Let's catch up on the news in wrestling. First up: Junior Nationals results, from last Saturday's tournament held in Las Vegas.
1. Spencer Lee (11th grade-Iowa Commit) TF (10-0) Patrick McKee (10th-future Gopher)
Spencer Lee mauled the field, winning 3 bouts in about 5 minutes total, by a combined 30-0. The only consolation for us Penn State fans - and, it's pretty small consolation - is that the 50KG field had the fewest entrants, and was (arguably) the weakest overall. But don't hold onto it too tightly, because that tiny bit of consolation disappears, of course, after Lee destroys the rest of planet Earth at Junior Worlds later this summer (like he did last year).
1. Daton Fix (11th) DEC (6-5) Gavin Teasdale (10th-Iowa Commit)
3. Austin Gomez (11th-Iowa State commit) DEC (17-10) Nick Piccininni (OKST)
5. Austin Assad (MICH) INJ DEF Kris Williams (NEB)
7. Kyle Akins (BUFF) TF (10-0) Brandon Courtney (11th)
Nick Piccininni was the top lightweight prospect in the nation (and #7 rated recruit overall) from the 2015 class. He went to Okie State, and spent the last year training with the most accomplished American lightweight of the last 30 years, John Smith. He got tech'd, 10-0, by 10th-grader Gavin Teasdale in the semi-finals.
1. Mitch McKee (12th-MINN) WBF 2:15 Seth Gross (SDSU)
3. Yianni Diakomihalis (11th-CORN) TF 19-8 Jaydin Eierman (MIZZ)
5. Taylor LaMont (12th-UVU) INJDEF Scott Parker (LEH)
7. Nick Lee (11th-PSU commit) TF 12-2 Josh Terao (AMER)
Mitchell McKee is a 12th grader who committed to Minnesota. He pinned South Dakota State's Seth Gross in the final. Gross knocked Jimmy Gulibon out of the NCAA tournament in the round of 16 a few weeks ago. PSU recruit Nick Lee, an 11th-grader, made the quarterfinals before losing to McKee. He lost again in the wrestlebacks to Missouri's Eierman, but tech'd American U's Josh Terao (younger brother of David) in the 7th place match. Pretty strong showing by Nick.
1. Cole Martin (WISC) DEC (8-8) Ben Freeman (MICH)
3. Ben Hornickle (WYO) DEC (14-6) Sal Profaci (MICH)
5. Jack Mutchnik (AMER) TF (10-0) Paul Glynn (IOWA)
7. Zach Davis (NAVY) DEC (10-2) Mousa Jodeh (ILL)
63KG isn't wrestled at Junior Worlds (to our knowledge), to this field was smaller. Penn State's Tristan Law went 2-2.
1. Alec Pantaleo (MICH) DEC (5-1) Matt Kolodzik (PRIN)
3. Griffin Parriott (MINN) DEC (8-5) Tristan Moran (OKST)
5. Fredy Stroker (MINN) INJDEF Vince Turk (Iowa)
7. Ryan Pomrinca (LEH) DEC (4-2) Mark Voss (MINN)
Joe Lee INJDEF Boo Lewallen (OKST), WBF Jarod Verkleeren, -->INJDEF
This weight had some heavy hitters in it. Penn State recruit Joe Lee (10th grader, Nick's little brother) started slowly, but came alive in the wrestlebacks, including a fall over super-talented PA prep Jarod Verkleeren. But then he default (injury) from the tournament. PSU recruit Luke Gardner went 2-2.
1. Michael Kemerer (IOWA) DEC (9-8) Evan Wick (12th-WISC)
3. Wyatt Sheets (12th-OKST) TF (12-1) Eric Barone (ILL)
5. Jeren Glosser (IOWA) TF (10-0) Danny Reed (COLU)
7. Dewey Krueger (WYO) TF (13-1) Mike D'Angelo (PRIN)
Meh, nothing much to discuss here. Franklin Regional's Mike Kemerer won. Unfortunately he wrestles at Iowa now.
1. Mark Hall (12th-PSU) WBF 1:39 Logan Massa (MICH)
3. Cenzo Joseph (PSU) WBF 1:02 Anthony Valencia (ASU)
5. Jordan Kutler (LEH) DEC (3-3) Kimball Bastian (MICH)
7. Joey Gunther (IOWA) TF (11-0) Dylan Lydy (PUR)
This was, far and away, the deepest field at Juniors. PSU 2016 recruit Mark Hall rolled through it, including a pin of 2015's #2 overall recruit Logan Massa in the final. That's pretty good.
We also got to see Vincenzo Joseph, who redshirted last season at Penn State. He scored 3 tech falls over Skyler St. John (Iowa), Max Elling, and Cole Walter (Lehigh), and pinned (4:08) Joe Smith (OKST) in his quarterfinal. Smith, as you'll recall, is OKST head coach John's son, and Joe finished as an All-American at the NCAA tournament a few weeks ago.
Cenzo lost his semi-final to the aforementioned Mark Hall. But in the 3rd-place bout, he finished his tournament strong with a pin of 2015's #1 overall recruit, Anthony Valencia (in 1:02). So yes - we're pretty excited to see Cenzo in the blue-and-white singlet next season.
Here's something else that's mind-blowing. Take a look at this (goofy) picture. From left -> right, it's Shakur Rasheed (165lbs), Cenzo (just wrestled 163), and Anthony Cassar (wrestled at 211.5 last year). I have no idea how Rasheed ever made the cut to 165lbs. None. Seems like if he had his intestines surgically removed and wore plastics 24x7, he still wouldn't make 165lbs. That he not only made 165 - repeatedly - but wrestled well enough to be ranked in the collegiate top 20 (rather than simply making weight and immediately passing out) is incredible.
The drive to make the lineup is strong in that one.
1. Beau Breske (12th-NEB) DEC (9-4) Myles Amine (MICH)
Not a lot to discuss here, either. Let's move along.
1. Zahid Valencia (ASU) DEC (7-0) Myles Martin (OHST)
3. Bobby Steveson (MINN) DEC (5-4) Josh Hokit (12th-DREX)
5. Emery Parker (ILL) DEC (11-4) Nathan Traxler (12th-STAN)
7. Ryan Christensen (WISC) DEC (9-4) Nick Fiegener (JUCO)
Seventh-place Christensen qualified for NCAAs in March, by the way. Myles Martin upset Bo Nickal in the 174lb final - and here he got shut out by the other Valencia twin, Zahid (who was the #3 overall recruit last year; Myles was 4th). Makes us wonder if Martin tries to go 184 next year (to make room for Bo Jordan at 174), or asks to take that redshirt.
1. Jacob Seely (NOCO) DEC (9-2) Lance Benick (ASU)
3. Andre Lee (ILL) DEC (9-0) Evan Hansen (Grand View)
5. Chase Singletary INJDEF Angus Arthur (Adrian)
7. Kollin Moore (OHST) TF (15-4) Mason Reinhardt (WISC)
Seely lost to Cassar in last year's final, but won this time around, besting Lance Benick, the #10 overall recruit from 2015. Illinois' Andre Lee (who got tech'd by Morgan at the dual) put in some good work. Kid has talent, and could be a surprise next year at 197.
1. Rylee Streifel (MINN) DEC (10-8) Patrick Grayson (NEB)
3. Joey Goodhart (DREX) DEC (8-3) Youssif Hemida (UMD)
5. Jake Gunning (BUCK) DEC (4-1) Daniel Stibral (NDSU)
7. Christian Lance (DON'T KNOW) TF (10-0) Ben Stone (WISC)
So Minnesota has another heavyweight. In other breaking news, the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west.
Gorilla Hulk Update
Frank Molinaro heads to Istanbul, Turkey, where he'll face 36 other wrestlers from around the globe in a last chance effort to make the Olympics in Rio. Unfortunately, the other 36 still include a ton of outstanding wrestlers - dudes with medals, and world rankings. So it won't be easy. Even worse - only the two finalists make it, AND there is no wrestle-off for a "true 2nd place". So if you lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champ, you don't get to wrestle the dude from the other half of the bracket. Win, and you're in. Lose, and go home.
CP's Penn State Lineup
Christian Pyles at Flo breaks down the 2016/17 Penn State lineup, and embeds video of Cenzo's Junior Nationals pins.
Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) remains the longest-tenured Speaker of the House in US history. In the 1970s, before he ran for public office, he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach. Last week he was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for bank fraud. Hastert committed the felonies - withdrawing nearly $1M in increments less than $10k to avoid mandatory bank reporting, and then lying about it to the FBI - to pay "hush" money to one of his child sexual abuse victims from the high school wrestling team he once coached. Hastert confessed the pedophilia at his sentencing. But he's not in prison for that today, because the statute of limitations on his particular offenses expired long ago.
We Penn Staters have a bit more experience dealing with this type of news. Still, it never ceases being completely shocking and horrifying. Un. Be. Lievable.
Someone made a full-length documentary about Minnesota's J Robinson, and put it on the innerwebs for free. We'll try to watch it later, someday. But the preview looks pretty cool.
Last year Iowa hosted Oklahoma State on Kinnick Field, and drew 42,000 fans for the event. This year, Rutgers will try a similar feat by hosting Princeton prior to their home football game with Penn State. That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see how it works out.