This weekend, the Penn State bus will head east on I-80, passing through the heart of District 11 on its way to New Brunswick, NJ, for a dual meet against future Big Ten foe Rutgers. Ed Ruth will waive to Blair Acadamy once the bus crosses state lines. But other than that, none of the Penn State travel squad will pass by its old stomping grounds. And how strange is that? Easton, Nazareth, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic - all shut out from the current lineup.
If those high school wrestlers aren't too busy preparing for districts, then maybe they could drive east to New Brunswick to watch a beat down of epic proportions. Although Rutgers is a very good squad with five seniors in the lineup and one Frank the Tank as an assistant coach, they don't match up very well with this Penn State squad. So Sunday at 1pm could be PSU's 5th shut out on the season.
#2 Nico Megaludis vs. #23 (SR) Joey Langel - Langel is 20-6 on the season and is likely to qualify for NCAA's. This is what a first or second round match might look like for Nico come March. Bonus would be nice.
Line: Nico minus 8
#14 Jordan Conaway vs. #22 (JR) Vinnie Dellafave - Vinnie is 21-8, so this should be a good battle for Conaway. But remember when we wondered if PSU would qualify this weight for Nationals? In the recent Coaches Poll and RPI, Conaway comes in at #16 (Coaches) and #8 (RPI). You read that correctly: #8 RPI. Win this match and Conaway could go 0-2 at Big Tens and still make the NCAA's.
Line: Conaway minus 4.5
141 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
#22 Bryan Pearsall vs. #23 (SR) Trevor Melde - Melde, a former NCAA qualifer, is 17-8 in his last year, with losses to #12 Pennessi and Nebraska's Ridge Kiley, both of whom Pearsall has beaten this season. Pearsall's RPI is #18 - a win here against Melde would go a long way to securing that trip to Des Moines in March.
Line: Pearsall minus 1
#10 Andrew Alton vs. UR (FR) Ken Theobold - Theobold is 14-10 with a 2-7 loss to Nebraska's Sueflohn. Alton's ranked tenth by the coaches, but has the #4 RPI. I'm hoping we see more super ducks and high crotches out of Andrew, and less beastly muscle-man throws. High crotches aren't as cool, but they win matches. Just ask that Molinaro guy on the opposing side.
Line: Alton by fall
#5 Dylan Alton vs. #23 (SR) Scott Winston - Winston took 3rd at the NLO but didn't face Alton there. Whenever Winston's faced the top tier at this weight - Napoli, Fleming, Peppelman - he's lost.
Line: Alton minus 3.5
#2 Magic Man vs. #29 (SO) Nick Visicaro - the Magic Man gave up a takedown last Sunday. Can you believe that? Then he pinned the guy.
Line: Taylor minus 15
174 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
#6 Matt Brown vs. #15 (SR) Greg Zannetti - this is a rematch from the NLO semi-finals, which Brown won 7-4. Should be a good indicator of how Brown has progressed this season.
Line: Brown minus 4.5
#1 So Fresh, So Clean vs. #10 Dan Rinaldi - Rinaldi is 24-3 on the year. He finished 3rd at the NLO, losing to Maryland's (and Northampton's) Jimmy Sheptock in the semis. Rinaldi's other two losses were to Nebraska's Ihnen and Lehigh's Vermonster. Yes, it's the best match-up in this dual as far as rankings. And yes, Rinaldi's good enough to be a quarterfinal or even semi-final match-up at NCAA's. But Ed's so good it's a yawner.
Line: Ruth minus 9.5
#2 Quentin Wright vs. UR (JR) Dan Seidenberg - Seidenberg is 7-10 on the year, but he hasn't been pinned or tech falled. From his score sheet, we should expect a really boring match. On the other hand, he hasn't faced the artistry of Q. We haven't seen a Peterson from Q this season. I can't even remember the last time I've seen that used at the college level. Which is precisely why I'm calling for it in this one.
Line: Wright minus 8.5
#15 Jimmy Lawson vs. #21 (FR) Billy Smith - Smith is 28-5, but did not place at the NLO. He dropped a 2-3 decision to PSU's Jon Gingrich. He also sports a 5-6 loss to Arizona State's Levi Cooper. Lawson may not have the 17 matches required for an RPI ranking. But Gingrich does - and his RPI is an incredible #5. I wonder how that all works out come March.
Line: Lawson minus 3.5
Rutgers is probably a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten squad right now, a full rung below Nebraska. That spells big trouble for the Scarlet Knights. If they don't wrestle with passion at every weight, they could easily get shut out at home.
Line: Penn State minus 37
The $10/month PSU All-Access has been spotty at best this season. But SWHA hasn't let you down once this season, even when the opponent was lowly Rider. Be on the look out for his open thread on Sunday for the last dual of the year.
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