Penn State wrestling begins again. Jeff "Ironhead" Byers' gravelly voice keeps us entertained as the 3-time defending National Champion Nittany Lions travel east on I-80 for a pair of duals, visiting Rider and Lehigh. Let's look at the matchups.
at Rider (Saturday, 4pm)
#3 Jr Nico Megaluds (Franklin Regional) vs. #17 So Rob Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Rob wrestled for Old Dominion last season, and qualified for the NCAA tournament, where he went 0 - 2. Sorry, Rob, but someone has to pay for Nico's loss to Nahshon Garrett Sunday, and it looks like you're it.
Line: Nico minus 8.5
#12-16 So Jordan Conaway (New Oxford) OR Fr Jimmy Gulibon (Derry) vs. UR Jr Chuck Zeisloft (Woodbury Heights, NJ)
We'll all be tuned into this one, won't we? Who does Cael run out to the center of the mat for this one? Despite Jordan's overtime win against Jimmy at the Binghamton Open, I think Cael puts Jimmy on the mat against Zeisloft. Zeisloft is not a tomato can. He went 21-13 as a true sophomore in 2011/12, just missing the NCAA tournament. He took a redshirt last season for injury, and has had a rough start to his season this year, going 1-2 in duals with a 2-13 major loss to Nick Soto of Chattanooga.
Line: Jimmy minus 7.5 / Jordan minus 5.5
So Zach Beitz (Juniata) OR Fr Zain Retherford (Benton) vs. Fr Paul Kirchner (Somerville, NJ)
And we'll all be tuned into this one, won't we? If Cael puts true frosh Zain Retherford out there, then we already know that the phenom won't be redshirting. I don't think Cael tips his hand that early.
However, beware Paul Kirchner - this dude can wrestle. He's 2-1 this year, with a 4-0 win over Tyler Small (Kent State), who is no joke. His loss was a close 3-6 decision to #13 Chris Mecate of ODU.
Line: Zach plus 1.5
Sr Jim English (Central York) vs. So Curt Delia (Mullica Hill, NJ)
We'll see how badly injured Jim was from the Binghamton Open, when he withdrew after a win in the quarterfinals. Hopefully it was nothing serious, as he'll get a stiff test from sophomore Delia, who racked up 19 wins last year as a frosh.
Line: Jim minus 4.5
Sr Jimmy Vollrath (Council Rock South) vs. Fr Wayne Stinson (Wrightstown, NJ)
The Rath of Voll shows off some offense against the true frosh Stinson (no relation to Hank, that I can tell).
Line: Jim minus 12.5
Hang on, folks. Things are about to get ugly.
Sr #1 David Taylor (St. Paris Graham) vs. Sr #14 Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, NJ)
Rider's best wrestler just happens to go against the Magic Man. Last year at Rec Hall, Santiago scored the first takedown - and then was pinned in 3:48. He qualified for Nationals, and went 1-2.
Line: Taylor by Fall in less than 6 minutes
Jr #3 Matt Brown (West Valley City, UT) vs. Fr Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ)
Conor Brennan redshirted last season, going 15-9 unattached. Conor, meet Hulk Hands.
Line: Brown by Fall in less than 5 minutes
Sr #1 Ed Ruth (Susquehanna Twnshp) vs. Jr Clint Morrison (Cedar Cliff)
We have a District III showdown!
Line: So Fresh, So Clean by Fall in less than 5 minutes
So #4 Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, CA) vs. Sr Don McNeill (Plainville, MA)
McNeil went 21-17 last year, including a 12-4 major loss to Quentin Wright at Rec Hall, and a 7-3 loss to Quentin at NCAAs.
Line: Morg minus 5.5
Jr #10 Jimmy Lawson (Toms River, NJ) vs. So Greg Velasco (Union Beach, NJ)
Jimmy beat Greg at Rec Hall last year, 3-0. Let's see if Jimmy's improved conditioning results in a little more offense.
Line: Jimmy minus 3.5
Overall at Rider
I have Rider favored in just one match - 141 lbs - and that's only if Zain sits. Looks like a 37-3 type of start to the dual season.
Line: Penn State minus 34
at Lehigh (Sunday, 3pm)
Pat Santoro used a lot of redshirts last season. The Mountain Hawks are young but very talented. Inexplicably, they lost to Bucknell in their first dual of the season, 18-17 on 2nd criteria.
This is an historic in-state rivalry. The first meeting between the two schools occurred in 1911. Sunday's dual will be the 102nd meeting, with Penn State holding a 64-34-3 advantage. Penn State has taken the last 3 straight from Lehigh, but dropped the 2 prior to that.
Nico vs. Fr Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic)
Darian is a very talented true frosh. He'll be getting an education.
Line: Nico minus 10
Jordan OR Jimmy vs. So #6 Mason Beckman (Reynolds)
Somewhere in his redshirt season last year the light came on for Mason Beckman, and he's been murdering fools on the mat. That includes 4 wins over Mr. Gulibon last season. Beckman wrestled at the NWCA All Star meet, and took out last year's 4th place finisher AJ Schopp 5-1.
Line: Our guy plus 4.5
Zach or Zain vs. So Laike Gardner (Biglerville)
Laike's a true sophomore, and a former PIAA State Champ (which you can say about almost everyone on both sides of this card). He won't dazzle you with tons of offense, but he's tough and off to a great start this season, at 6-0.
Line: Pick 'em
Jim vs. Fr Mitch Minotti (Easton)
Mitch isn't ranked - yet. I'm pretty certain he will be before too much longer. He redshirted last season and placed 1st at the National Collegiate Open, with teammate Beckman.
Line: Jim plus 2
Rath of Voll vs. Sr #9 Joey Napoli (Cumberland Valley)
Napoli took the 3rd seed at NCAAs last year - and then went 0 - 2, crashing and burning in a disastrous way. Makes you think injury. He's back for his last go-round.
Line: Jim plus 3.5
You're reading that correctly - Penn State is favored in just 1 of the first 5 matches against the guys in brown singlets.
Taylor vs. Fr Brian Brill (Central Mountain)
Brian's redshirt season was cut short by injury. His match with Taylor will be cut short by pinfall.
Line: Taylor by fall in less than 6 minutes
Hulk Hands vs. Fr. Elliot Riddick (Bethlehem Catholic)
Elliot took 1st place at the National Collegiate Open as a true frosh last year.
Line: Brown minus 12
Ed vs. Sr Austin Meys (Clifton Park, NY)
I thought we'd see Nathaniel Brown here, but it looks like he might be redshirting. In his place is Austin Meys. Meys was the 11-seed two years ago at 174, and has battled back from injury to return to the mat as a senior. Unfortunately, he draws Ed Ruth. Lehigh could run Dengue Fever out there at 184, and it wouldn't much matter.
Line: Ed minus 14.5
Morg vs. So John Bolich (Upper Moreland)
Bolich went 15-14 last season, placing 5th at EIWAs, one spot short of qualifying for NCAAs. He lost to Quentin last year 10-4.
Line: Morg minus 5
Jimmy vs. So Max Wessell (Boulder, CO)
I thought we'd see Jack Delia or Doug Vollaro here, but Santoro's put Wessell in the lineup early this season. Wessell started last season at 197 before taking the 285 spot.
Line: Jimmy minus 2.5
Overall at Lehigh
Let's see....6 favorites, 3 dogs, and a pick 'em. 25-14 is about right.
Line: Penn State minus 11
More from Black Shoe Diaries:
- BSD Mailbag 11.12.13
- LET'S TALK WRESTLIN': BHGP and BSD Preview the 2013-2014 Season (Part 2)
- MMQB: What Will Penn State's Record Be?
- BSD MVP Week 11 - Zach Zwinak
- Penn State Dominates Binghamton Open
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