Utah Valley?!? Yes, Penn State will head across the country to Salt Lake City to battle the Wolverines of Utah Valley Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. local time). It marks the final road dual of the year for Penn State with only a home dual with Pitt left on the regular season schedule.
It may sound like a strange team to schedule but it’s not. Penn State associate head coach Cody Sanderson started the Wolverine program back in 2003 and was the head coach for 3 seasons before joining brother Cael at Iowa State. Scheduling them was most likely a move by the coaching staff to help out a fledgling program. Unlike the world of football where schools never drop the sport, wrestling is always on the chopping block in administrators’ minds thanks to Title IX. There is no women’s wrestling program and wrestling teams don’t make any money so they often fall victim to budget cuts. A major wrestling program like Penn State can help out young programs by bringing them some national attention even if it’s in a small way. Every little bit helps the sport, so good for Penn State.
Match-ups, predictions, and more below.
|Wt.||PSU||vs||Utah Valley (class)|
|125||#8 Nico Megaludis||Colby Christensen (R-Fr.)|
|133||Frank Martellotti||Blake Mangum (R-Fr.)|
|141||Bryan Pearsall||Avery Garner (So.)|
|149||#1 Frank Molinaro||#14 Josh Wilson (Jr.)|
|157||#6 Dylan Alton||Napoleon Aniciete (Fr.)|
|165||#1 David Taylor||Ethan Smith R-(Fr)|
|174||#2 Ed Ruth||Monte Schmalhaus (So.)|
|184||#2 Quentin Wright||David Prieto (R-Fr. )|
|197||#12 Morgan McIntosh||Brian Chamberlain (Fr)|
|285||#6 Cameron Wade||Dustin Dennison (Fr)|
None, this will be the first meeting between the two schools. Utah Valley is sitting at 5-7 but they just got done beating Stanford (25-10) and Cal Poly (19-17), a team that is a traditional wrestling school (UFC champ Chuck Liddell wrestled at Cal-Poly).
While Cody might have had good intentions in scheduling his old school, he really isn’t doing them any favors on the mat. Utah Valley’s only ranked wrestler is #14 Josh Wilson who happens to fall at Frank Molinaro’s weight. I included the class of each Wolverine wrestler because, as you can see, they only have one wrestler that isn’t a sophomore or freshman. This won’t be pretty. I’m talking lock-the-kids-in-another-room kind of ugly. Bryan Pearsall and Frank Martellotti are in a losing funk right now but both of them will most-likely win and win with bonus. Quentin Wright gets a wrestler with only 5 wins all season, and Ed Ruth’s opponent is less than .500. Yeah, this is going to be a sweep.