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Penn State Wrestling: Junior Worlds and Monty Burns

This week your Junior Team USA squad wrestles the World Championships in Tampere, Finland. As we all know, Tampere is about 2 hours (by car) north of Helsinki, which is east of Stockholm (Sweden), north (across the Baltic) from Tallinn (Estonia), and just about 4 hours (by car) west of St. Petersburg, Russia. Today’s high temp should be about 69 degrees F.

It’s a long way from State College, PA. You’re not driving an RV there, because of the whole “Atlantic Ocean” thing. A direct flight, if you could find one, is about 9 hours from NYC. Yet, it’s not horrible, really, if you’re comparing it to somewhere in Asia.

Unless you need to weigh-in shortly after arrival. And you’re seated in the middle for the flight. Between two people wolfing doughnuts and burgers.

Thus, Mark Hall’s battle for a 2nd consecutive Junior World Gold began shortly after take off.

Preliminaries began today (Tuesday) at 10am Tampere time, which - according to the Google machine - is 3AM in State College. Medal matches begin at 6:30pm (11:30am State College). All of it will be live streamed via TrackWrestling.

Four weights go on Tuesday, as follows:

  • 50kg - Malik Heinselman (OHST commit);
  • 60kg - Mitch McKee (MINN);
  • 74kg - Mark Hall (PSU); and
  • 96kg - Kollin Moore (OHST)

And we get the other 4 weights on Wednesday:

  • 55kg - Daton Fix (OKST commit);
  • 65kg - Ryan Deakin (jNW);
  • 85kg - Zahid Valencia (ASU);
  • 125kg - Gable Steveson (MINN commit).

Expect a bunch of USA medals. Hall (Gold), Fix (Bronze), and Steveson (2x Cadet Gold) each medaled last year. Moore and Valencia came up just short last year, and - beyond the experience factor - are both better wrestlers this time around. Could be a record haul for Team USA.

Our guy, Mark Hall, drew the Eastern Euros, who are effectively the home team. He opens with a Ukrainian kid, and will get either a Russian or an Azerbaijanii in the second. Doughnuts, Russians - doesn’t matter. Kid’s a killer.


  • BSD grips online, Sandy takes action. Two weeks ago, we openly wondered what the hold up was for getting Team Sanderson / Cunningham / Varner a new contract. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said, “I’m sorry, BSD. Let me take care of that.” And poof - done. (//pats self on back for wearing big boy pants)
  • Sports journalists non-pareil FloWrestling requested copies of Federal tax filings from all of the top “non-profit” wrestling clubs throughout our wonderful land. Those returns confirmed what has long been known: money is pouring into these clubs. Oh - and the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (NLWC) is lapping the field. The NLWC now boasts an endowment north of $5M, which - in “higher education” circles, is a restaurant tip. But for a wrestling club, is about 8x greater than bridesmaid #2 Hawkeye Wrestling Club (HWC).
  • What’s genuinely surprising to us isn’t that the NLWC has built a tiny nest egg - everyone already knew that 3 years ago. It’s that, following 20+ year runs of domination, neither Iowa nor Oklahoma State were sitting on anything close to it. How did Dan Gable not leave the HWC with a titanic, Scrooge McDuck sized war chest? His squads won the national championship 9 years in a row, put a ton of guys on Olympic and World teams - and built a $0 endowment. Unfathomable, isn’t it?
  • The other intriguing question is this: can that Flo article, and the data residing on the embedded tax forms, usher in a flood of cash to other clubs? Folks with a boatload of cash tend to be competitive. Seeing the NLWC running laps around “your” school - that’s got to get under your skin, doesn’t it? I’m a mere penniless pauper, blogging for a cup of soup. But that would drive me nuts.
  • Anyhow - hopefully the competitive drive of folks with disposable cash gets awakened for the sport of wrestling, not only SEC football, and a slew of Monty Burns types pours $100M into clubs nationally.