I apologize for the lack of updates the past few weeks, but a lot has happened in my abscense. We'll start with the bad news returning All American Quentin Wright was injured in the finals at the Nittany Lion Open. He'll miss 5 - 8 weeks with a should injury but should return in time for the post season. This is the third big starter Penn State has lost this year. This loss will open a big hole in the lineup for Penn State as Andrew Church and Justin Ortega will likely be forced into the lineup to fill the void.
As for the good news word came out yesterday that Andrew Long has announced that he plans to transfer to Penn State in January. Long is the returning NCAA runner up from last season at 125, wrestling for Iowa State. Due to his release from Iowa State this summer due to disciplinary problems he'll be eligible to start wrestling. This is a big boost for Penn State at one of their weaker weight class. If Long is anywhere close to his level last year Penn State immediately has an All American threat at a weight where they were expected to get very few points at nationals. If Wright is able to return at 100% in time for Nationals Penn State has become a very legitimate National title contender.
On the mats the wrestling team has continued to roll the past few weeks. They went 3 - 0 in dominating fashion at the Sprawl and Brawl duals. James English had a huge day beating two ranked wrestlers before giving way to Frank Molinaro in the final match of the day. Frank Martellotti continued to impress with 3 0 day at 125. And Nick Ruggear made a successful debut at 197 replacing Justin Ortega and going 2 - 1 on the day. As usual Alton, Taylor, and Ruth continued to put up big bonus points for the Nittany Lions.
The team followed that up with an impressive showing at the Nittany Lion opening crowning 4 champions and had 4 second place finishers. Martellotti, Alton, Taylor and Wade all took home titles. Taylor got a huge win in the finals against Jesse Dong who was ranked as high as fifth last year and had a win over Cyler Sanderson. Wade had a great tournament with a pin, 3 tech falls and a major decision. The competition was limited but it was great to see Wade crank up the offense hopefully this gives him some much needed confidence for future big name opponents. Ruth lost a tough finals bout to Mike Letts from Maryland, I believe Letts is a dark horse to win the National Title this year so I wouldn't get too down on Ruth, and I expect he'll bounce back fine after his first loss. Frank Molinaro lost an overtime bout with Mario Mason in a rematch from their close Sprawl and Brawl duals match. Frank struggled against Mason in the duals and doesn't appear 100% at this point. I wouldn't be too concerned at this point as Frank works back from an ankle injury, and will likely need a few weeks to get his condition back to where it should be.
This week the Nittany Lions have their annual match up with neighbor Lock Haven as in years past this will likely be a quick easy win for Penn State.
#5 Penn State vs Lock Haven
125 #18 Frank Martellotti vs Nick Hyatt
Martellotti has been stellar the past few weeks and now finds himself ranked 18th in the country. He'll get a small test from Hyatt who was a solid but not great high school wrestler at Boyertown.
Martellotti by dec
133 Bryan Pearsall vs #18 John Trumbetti
Trumbetti is Lock Haven's only ranked wrestler and he happens to fall at one of Penn State's weakest weights. John won the EWL last year and was an NCAA qualifier he should beat Pearsall, although it's worth noting he lost his last match Thursday night against Ohio.
Trumbetti by dec
141 #10 Andrew Alton vs Justin Loudon
A lot of people are interested in seeing Andrew get a tough test in his Penn State career unfortunately that will have to wait at least one more week. Alton should have no problems with Loudon.
Alton by fall
149 #6 Frank Molinaro vs Owen Wilkinson
Frank has fallen to number six this week after his close over time rematch loss to Mason in the Nittany Lion Open final. He should bounce back nicely against Wilkinson who is a senior with no real notable accomplishments at this point in his Lock Haven career.
Molinaro by maj dec
157 #3 David Taylor vs Seth Creasy
The magic man has lived up to his name and he rises to number three this week after his impressive win over Jesse Dong in the NLO finals. He has stamped himself as a National Title contender in a wide open 157 pound field. Creasy comes in after posting an 8 - 21 record last season at 157, yikes.
Taylor by tech fall
165 Jake Kemerer vs Colton Spade
Jake drops from the rankings after not placing at the Nittany Lion open. I still think Jake is more than capable of being an all american this season for the Penn State. I think he'll bounce back nicely this week against Spade who comes to Lock Haven as a three time PA state qualifier. I'd like to see Jake open up the offense and get a little more aggressive as he certainly has the talent to beat a lot of people.
Kemerer by dec
174 #12 Ed Ruth vs Mike Khoury
Ruth will get a chance to bounce back after his first loss of the season to Mike Letts last Sunday. He should have no problems with Khoury who has built up a decent record to start the year but doesn't have a very notable high school history.
Ruth by maj dec
184 Andrew Church vs Jacob Bachman
Church will make his first start for Penn State in place of the injured Quentin Wright, he comes in with a 500 record in open tournaments. I don't want to get down on the freshman but he will be a big step down from Wright. He'll take on fellow redshirt freshman Jacob Bachman who moves down from 197. This is probably the one true toss up bout in this dual other than Pearsall at 133, which should tell you something about the quality of this match. In the battle of two fairly even wrestlers I'll take the size of Bachman over Church who moves up from 174.
Bachman by dec
197 Nick Ruggear vs Travis Stern
Ruggear has done well since moving into the starting line up going 2 - 1 at the Sprawl and Brawl duals and following that up with a 7th place finish at the Nittany Lion open. During the NLO he did lose to teammate Justin Ortega so there is a chance we see Ortega back in the starting lineup. Neither guy should have a problem with Stern.
Ruggear by dec
Hwt #6 Cameron Wade vs Harry Turner
Wade is coming off a great tournament last Sunday where he practically displayed more offense than he's had the entire rest of his career at Penn State. Turner is moving from a 197 and had a mediocre campaign last year. He has built up a decent early season record against limited competition. Wade with his new found offense output should win easily.
Wade by maj dec
Final Score Penn State 32 Lock Haven 6
Again Penn State should take this one easily, things will get a tad more exciting starting next week with the Big Ten opener against Ohio State.