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Wrestling Preview: No. 4 Penn State vs No. 14 Lehigh

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The annual Bryce Jordan Center Dual is upon us!

Gulibon

Last year, the Nittany Lions rolled into Bethlehem and demolished Lehigh in front of a pro-Penn State, sold out crowd, the sixth straight dual win in a row for PSU over the Mountain Hawks. This year should be more of the same, as Penn State is just as strong as last year and, though Lehigh has gotten more experience in key positions, they’ve also lost some important contributors in Nate Brown and Max Wessel from the team that finished 14th at the NCAAs last year.

There are a lot of ranked vs. ranked matchups for the day, and it should be lower-scoring for the Nittany Lions than we’ve come to expect.

How To Watch

What: #4 Penn State vs. #14 Lehigh

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, 12/4, 12 pm ET

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

Video: Live on the Big Ten Network

No. 4 Penn State WT No. 14 Lehigh

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

125

#4 Darian Cruz (Jr., Allentown, PA)

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

133

UR – Scott Parker (Jr., Sellersville, PA)

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

141

#3 – Randy Cruz (Sr., Allentown, PA)

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

149

#9 – Laike Gardner (Sr., Biglerville, PA)

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

157

#14 – Jordan Kutler (Fr., Sparta, NJ)

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

165

UR – Gordon Wolf (So., Lawrenceville, NJ)

OR #5 - Mitch Minotti (Sr., Easton, PA)

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

OR #12 – Shakur Rasheed (So., Coram, NY)

174

#19 – Ryan Preisch (Jr., New Columbia, PA)

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

184

UR – Kyle Gentile (Fr., Sellersville, PA)

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

197

UR – Ben Haas (Sr., Little Valley, NY)

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

285

#11 – Doug Vollaro (Sr., Springfield, MA)

125 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

Nico made quick work of then-number 13 Darian Cruz last year, behind two takedowns, back points, an escape and a riding time point. Cruz has gotten better this year (he was All-American last season), and is the higher ranked wrestler coming into this matchup. But Nick Suriano is Nick Suriano, still undefeated in college and high school, and he has a better win on the short season—and he has the BJC atmosphere on his side.

Prediction: Nick by Decision

Score: PSU 3, Lehigh 0

133 LBS

I’m betting that Cortez’s loss to Drexel’s Kevin Devoy at the Keystone Classic will be the kick in the rear that spurs a major tear the rest of the season. He started off with two falls to finish out the last tourney; his next victim is Sellersville’s Scott Parker. I expect this one to barely miss being a tech fall—or a pin in the third. I’ll be conservative and thus hope he proves me lacking faith.

Prediction: Jered by Major

Score: PSU 7, Lehigh 0

141 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

Last year, Jimmy Gulibon was the higher ranked wrestler, and he lost to Cruz behind a single takedown, an escape and a riding time point - Gulibon didn’t score. This year, Cruz the elder is much better (and now a two-time NCAA qualifier, and All-American) and Jimmy, so far this year, has been the same Jimmy - with flashes of brilliance, sometimes after getting down too far to come back. I don’t see it working for Gulibon this week.

Prediction: Cruz by Decision

Score: PSU 7, Lehigh 3

149 LBS

Zain is wrestling the number nine wrestler in his class. It doesn’t matter; Laike Gardner was bonused last year, and though he’s better this year, this is Zain Retherford.

Prediction: Zain by Major

Score: PSU 11, Lehigh 3

157 LBS

Jordan Kutler is fresh off a redshirt year after being a top ten wrestler in high school. He’s ranked with one loss to Oklahoma’s Barnes on the season - but he hasn’t been tested by the likes of Jason Nolf. Expect this to be a throwback Nolf match, as Kutler likely won’t get himself in a position to be put on his back, but Nolf will wear him down enough to end the match early.

Prediction: Nolf by Tech Fall

Score: PSU 16, Lehigh 3

HALFTIME

If you’re in the BJC, have some Dippin’ Dots for me. If you’re at home, make it a craft brew or whiskey. I’ll be on my way back from Indianapolis.

165 LBS

Mitch Minotti hasn’t wrestled yet this year, and I doubt he goes today. Sophomore Gordon Wolf has done well in his stead, cutting down from 174 where he was ranked last year when he was majored by Bo Nickal. Both are good wrestlers; Cenzo Joseph is much better. I expect him to come out firing - and this could be even worse for the Mountain Hawks if Drew Longo is the one who goes at this weight, though he’s not listed in the official prematch notes.

Prediction: Cenzo by Major

Score: PSU 20, Lehigh 3

174 LBS

Shakur was impressive at the Keystone Classic, and it appears his toughest competition for a while might be in his own weight room, with the other “or” going into this match - Geno Morelli. Rasheed won it on the mat, though, which is why I expect him to get the go against Preisch. Rasheed won’t tire like last year, so this should be not as close as his decision over Drew Longo last year, where he came out on fire but tired and let Longo back in it on the end.

Prediction: Rasheed by Decision

Score: PSU 23, Lehigh 3

184 LBS

I’ll be taking predictions for how long this matchup lasts; afterall, Lehigh’s Nate Brown is no longer eligible, and his replacement, Kyle Gentile, is pretty green, with no wins on the season. Bo shouldn’t last into the second period.

Prediction: Bo by Pin

Score: PSU 29, Lehigh 3

197 LBS

McCutcheon has slid up a weight with ease, rising in the rankings and sitting at 6-0. His opponent, Haas, moved up himself to this weight last year while filling in for John Bolich, and had a pretty decent season. But Mouse has all the confidence in the world, and Haas still is not at Bolich’s level - and even Bolich got teched by Morgan McIntosh last year.

Prediction: Mouse by Major

Score: PSU 33, Lehigh 3

285 LBS

Doug Vollaro is a returning NCAA qualifier (he got injured in the EIWAs in 2015 so couldn’t compete) that didn’t wrestle much last year, because they heavyweight class was good and deep for the Mountain Hawks. Nick Nevills lost to then-Lehigh shaved bear Max Wessell last year (then ranked #14) in his first match attached to Penn State. Though I’m not convinced there is much dropoff between last year’s Wessell and this year’s Vollaro, Nevills is much, much better.

Prediction: Nevills by Dec

Score: PSU 36, Lehigh 3