January 29, 2010

Wrestling Wreport: PSU takes on Iowa and Wisconsin

The Penn State Wrestling team will take the show on the road to No. 1 Iowa tonight at 8 PM and then will face No. 12 Wisconsin Sunday at 2 PM. It's a big weekend for the Nittany Lions as every wrestler, with the lone exception of Cyler Sanderson, will face opponents ranked ahead of them.


You want to know how good the defending national champs are? Iowa has a school record 55 dual meet streak which dates back to January of 2008. The streak ranks as the fourth longest in NCAA Wrestling history. The last time Penn State faced Iowa the Hawkeyes destroyed the Nittany Lions 31-6 at Rec Hall winning 8 of the 10 bouts. Penn State will be heavy underdogs in most of the matches against Iowa. Penn State and Iowa have one common opponent in Rutgers. The Lions squeaked by the Scarlet Knights 18-17 while Iowa killed Rutgers 33-9.

Wisconsin is a little different story Penn State can actually match up well if things go according to plan. Last season and injury riddled Penn State team lost to the Badgers 28-13 at Rec Hall. Penn State has lost 3 in a row to Wisconsin.

Key Matchups

Big weekend for No. 5 Frank Molinaro

While this weekend marks a huge test for most of this PSU team no one will be challenged more than Frank Molinaro. Tonight Frank has the unenviable task of taking on No. 1 Brent Metcalf of Iowa and then facing No. 2 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin on Sunday. Molinaro is up a weight from last year so he has not met either Metcalf or Ruschell previously.

No. 8 Vallimont to face top ranked wrestler

While Molinaro is facing the top two wrestlers in his weight class, Dan Vallimont will also be facing two wrestlers ranked in the top 5. Vallimont will face No. 5 Ryan Morningstar of Iowa and No. 1 Andrew Howe of Wisconsin. In the dual meet last year, Vallimont lost to both wrestlers albeit by a very slim margin. Dan lost to Howe 3-2 and 5-4 to Morningstar the difference coming in a riding time advantage point. Vallimont has faced Morningstar four times and lost twice. In 2008 Dan beat Morningstar in the dual and in the Big Ten Championships only to have the same thing done to him in 2009. Three of the four duals have come down to one point.

Other Matchups

125: No. 12 Brad Pataky (19-5) vs. No. 4 Matt McDonough (22-0) (Iowa) and Drew Hammen (Wisc)

Pataky will have the chance to upset the undefeated freshman McDonough against Iowa. They have one common opponent Vincent Dellefave of Rutgers who Pataky beat 6-3 and McDonough pinned. Against Hammen of Wisconsin, Pataky will need bonus points if Penn State is going to win. Pataky hasn't produced in that department lately, hopefully he'll turn things around this weekend.

133: Bryan Pearsall (3-15) vs. No. 6 Daniel Dennis (10-1) (Iowa) and No. 8 Tyler Graff(Wisc)
141: Adam Lynch (6-9) vs. 5 Montell Marion (14-2) (Iowa) and No. 20 Cole Schmitt (Wisc)

Different week, same story for these guys: stay off your back and limit the damage. It doesn't help that all four opponents are ranked with 3 in the top 10. If Pearsall and Lynch can only surrender majors it will be a victory for Penn State.

157: No. 5 Cyler Sanderson (21-2) vs. Jake Kerr (6-6) (Iowa) and Greg Burke (Wisc)

Unfortunately Penn State's most seasoned veteran gets two easy matches this weekend. As far as the team is concerned Sanderson needs bonus points in both matches but particularly in the Wisconsin dual. If Penn State is going to beat Wisconsin Sanderson will need at least a major and hopefully more.

174 Justin Ortega (6-12) vs. No. 2 Jay Borschel (21-0) (Iowa) and Jimmy Duffy (Wisc)

As was the case for Pearsall and Lynch, Ortega just needs to stay off his back and minimize damage against Borschel. Ortega didn't wrestle particularly well last week at home, he'll have to be significantly better on the road. The Duffy match is a very winnable one for Ortega and the dual might even come down to it, let's hope Ortega is up to it.

184: No. 13 David Erwin (20-6) vs. No. 7 Phil Keddy (16-5) (Iowa) and 16 Travis Rutt (Wisc)

Erwin has a real shot at winning both of these matches. The Iowa dual will be all but decided by this point so Erwin can concentrate on bettering his Big Ten resume. The Rutt match is a must win because every match in that dual will go a long way on deciding the victorious team.

197: Clay Steadman (8-8) or David Crowell (17-10) vs. Luke Lofthouse (14-11) (Iowa) and No. 8 Trevor Brandvold (Wisc)

The Lions catch a break as Chad Beatty is on the shelf for Iowa but that doesn't mean a 'W' for PSU. Whoever wrestles for Penn State will have a real shot at Lofthouse. Sanderson hasn't tipped his hand yet as to who he will send out but it really doesn't matter either wrestler will struggle as they have all year. The Brandvold match, again, must be kept close without giving up a pin or Tech Fall.

285: No. 11 Cameron Wade(14-5) vs. No. 9 Dan Erekson(1-0) (Iowa) and Eric Bugenhagen (Wisc)

Erekson is coming back from an injury so Wade is getting him at a time when he may not be in the best shape. If Cameron can stay aggressive and take the match to Erekson he may wear him down by the third. I'm not holding my breath though it will probably be the same 3-2 grinder that we're so used to from Wade. The Wisconsin match may come down to Heavyweight, I would love to see Wade score a major or better against Bugenhagen.


Penn State is a year or so away from competing on the same level as Iowa, they'll get there just not this season. The best possible scenario is that Penn State's ranked contingent wrestles hard, and gets experience for the Big Ten Championship Tournament later in March. The Wisconsin match is a very winnable one, Penn State matches up well. The same things can be said this week that were said last week: limit the damage when hopelessly outmatched and get as many bonus points when they have the advantage.

Iowa Final: 28-7 Iowa
Wisconsin Final: 19 - 17 Wisconsin

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