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Wrestling Preview: No. 4 Penn State at Army

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WRESTLING SEASON IS BACK!

2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

Army wrestled in the Southeast Open last weekend, with one winner each in the regular and freshman/sophomore tournaments. Their rewards were higher rankings for a number of their wrestlers (four are ranked, though only three are in the projected lineup tonight) - and Penn State coming to town.

It’s been fourteen years since the Nittany Lions wrestled Army, and that was at a dual tournament in 2002. They haven’t visited West Point since 1976.

How To Watch

What: #4 Penn State at Army West Point

Where: Christl Arena, West Point, NY

When: Friday, 11/11, 8 pm ET

Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: $6.95, via Army’s “Knight Vision”

Projected Lineups

No. 4 Penn State WT Army West Point

#12 - Nick Suriano (Fr., Paramus, NJ)

125

UR - Trey Chalifoux (Fr., Nashville, TN)

#9 - Jered Cortez (So., Carol Stream, IL)

133

UR - Austin Harry (So., Harvey's Lake, PA)

#12 - Jimmy Gulibon (Sr., Latrobe, PA)

141

#17 - Logan Everett (Sr., Tioga, PA)

#1 - Zain Retherford (Jr., Benton, PA)

149

UR - Matt Kelly (Jr., Damascus, MD)

#1 - Jason Nolf (So., Yatesboro, PA)

157

#14 - Russ Parsons (Sr., Clinton, NJ)

#8 - Vincenzo Joseph (Fr., Pittsburgh, PA)

165

UR - Andrew Mendel (Jr., Mason, OH)

UR - Geno Morelli (Sr., DuBois, PA)

174

UR - Ben Harvey (Fr., New Palestine, IN)

OR UR - Jack Wedholm (Jr., Blairstown, NJ)

#3 - Bo Nickal (So., Allen, TX)

184

UR - Samson Imonode (Sr., Phoenix, AZ)

#16 - Matt McCutcheon (Jr., Apollo, PA)

OR UR Anthony Cassar (Fr., Rocky Hill, NJ)

197

#11 - Rocco Caywood (So., Perrysburg, OH)

#14 - Nick Nevills (So., Clovis, CA)

285

UR - Trevor Smith (Sr., Ripon, CA)

OR UR - David Farr (Sr., Cornwall, NY)

125 LBS

This start is all about Nick Suriano. Cael Sanderson talked him up in wrestling media days, about how hard he worked and how he had to be forced to leave the wrestling room. How does he adapt to the pressures of a road opening match? He’s facing another freshman, which helps, and I’m betting he’ll be focused and determined and attacking to the bitter end.

Prediction: Nick by Major

Score: PSU 4, Army 0

133 LBS

Cortez hasn’t been able to wrestle attached at the collegiate level since redshirting at Illinois and then transferring to Happy Valley. This’ll be his first time, and with a top ten ranking to boot. His opponent in this first dual is also a fellow freshman, but he’ll be overmatched by a lot in this one.

Prediction: Jered by Major

Score: PSU 8, Army 0

141 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

Army’s Everett beat then-#5 Joey Ward of UNC last week before falling to Princeton’s Matt Kolodzik (ranked #11) in the finals. He’s dangerous, and how Jimmy comes out in this season-opener could set the tone for his entire season campaign, and whether he’ll make the podium or bow out early like last year. He’s got the talent and the tools, but he needs to prove that he has the mentality.

Prediction: Gulibon by decision

Score: PSU 11, Army 0

149 LBS

It’s that time of year again. Time for...

Retherford’s first victim this year comes from 10 minutes away from my mother’s house. That helps him exactly none today.

Prediction: Zain by fall. Because he’s Zain, and it’s been a while since he’s had competition.

Score: PSU 17, Army 0

157 LBS

Jason is unhappy he lost last year’s final, but it was to IMar - and IMar’s no longer at this weight. Look for Zain-like dominance out of the sophomore this year; I’m not expecting a pin, because I think he just wants to wrestle a little bit longer for his first bout this season. Parsons is ranked and undefeated at 5-0 this year - but it doesn’t matter. Jason will dictate how long this match lasts, and how many points he scores.

Prediction: Nolf by Tech Fall

Score: PSU 22, Army 0

HALFTIME

It’s been a while, so it might behoove you to get a breather from all the awesomeness that is Penn State wrestling.

165 LBS

I’m really excited to see what Cenzo brings to the table this year at a weight that was constantly in flux in last season’s national championship winning season, with three different wrestlers competing at different points of the year. This weight is Joseph’s, and since he was undefeated wrestling unattached last year, he could go far.

Prediction: Cenzo by Major

Score: PSU 26, Army 0

174 LBS

Both Shakur Rasheed and Geno Morelli are up at 174 this year from 165 last year, since Bo Nickal bumped up a weight. Rasheed isn’t competing in the duals this weekend (despite holding the #20 ranking for the squad at this weight)—he’ll be at the Binghampton Bearcat Open with the (hopefully) redshirting Mark Hall instead. On the road for him is Geno, who fought Shakur for the 165 spot last season. Both seem more natural at this weight, and both have very different styles - Morelli less aggressive but wearing down his opponents, fighting through close matches even with the best wrestlers in the nation. I’m expecting his opponent to be Wedholm, who, though he didn’t win his tournament last weekend unlike Harvey (who, as a true freshman, won the freshman tournament), his experience could be the key in keeping this one close for the Black Knights.

Prediction: Geno by Decision

Score: PSU 29, Army 0

184 LBS

Speaking of upset they lost to end the season...have you ever seen someone so mad to be honored at halftime of a Penn State football game than Bo Nickal? Nickal had the national title at 174 in his hands, but got too aggressive against Ohio State’s Myles Martin, and it bit him in the butt. He’ll be out for revenge this year, as Martin also bumped up - and the Buckeye, and Cornell’s Gabe Dean, are Bo’s real competition. Imonode is just cannon fodder this week.

Prediction: Bo by Pin

Score: PSU 35, Army 0

197 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

With Stout entered in the Binghampton tournament, this could be Mouse or true freshman Anthony Cassar. Mouse is up after losing a wrestle off to Bo, and Cassar is coming off injury—and because of that, and the quality of the opponent, I’m guessing Matt McCutcheon gets the nod here. His opponent is tough - he made it to the finals of last year’s Nittany Lion Open as a true freshman before getting majored by Morgan McIntosh - and this is Army’s best shot at a win. I think the move up to this weight combined with the opponent is tough going for Mouse, who loses a really, really close one.

Prediction: Caywood by Decision

Score: PSU 35, Army 3

285 LBS

Hello again, Nick Nevills! Though he technically wrestled last year, it was so late in the season it almost didn’t count. Cael’s spoken about how Nick wanted to get back out there and show how he could compete when healthy, and he seems super confident in the sophomore’s ability. With a couple of very good matches under his belt (including a pin of Maryland’s Dawson Peck), I’m betting that Smith gets the nod here for Army. He’s not the biggest shaved bear, but he’s athletic - even so, Nick should be dominant from the get go. Because it’s the heavyweight bout, I’m not expecting bonus points. Because Nevills is coached by Cael, I’m tempted to predict it anyway.

Prediction: Nevills by Dec

Score: PSU 38, Army 3