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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 14 Lehigh

After a dominating performance over Ohio State, the Nittany Lions hit the road again--this time in-state, visiting Lehigh.

The last time Penn State wrestled Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks kept it closer than the Nittany Lions would've otherwise liked. This year will be a much different story.

Lehigh's arena has been sold out for many days and it looks to be a fairly blue-and-white crowd filling the stands. The Hawks' only loss this year is to Nebraska, and they do have a convincing 22-12 win over a down Minnesota squad on their resume this season (as well as wins over Cornell, Pitt and early-season PSU victim Rider). They finished third at the Southern Scuffle with 104.5 points, behind Oklahoma State with 158 (Penn State won the tournament).

It should be a good event, as the PA squad is a good team, riding a 10 match winning streak. But they're up against a buzzsaw this week. And Cael is poised to have his first undefeated dual season in Happy Valley.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State (13-0, 8-0 Big Ten) vs #14/9 Lehigh (12-1, 7-0 EIWA)

Where: Stabler Arena/Bethlehem, PA

When: Friday, 7 pm ET

Audio: Free Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: Live via the Patriot League

Projected Lineups

No. 1 Penn State WT No. 14 Lehigh
#4 - Nico Megaludis (Sr., Murraysville, PA) 125 #13 - Darian Cruz (So., Allentown, PA)
#5 - Jordan Conaway (Sr., Abbottstown, PA) 133 UR - Mason Beckman (Sr., Transfer, PA)
#14 - Jimmy Gulibon (Jr., Derry, PA) 141 #18 - Randy Cruz (Jr., Bethlehem, PA)
#1 - Zain Retherford (So., Benton, PA) 149 UR - Laike Gardner (Jr., Biglerville, PA)
#1 - Jason Nolf (Fr., Kitanning, PA) 157

#10 - Mitch Minotti (Jr., Easton, PA)

OR UR - Drew Longo (So., Ardsley, NY)

#17 - Shakur Rasheed (Fr., Coram, NY)

OR Geno Morelli (Jr., DuBois, PA)


#16 - Ryan Priesch (Fr., New Columbia, PA)

OR UR - Matt Bonshak (Jr., Whitehall, PA)

#1 - Bo Nickal (Fr., Allen, TX) 174

#14 - Gordon Wolf (Fr., Lawrenceville, NJ)

OR UR - Elliott Riddick (Jr., Whitehall, PA)

#6 - Matt McCutcheon (So., Kiski Area, PA)

OR UR - Brian Brill (Jr., Lock Haven, PA)

OR UR - Devon Van Cura (Fr., Washington, NC)

184 #3 - Nathaniel Brown (Sr., Lewisburg, PA)
#1 - Morgan McIntosh (Sr., Santa Ana, CA) 197 #17 - John Bolich (Sr., Willow Grove, PA)

UR - Jan Johnson (Fr., Mohnton, PA)

OR UR - Wes Phipps (So., Grove City, PA)

OR UR - Nick Nevills (Fr., Clovis, CA)


#14 - Max Wessell (Sr., Boulder, CO)

125 LBS

Cruz is a good wrestler, an All-American his freshman year (2013-2014) before he redshirted last season. Nico beat him at the Scuffle earlier this season by a regular decision (one of only four losses for him on the year) but Nico's pissed at his last second loss to Tomasello last week, so I expect him to come out firing--and to score big, and often.

Prediction: Nico by Major

Score: PSU 4, Lehigh 0

133 LBS 

After a second straight All-American year last season, Beckman has had a pretty disappointing senior campaign. He sits at 11-8 so far this year, unranked after finishing top ten the last two years (and a high of #2 last season, before losing to Gulibon). Right now, he's riding a three match (plus two forfeit) win streak, but look for that to be snapped big. Jordan's confident after his big win over JDJ last week.

Prediction: Jordan by Major

Score: PSU 8, Lehigh 0

141 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

After last week, I'm back on the Gulibon train. He was so close to beating Micah Jordan last week, which means he's rightthere with the very top wrestlers in this weight. Randy Cruz can be tough on top--last year herode Kade Moss and turned him for near fall--but this year I don't think he'll get that chance against Jimmy. I think the score ends up closer than it feels.

Prediction: Jimmy by Decision

Score: PSU 11, Lehigh 0

149 LBS

How long will Zain's opponent last this week? He was disappointed he didn't get an earlier pin last week. I'm betting it'll once again be first period, though Marandino was the most overmatched of all possible Buckeye opponents last week.

Prediction: ZPain by Pin

Score: PSU 17, Lehigh 0

157 LBS

I think Jake Ryan is a better wrestler than Mitch Minotti. Jason Nolf should have tech falled Jake Ryan. Jason Nolf pinned Minotti at the Scuffle, in the first period. Minotti lasts a bit longer this week, but not the full seven.

Prediction: Nolf by Tech Fall

Score: PSU 22, Lehigh 0


It's been a while since we haven't had one. I wouldn't be surprised this week.

165 LBS

I'm still not sure where Rasheed was last week, but Morelli limited the damage at this weight well. He's the best decision long-term for this weight this year, with the most offense. Shakur faced Priesch at the Scuffle and lost a close 3-1 decision, but Sheed's a different wrestler now than he was then, with more firepower. I like him to tough it out here.

Prediction: Shakur by Decision

Score: PSU 25, Lehigh 0

174 LBS 

This is the first unranked wrestler Bo will have faced in quite some time. He's gotten bonus points against a lot of the ranked opponents, so why not the unranked ones?

Prediction: Bo by Pin

Score: PSU 31, Lehigh 0

184 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

Even though the official Penn State prematch notes list Mouse alone at this weight, I still wouldn't be surprised if he sits in place of Brill or Van Cura. He looked pretty damn good in his third period rideout of Kenny Courts last week (and Intermat rewarded him by boosting his ranking), but if he's not at 100%, Nate Brown could easily take advantage. The Mountain Hawk majored McCutcheon early in the season en route to becoming the NCAA runner up, and he's in the upper echelon of this weight. Mouse is right there (his only losses this year are due to injury) and if he's at 100%, he can take Brown. If he's not, though, he should sit out for Big Tens.

Prediction: Mouse by Decision

Score: PSU 34, Lehigh 0

197 LBS

Morgan is perhaps the most underrated wrestler on this squad, despite being one of three undefeated guys on the roster. The only ones close to toppling him before a potential showdown with J'Den Cox at the NCAAs are Minnesota's Pfarr and Iowa's Burak, and he already has a win over Pfarr on the year; I like Morg in any of these matchups, really, because he just guts it all out. Bolich is a better wrestler than McIntosh teched last week, but this one gets put away early, with Morgan riding it out in the third for an easy decision.

Prediction: Morgan by Decision

Score: PSU 37, Lehigh 0

285 LBS

On his radio show this week, Cael said Nick Nevills was ready to go this week, cleared for wrestling, but it was a coach's decision--presumably as to whether it is worth the extra year of NCAA medical eligibility weighed against his shot of qualifying for the NCAA tournament (and whether he'll get the required number of matches for qualification). He wasn't listed in the prematch notes, and if Johnson is gets the nod here (he still gets my undying respect for continuing to shoot against Snyder even when down by double digits) I expect it to be a fairly easy win for the Lehigh wrestler.

Prediction: Wessell by Decision

Score: PSU 37, Lehigh 3

*If Mouse doesn't go, I expect that result flipped; if Nevills does, I expect that result flipped. Either way, the end score is the same.