opponents. His best finish was a 2-5 loss to #8 Alan Gelogear but he was pinned by #16 Lamar Brown and recently #3 Eric Lapotsky. Depending on how the dual is going, this could be a spot to put in Pitt transfer David Crowell who has been pushing Steadman for the starting spot.

-Major Advantage+ Bond… Patrick Bond

Kinda like this, x3 periods
Hwt: Marty Smith (10-9) vs. So.#11 Cameron Wade (12-5)
OR Pat Walker (10-11)

If the match does come down to 285, Wade may need to step up. Most of Wade's matches against good competition have been slow boring two-bears-hugging-each-other snoozefests.

Having said that, when he's aggressive good things happen: Cameron has 4 falls and 3 tech falls against unranked opponents. If the match comes down to Cameron vs. the dreaded "or" match, hopefully Wade comes out with aggression on his mind. Maybe he could think of his opponent as a pile of day old donuts… bears like that.


On paper this looks like a 5-5 dual and you know what that means: bonus points will probably decide it. Lynch, Steadman, and Ortega have to stay off their backs while Wade, Sanderson, and Pataky have to go for all they can. This match could go either way but I think Penn State has the advantage coming off a week of rest while Illinois was getting pummeled by #2 Iowa State 33-9 last Saturday.

Final Score: PSU 23 - Illinois 21

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