Penn State had a pretty good first day at the Virginia Duals, they beat Va Tech easily in round 1 before pulling a pretty big upset of Kent State in round 2.
The Va Tech dual got off to a great start, as Pataky avenged his loss from the NLO and dismantled Garnett 12 6. The bout was never in doubt as pataky controlled from start to finish.
The other two lightweights showed signs of life as Pearsall fell behind early before rallying only to fall short 5 3.
Lynch gave tremendous effort in his bout against the 12th ranked wrestler in the country, before losing 9 6. The score doesn't tell the full story though as Lynch was done just one late in the bout and a desperation shot was countered for 2 more points he was right there. He looks much much better than he did at the beginning of the year.
The middle weights and upper weights are really worth talking about much they did what they were supposed to do in beating lesser competition but most of them looked flat and terrible in the process. Especially disappointing was Cyler Sanderson who lost to Jesse Dong on a riding time point after getting ridden for 3:45. It's pretty clear the story is out that he is extremely weak from bottom. Vallimont struggled in 4 -3 win over a mediocre wrestler. Reports were that he's having difficulty making weight again much like last year. They said he has no problems actually getting to weight it's the method in which he does it doesn't allow him time to rehydrate. I really hoped all of this would be over after his bump to 165 last year but it doesn't look like that will be the case.
The Kent State match looked like big trouble for Penn State but things turned in their favor in a hurry. The first two bouts when at as expected with Pataky picking up a win and Pearsall getting majored. The match took a dramatic twist in the final period at 141. Lynch was tied 4 4 going into the final period he was wrestling tough and it coming on strong late in the 2nd which looked good for Penn State. Skonieczny through both legs in and honestly wasn't doing much other than riding parallel, but it was effective as he was able to build riding time up over a minute. A stalemate gave Lynch a chance at a new start. This time knowing the legs were coming he sat back and blocked his hips with his arms. Skonieczny still threw legs in anyway, Lynch then pushed him up with his arms to the point where the kent st wrestler was way to high. It looked like Lynch was going to come out the backdoor for a reversal when Skonieczny made a huge mistake and tried to tilt him for back points instead of cutting his losses. Lynch swam his arms forward and slid out for the reversal, at that point due to the tilt attempt Skonieczny was caught flat on his back and pinned a few seconds later. It was a huge turn for Penn State and a great match for Lynch and Penn State. Who needs Pisani anyway.
The middle weights looked slightly better in the bout. Molinaro fell just short of a major decision which was disappointing, Sanderson bounced back in a big way he got 3 takedowns in the opening 30 seconds against Mallie Shuster. He never slowed down en route to a 19 7 major decision. Vallimont got off to a much better start in this bout and looked more lively on his feet but he slowed terribly in the final period, hopefully that's not a sign of things to come.
The upper weights did what they needed to do and that was basically preserve the lead. Kent State was going to need big bonus points somewhere along the way to pull out the win. Ortega lost a hard fought bout but again showed little to no offense. Erwin got absolutely blitzed by Kilgore in the first period of their bout it looked like Erwin was going to be run out of the gym. Kligore got a big but sloppy 5 point throw in the first 20 seconds but then Erwin slowly started to work his way back into the bout. In fact late in the second this bout was still somewhat in doubt. Truth be told I wasn't all that impressed with Kilgore the big move was nice but it seemed like his plan was to wrestle hard and home for the pin for the first minute because in the final 2 periods he didn't look that good at all. I really have a hard time believing he's a national title contender. For Erwin he needs to learn how to stay out of the big move that's been his problem since he got to Penn State. I think a large part of the problem is he just comes out way to amped up and doesn't wrestle smart. Once he settled down he was able to make it a match with Kilgore and was right there with him. You take away the throw and this is a one point match. I'm not saying Erwin should be top ten but I think the talent is definitely there if he can learn to wrestle the 1st period like he wrestles the last 2 he'll have a shot at being an all american.
Clay Steadman lost in overtime in an extremely mind numbingly boring bout where he showed zero offense all the way through the bout and into overtime where he lost 2 1.
Cameron Wade didn't exactly deliver an outstanding performance but he did pick up what will hopefully be a confidence building win over a ranked opponent.
Today things get exceedingly more difficult for Penn State as they take on #1 seed and 4th ranked Oklahoma State. I thought going in a 3rd or 4th place finish for Penn State would be a good showing since they were seeded 5th that goal is still attainable but they have a lot of work to do. They'll likely lose to Oklahoma State winning this one would be a huge upset much bigger than when they beat them at Oklahoma State several years ago, and I just don't think Penn State has the horses to pick up the pins they got that day. There is no Phil Davis this year to salvage that bout. But after that bout they get the winner of Virginia and Virginia Tech for a shot in the consi finals. That worked out really well for them as I think they can easily beat Va Tech again Virigina is an extremely interesting match up for Penn State since they are strong in the upper weights where Penn State is weak. But first it's Okie State
125 #12 Brad Pataky vs #9 Chris Notte
Pataky has been wrestling extremely tough so far he dominated Garnett who bounced back and won his next match big. I got to see one of Notte's matches yesterday and wasn't too impressed. By the way all they are streaming some of the matches on www.virginiaduals.org for free. I think if Pataky can wrestle like he did yesterday he takes this bout should be a good one.
Pataky by dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs #6 Jordan Oliver
This is where things are going to start turning ugly for Penn State, this is just a complete miss match in every sense of the word. I'm going to be conservative here and say Pearsall avoids huge points but that might even be a stretch.
Oliver by maj dec
141 Adam Lynch vs #7 Jamal Parks
Lynch wrestled extremely well yesterday but he'll be well over his head in this one. My only hope is that he manages to continue wrestling tough and keep it close. Parks seemed to slow in his matches yesterday which could be to Lynch's advantage, of course Parks was well ahead both times he seemed to take his foot off the gas. Parks beat Lynch 13 3 at Reno Lynch seems much better since then, we'll find out quickly if that's the case.
Parks by dec
149 #5 Frank Molinaro vs Quinten Fuentes or Jake Peck
This is the one match where Penn State is a heavy favorite. Molinaro needs to step up big here and get bonus points for Penn State to have any chance of even keeping it close. He had a slow day yesterday I have a feeling he'll bounce back well here. Frank beat Fuentes 6 2 at Reno.
Molinaro by maj dec
157 #2 Cyler Sanderson vs #12 Neil Erisman
This is a match Cyler should win Erisman didn't look overly impressive yesterday but he looked much better than Cyler did in his first match. I expect him to wrestle strong here, he seems to know when to turn it up when the team needs him. I have a crazy hunch he'll win big here but an upset isn't out of the question either, as Erisman won the last time these two wrestled.
Sanderson by maj dec
165 #8 Dan Vallimont vs #14 Alex Meade
These two wrestled a close hard fought match at Reno that Vallimont where Vallimont squeaked out a win. Meade seems to be a good match up for Vallimont as he was able to work his offense from his feet against him. But the way he wrestled yesterday there is just no way I can pick him to win this match.
Meade by dec
174 Justin Ortega vs #14 Mike Benefiel
Benefiel looked pretty awesome yesterday and Ortega not so much. But the one thing about Ortega is every match we'll likely be close since he doesn't score much and doesn't give up many points. I think at most Benefiel picks up a major here, but I'm gonna go with a lopsided 6 or 7 point decision.
Benefiel by dec
184 #14 David Erwin vs Chris Mcneil
This is one of OSU's weaker weights in fact maybe their weakest this is a must win for Penn State bonus points here would be a huge plus. It will be interesting to see how Erwin bounces back from the loss to Kilgore yesterday. In year's past he seemed to go into bad slumps after tough losses, he should be slightly encouraged by the way the bout finished but we'll see. Ortega lost to Mcneil 8 4 at Reno, so I think Erwin at this stage should have a great chance against him. Mcneil wrestled that match at 74 so for once Erwin should be wrestling someone of similar size and build.
Erwin by dec
197 Clay Steaman vs #8 Alan Gelogaev
I have no idea how but Steadman managed to keep it to a 5 2 decision loss at Reno that would be huge if he did it again. But I can't believe that happened it must have been a fluke Gelogaev is pretty tough.
Gelogaev by fall
HWT #18 Cameron Wade vs #2 Jared Rosholt
This one will probably be ugly, the best hope for Penn State is that weight just stalls like crazy and stays off his back. This could and maybe likely will be six for Rosholt, but it's tough to pick to pins back to back against Penn State.
Rosholt by maj dec
Final Score Penn State 14 Oklahoma State 26
Honestly I picked this match in favor of Penn State as much as I could and that's all the closer I got. If Penn State can win a few of the swing bouts like 165 and limit the bonus points they can at least keep it close. But I just can't see a win in this one. This match should go along way to show that while the future is exciting for Penn State there is still a long way to go to be up there with the upper crust of division 1. This match kicks off at 2 with the consi semis to follow at 630 immediately followed by the final round. It will be a long afternoon of wrestling for Penn State.