If you think PSU is young, with only one senior and two juniors in their lineup, the Maryland wrestling squad is very, very young this year; the Terrapins have the same - but rather than a trio of redshirt sophomores to fill their lineup, Maryland is bringing into the gauntlet that is Rec Hall potentially five freshmen. That’s rough going against the best team in the nation, the defending national champs and their head coach’s alma mater.
It’s rough going, really, against any team; which is why Maryland is in last place in the Big Ten, its worst showing since joining the conference.
Penn State has only lost two dual meets to Maryland in 43 tries, and the last time the two teams met two seasons ago, the Lions destroyed the Terrapins at Comcast Center, 38-3 - a fun dual (despite the Ficker factor) in front of an overwhelmingly pro-PSU crowd. And this was the season that Penn State placed fifth at the NCAAs, so the boards over at Testudo Times who, in their dismay at losing to PSU at basketball lamented that if it was wrestling they’d have lost by 30?
It won’t be that close, my turtle friends. But on the plus side, we do love your coach.
How To Watch
What: #2 Penn State* vs. Maryland
Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA
When: Sunday, 2/12, 2 pm ET
Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports
|No. 2 Penn State||WT||Maryland|
|No. 2 Penn State||WT||Maryland|
|#2 - Nick Suriano (Fr., Paramus, NJ)||125||UR - Michael Beck (Jr., Ellicott City, MD)|
|UR - George Carpenter (So., Chapel Hill, NC) OR UR - Triston Law (Fr., Windber, PA)||133||UR - Billy Rappo (Sr., Holland, PA)|
|#11 - Jimmy Gulibon (Sr., Latrobe, PA)||141||UR - Jhared Simmons (Jr., Montgomery Village, MD)|
|#1 - Zain Retherford (Jr., Benton, PA)||149||UR - Alfred Bannister (So., La Plata, MD) OR UR - Adam Whitesell (So., Silver Spring, MD)|
|#1 - Jason Nolf (So., Yatesboro, PA)||157||UR - Justin Alexander (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA) OR UR - Danny Boychuck (Fr., Haddonfield, NJ)|
|#4 - Vincenzo Joseph (Fr., Pittsburgh, PA)||165||UR - Patrick Gerish (So., Fairfield, NJ) OR UR - Josh Ugalde (Fr., Bound Brook NJ)|
|#7 - Mark Hall (Fr., Apple Valley, MN)||174||UR - Sam Rowell (Fr., Laurel, MD)|
|#2 - Bo Nickal (So., Allen, TX)||184||UR - Idris White (Fr., Philadelphia, PA)|
|#9 - Matt McCutcheon (Jr., Apollo, PA)||197||UR - David-Brian Whisler (Fr., Warren, OH)|
|#3 - Nick Nevills (So., Clovis, CA)||285||UR - Youssif Hemida (So., Mamaroneck, NY)|
Michael Beck is one of the few wrestlers who actually took the mat the last time the two teams met - and it didn’t go well for him, nearly being tech falled by Jordan Conaway in Nico Megaludis’ redshirt year. Conaway, though I loved him, is no Nick Suriano. And though Beck has the experience, Suriano has the talent. He’ll get the extra bonus here.
Prediction: Suriano by Tech Fall
Score: PSU 5, Maryland 0
I’m going out on a limb here and picking this final home dual meet as the one where the losing streak at 133 pounds is broken. This is by far the riskiest proposition of the day; this is where the shutout lies. But Carpenter started the season with a win, and he can end it with a win as well - on Friday, he was able to hold a very good Zane Richards to no back points, and a major decision only. This could be it.
Prediction: Carpenter/Law by Decision
Score: PSU 8, Maryland 0
I love you, Jimmy Gulibon. Two years ago I watched you wrestle the most complete match I had seen to that point from you against the ranked Geoff Alexander in College Park, and you were so close to not only bonus - but you could smell the pin. All I remember is the irritated look of determination from your face as you left the mat a few rows in front of me, and I could see the wrestler you had inside of you. This is Maryland, Jimmy.
Prediction: Simmons by Decision
Score: PSU 8, Maryland 3
This one won’t last the entire first period. Bank on it.
Prediction: Zain by Pin
Score: PSU 14, Maryland 3
Provided his nose has stopped bleeding by now, Nolf should be back to his pinning ways, not settling for a simple tech fall. This will be helped by going up against either Maryland wrestler - both are around .500 for the season. This shouldn’t last much into the 2nd period, if that.
Prediction: Nolf by Pin
Score: PSU 20, Maryland 3
Cenzo proved, once again, that he is rightthere with the best of the best at this weight, taking Isaiah Martinez to the edge and doing most of the shooting near the end - but both IMar and Cenzo’s defense was too strong, and the lone takedown in the first period was the deciding factor (I’m not factoring in, really, IMar’s late counter, as it had no bearing on the outcome). Regardless, he’s a force at this weight, and clearly a step above most of the competition. He’ll be wrestling one of two guys around his level in terms of experience, but not talent - and that means a lot. He should be able to score at will.
Prediction: Cenzo by Tech Fall
Score: PSU 25, Maryland 3
Mark Hall’s Rec Hall debut was a thing of beauty on Friday night, with him getting a six point move near the end of the third in order to secure the tech fall over a top-fifteen opponent. Sam Rowell, like many on Maryland’s team, may be good in the future, but he’s very young and not elite yet. He’s in for a rude awakening against Wreck.
Prediction: Hall by Pin
Score: PSU 31, Maryland 3
Though the official match notes list Idris White at 184 and Sam Rowell at 174, they seem to have flipped more recently, with Rowell losing to Myles Martin and Nate Jackson, and White competing at 174 at the Messiah Open. White did bump back up to 184 to take on Northwestern’s Mitch Sliga, but either could go at either weight. To be frank, the outcomes might not change much - but Rowell is a Maryland state champion, and might put on more of a fight as a redshirt freshman. Also I feel horrible about typing that entire sentence, because both of these young men are tremendous athletes—they just happen to be coming up against the best of the best in Hall and Nickal, and not many survive those matchups.
Prediction: Bo by Pin
Score: PSU 37, Maryland 3
Whisler, an Ohio state high school champion, is the Terps’s best bet to keep one close after 133, coming into the matchup with McCutcheon with a respectable record and some solid wins on his resume. But Mouse hasn’t really been challenged by any but the best at this weight, and though his matches have been low-scoring, he hasn’t really seemed threatened by his opponents the last few weeks—score-wise, they’ve been within margin of victory, but it hasn’t felt that way. This should be another one of those matches.
Prediction: Mouse by Decision
Score: PSU 40, Maryland 3
Brooks Black kept the Friday night fight closer than Nick would have liked, and Hemida, a NY state champ, will pay the price. He’s a good heavyweight, with six conference wins on his record this season, but he’s not on Nick’s level. And Nick is looking to get back into scoring form, so I’ll predict it for him again.
Prediction: Nevills by Major
Score: PSU 44, Maryland 3
*As this is a dual meet, I’m using the Intermat Dual Team rankings. In the Intermat Tournament rankings, Penn State is up to #1.