Penn State got the season started with a bang this weekend. Starting with a 41 3 beat down of over matched Bloomsburg. Sunday was much closer but Penn State was able to avenge last season's defeat to in state rival Lehigh 21 17. Overall it was a great start to the season for the team with only a few negatives to take away from the weekend. The freshman all got out to great starts including some big bonus points that keyed in the win on Sunday.
Penn State 41 Bloomsburg 3
I won't spend too much time on this match because it's clear it was a huge mismatch. But give credit to the young guys who picked up huge bonus points. The team as a whole looked incredibly aggressive and confident. Of course the one loss came at 197 where Justin Ortega appears in mid-season form from last year which is not a good thing. There's no doubt it's possible to be a defensive wrestler and still be successful. Take Ryan Morningstar from Iowa for example he was very skilled at turning other people's moves to into points for himself. But Ortega is not the good type of defensive. He's not scoring points off his defense, or in general for that matter.
Penn State 21 Lehigh 17
Things were much tighter as expected on Sunday, and as mentioned in my preview it came down to bonus points. The bouts were split at five a piece but Penn State got the edge on their 2 pins as opposed to two major decisions for Lehigh.
125: Solid win for Martellotti against a pretty tough opponent. It's easy to point at the two pins as the reason Penn State won but had Penn State not picked up decisions at 125 and 165 this would have been a loss. After watching two matches it's clear to me Pataky will be the starter when he returns but Martellotti has a bright future at Penn State and I wouldn't mind seeing him move up to 133 when Pataky returns.
133: Bryan Pearsall got a big pin on Friday to get things rolling for Penn State, Sunday it was a different tune. Pearsall was pretty much completely dominated by a good but not great(at this point) wrestler. I do think Pearsall has improved some from last year, but I still feel he has a way to go before being a solid contributor on this team.
141: What can you say other than wow. If you haven't checked out the video of Alton's pin in the Lehigh match in the fanshots do yourself a favor and take a look, and if you have watch it again because it's that good. That is one of the slickest set ups to a headlock you will ever see. If you want to find one negative from Andrew's weekend he did get a bit sloppy earlier in the match and gave up a reversal. Nit picking to be sure but against a better wrestler those would be big points. I'm excited to see Andrew get to wrestle a solid college opponent but for now I'll enjoy two pins in two matches.
149: James English filled in admirably for Frank Molinaro this weekend, he got a solid win on Friday and took a tough decision loss to a very good Joey Napoli from Lehigh. These guys we're very close in high school in terms of results and that still seems to be the case in college. English is a solid wrestler but it's clear it will be a big boost to this team to get Frank back, possibly as early as this weekend. This weekend features several matchups against top guys at 149 so hopefully we'll get to see Frank in at least one of them.
157: Another case of what can you say other than wow. Bilodeau is a tough wrestler although he can get rather careless and get caught as was the case against Taylor. Great start for the "Magic Man" though, it's easy to see why there was so much hype around this kid. Like Alton now that I've seen what he can do I'm eagerly looking forward to see him take on a top ranked guy.
165: This was the other weight that really swung the match in Penn State's favor. I think everyone knows Kemerer has potential to be a very good middle weight for Penn State this year and he proved that on Sunday. It's pretty clear from both of his matches this year that he's not the most offensive guy in the world and most of his matches will be close, but the good ones have a knack for finding a way to win and Jake seems to have that. His win over Hatchett reminds me a lot of Quentin Wright's win over Alton Lucas two years to start the year, not saying he'll be another Quentin but I see good things for Jake this year.
174: Meys is a tough wrestler so this was a good win for Ruth, even if it wasn't as eye popping as some of the other freshmen. Although I'm not sure what was up with Meys constantly trying that 3/4 nelson from neutral I can't see that working out against many guys in college. The thing I liked about Ruth was he was aggressive from start to finish. With just a two point lead he could have been defensive and stalled to end the match and instead he went after Meys looking for more points and keeping Meys from getting on the board. It's easy to see why Cael likes this kid so much.
184: What is up with Quentin Wright, maybe too much time wrestling Justin Ortega? Wright looked absolutely lethargic in his loss to Hamlin on Sunday. Give credit to Hamlin who is a good wrestler, he took it to Quentin in that match from start to finish, he was clearly the aggressor throughout. I'm not too worried about Quentin, I have to imagine he was ill or something as that match was so out of character for him. I have not doubts he'll bounce back soon. Although I will say I wish we could see more leg attacks and less of the over under ties and body locks in the future. Wright has a good double leg and I think it could be a huge weapon at this weight if he used it more often.
197: As mentioned before ugh, Ortega hasn't changed at all from last season. He continues to not attempt anything offensively in his matches. And worse yet defensively he's not getting it done either. This weight is going to continue to be a problem for the immediate future. I don't think Ruggear is the solution as I think he could probably use a red shirt year. I have no idea when Clay Steadman will be returning for Penn State but that is the only hope fro at least a small improvement this year.
Hwt: Disappointing loss for Cameron Wade, any time you can take the #1 guy to overtime I guess you should be somewhat happy, but I have a feeling the coaching staff won't be too happy with this loss. He gave up all four points Rey scored by being incredibly sloppy from the top position which is normally his strong suit. And where is the offense, the same could be said for Rey, neither guy really attempted much of anything over the course of the very long boring match. We continually hear that this is the year Wade turns the corner, but when it comes to the matches he's same timid Wade we've seen for two years. The only bit of aggression we saw was when Wade shoved Rey into the scorer's table, would be nice to see some of that aggression used for actual wrestling.
Overall it's a good start to be sure, but remember this is the end of the November we have a long way to go before March. This weekend will provide two more tuneups against Harvard and West Viriginia, and what could be a tight dual against transfer heavy Rutgers. It looks like Molinaro could be back for at least a match or two this weekend. I'm sure many fans are excited to see this team with both Molinaro and Pataky back in the lineup but it could be awhile before we see that.
In ex-Penn Stater news Bubba Jenkins lost to a kid from the NAIA this weekend, after completely gassing and hanging on for a win in a match he should have lost against Grand Canyon State. It will be really interesting to see if David Taylor will get a shot at him at the Virginia Duals.