(Ed. note: I wrote all of this and then Lehigh released its match notes which showed that the entire team is apparently injured.)
Penn State welcomes Pat Santoro and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks into Rec Hall for what has become an annual meeting between the two teams.
The 10th-ranked Mountain Hawks have an absolute bear of a non-conference schedule this year as they travel to Penn State, Michigan, Iowa and Oklahoma State and will host Arizona State, Virginia Tech and Cornell. If that weren’t enough, Lehigh will see both Mizzou and Minnesota at South Beach duals at the end of December.
This will be the third dual of the season for each as Penn State topped Bucknell on Friday night and the Mountain Hawks defeated visiting Princeton.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs #10 Lehigh
Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA
When: Sunday, December 2, 1:30 pm
Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports
Video: BTN (the regular)
Live Scoring: via Trackwrestling
Farro has looked pretty good to start the season for Lehigh, seemingly in place of Connor Schram who transferred in from Stanford. Schnupp, meanwhile, has looked like a slightly more aggressive version of the wrestler we saw a year ago. He’s definitely gained good weight, but still seems to struggle at this level.
Prediction: Farro by decision.
Score: Lehigh 3, PSU 3
Finally. Well, hopefully finally. We may actually get a chance to see RBY test himself should Scotty Parker be healthy. Unfortunately, Parker has yet to appear this season and I’m not sure he’ll be good to go this weekend. I’ll be optimistic and say Parker debuts this weekend against Penn State’s diaper dandy and we get a pseudo top-10 matchup. If he does, give me RBY. But I’ll hedge and say I wouldn’t be surprised, nor would I worry if Parker won a close one.
(Noooope, not happening. Parker still injured)
Prediction: Bravo-Young by decision (major)
Score: PSU 3, Lehigh 3 (4-3)
Nick Lee is a dog. Not in like the fleas sense or any of that. Well, at least I hope not. But in the sense that when Lee takes the mat he gets on you quick and doesn’t let you breathe until somebody gets their hand raised and the match is over. Luckily for Penn State fans, Lee is usually the one getting his hand raised.
Prediction: Lee by major decision.
Score: PSU 7, Lehigh 3 (8-3)
I think there’s a decent chance we see Berge and Verkleeren continue to rotate at least through the Southern Scuffle (not long now!). Hopefully Berge is healthy after a medical forfeit in the Keystone Classic semis. If he is, I imagine he’ll get the call against a super stingy Luke Karam.
(Karam is apparently out injured as well!)
Prediction: Berge by decision. (Tech fall)
Score: PSU 10, Lehigh 3 (13-3)
Last time these two met in 2016 Kent Lane kept it to a tech fall. He won’t be so lucky in round two.
Prediction: Nolf by fall.
Score: PSU 16, Lehigh 3 (19-3)
Somehow Walter and and Cenzo have never met. The Lehigh wrestler has shown improvement year over year, which is nothing new for wrestlers under Santoro. He’s got a pair of close losses this year to Michigan’s Logan Massa (5-3) and Wyoming’s Branson Ashworth (4-0), both ranked in the top 10. So this should be the first real indication of where Cenzo is at relative to the field.
Prediction: Cenzo by decision.
Score: PSU 19, Lehigh 3 (22-3)
I have no been particularly fond of the way Mark Hall has wrestled this year. If we wants to get back to the top step on the podium over Zahid Valencia, he’s going to have to add another element to his game. Thus far, I haven’t seen it. All Kutler does, meanwhile, is wrestle close matches with top-ranked opponents. Mark is 2-0 career against him with a 3-2 win and a 4-0 win. Give me Hall, but I’m not overly comfortable with that pick.
Prediction: Hall by decision.
Score: PSU 22, Lehigh 3 (25-3)
I’ve been talking for the last couple weeks about how this is a new and improved Shakur Rasheed and how much stronger he looks against everyone at 184. Time to prove it. Preisch is tough as nails and has two wins in two career matches with Shak, albeit down at 165 and then 174. I do think Rasheed is greatly improved since then and the more confident wrestler right now. Additionally, the weight cut shouldn’t be an issue. Shak has yet to concede a point this year or wrestle into the third period (as of Friday a.m.). We’ll see if he can continue either of those streaks this weekend.
(Preisch is now listed as an “OR” next to junior Andrew Price, so let’s pray)
Prediction: Rasheed by decision.
Score: PSU 25, Lehigh 3 (28-3)
Jakobsen battled eventually round of 12 finisher Chris Weiler for this spot a year ago. This year, it appears Jakobsen has won the spot. But I wouldn’t expect that decision to be set in stone quite yet. Regardless, Jakobsen seems to be the sacrificial lamb this time around. The weight class isn’t particularly deep, but he looks like a potential All-American. Much like Cenzo, this will give us a sense of just how far ahead of the field Bo is at 197.
Prediction: Nickal by major decision.
Score: PSU 29, Lehigh 3 (32-3)
This is, by far, my most anticipated match of the dual. Wood came into Lehigh as a highly touted prospect and went 22-7 a year ago as a redshirt freshman. He fell one win short of becoming an All-American after having to injury default out in the blood round to Maryland’s Youssif Hemida. Cassar, meanwhile, is the talk of the town after jumping up from 197 to heavyweight and putting the boots to teammate Nick Nevills a couple weeks ago at the Southern Scuffle in a 7-2 victory. This year, Wood appears to be in much better shape and is carrying way less bad weight. How much has Wood improved? Just how good is Cassar? This one should answer a lot of questions about the national landscape at heavyweight right now and I think it could absolutely go either way.
Prediction: Cassar by decision