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Wrestling Postview: #1 Penn State Whups #3 Iowa But It Doesn’t Totally Feel Like A Whuppin

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In Exhibit #2 of February Big Ten Wrestling Dual Meets Are Dope AF, Iowa came to the BJC to remind us how a Top-5 opponent can kick you in the feels, even if the scoreboard shows a 28-13 beat.

Penn State Wrestling Fans set another attendance record at the Bryce Jordan Center
Mark Selders (gopsusports.com)

Man, it sure would have been fun to clone this Purdue recap and keep the same title structure of “No. 1 Penn State Destroys Another Big Ten Opponent”, but the way this dual transpired....such a usage woulda been inaccurately troll-ey, two nasty combinations.

Penn State beat Iowa in seven out of ten weights, including bonus-point wins by Mark Hall, Bo Nickal and Shakur Rasheed and yet...

125 Spencer Lee WBF Carson Kuhn (2:06); Iowa 6-0

Hoo boy! Longtime Pennsylvania mat heads are not unfamiliar with what has definitively begun to unfold at 125 for Iowa this semester. Spencer Lee’s a dang fiend and he is not shy about conveying as much to the larger wrestling community. Say, a Dayton Fix or a Nick Suriano or somebody like that. A Darian Cruz perhaps?

After Kuhn’s performance against Nathan Tomasello last weekend, in which he held the former champ to a major decision and busted up the Rec Hall scorer’s table by throwing the tanky little buckeye to his back, Penn State fans had reasons to be hopeful about Kuhn’s future this season. Spencer Lee shut those feelings down quick. Not that Kuhn won’t have new opportunities to continue to foster such hope, against Buffalo and then in the Big Ten Tourney, but yeah: not much for us to learn in that mauling to that beast.

133 Corey Keener DEC Paul Glynn, 5-2 ; Iowa, 6-3

Corey Keener wrestled like he knew he was better, succeeded in attacks, and scored more points. I think we’d all like to see a little more of that first one here these next few weeks, as Keener begins round two vs some of these guys. Can he level up from beating the guys he’s supposed to and losing to guys he’s supposed to, up to beating guys he’s capable of beating but formerly lost to? (ED note; see: Harding, Gary Wayne)

Say, yes, Corey.

Say yes, please.

141 Nick Lee Decision Vince Turk 11-8; TIED 6-6

Lee’s still a true freshman OMG. Like, LOL my man throws the whole kitchen sink against the wall to see which mixed metaphors stick and it’s just dang beautiful. Even when he’s got a mostly-equally-game Hawkeye opponent like the striking offspring of Mike Evans and Thomas Gilman: Sir Vincent Turk throwin’ down with him across the mat he will throw down, throw down and throw down, which may also include he himself getting thrown down. Which he did. By Vince Turk. Who prevented the major and served his team like a dang champ. (ED note: Lee probably should’ve had the major here. He led 11-6 here with riding time in his favor late before getting sloppy and standing straight up to allow a Turk double with 20 seconds or so remaining).

149 Zain Retherford DEC Brandon Sorenson, 6-2; PSU 9-6

Sorenson is now 0-5 against zPain, which seems dominant. I mean, it IS dominant, of course, but the Wrestling Gods of Yore reminded us with their points-scoring systems that our sport is interested in measuring, distinguishing between, and emphasizing its various degrees of dominance.

So let’s give it a shot.

In the three years since joining Sorenson at 149 pounds in the 2016 Tourney Season, Zain has never lost. He’s 85-0, with an astonishing 79 of those by some flavor of bonus points. He’s allowed one Decision here in 2018, two in 2017 and three in 2016.

Of those six Decision victories, Brandon Sorenson was across the mat from him in three of them.

Meanwhile, in that same time frame, Sorenson has gone 78-8 and finished with 50 bonus-point victories. His only other losses in that time frame have been to now-teammate Pat Lugo, Micah Jordan and Anthony Collica. The kid ain’t half bad. The reality is, without Zain, we could be talking about a three-time NCAA champ in Sorenson.

That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

157 Michael Kemerer MD Bo Pipher, 14-4; Iowa, 10-9

Poor Bo Pipher here has done an admirable job filling in for Jason Nolf (who was, noticeably, without crutches last night) at 157 pounds. That being said, Pipher is undersized and also very much not Jason Nolf, but he fought hard on Saturday night and greatly improved upon his performance against Micah Jordan a week ago against a guy many think the favorite should Nolf not be able to return.

165 Alex Marinelli DEC Vincenzo Joseph 9-6; Iowa 13-9

Live by the sword, die by the sword. These Nittany Lions don’t typically die by it, but this was a nice reminder of how easy it can be to do so. Schedule-wise, this was about the best time possible for Vincenzo Joseph to get reminded of it.

Joseph controlled most of match against the clearly Jordan-trained Marinell. He got one takedown in the first, one takedown in the second and an easy escape to lead fairly comfortably at 5-3 mid-way through the final period. Then Cenzo got a bit of a rush of blood to the head and thought he would force the action with an inside trip.

That was silly.

The almost equally stone-hipped Marinelli stepped back into him with a body lock for six and grabbed the bout win, remaining undefeated as a redshirt freshman. I’m still pretty confident should the two meet again this season, but Cenzo just made his job and potentially his team’s job a bit more difficult at both the B1G Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.

174 Mark Hall WBF Joey Gunther (1:00); PSU 15-13

Mark Hall is Vincenzo Joseph’s teammate. And this is how Penn State National Champions lift up their National Champion teammates. Oh, you’ve got an undefeated RSFR knocking off our #1-ranked brother to take a Dual Meet lead?

Mark Hall sees your play and raises you a first-period pin and a retaking of the lead!

184 Bo Nickal WBF Mitch Bowman (:50); PSU 21-13

Look, we’ve been tellin’ y’all all season how Bo treats competition that he feels doesn’t belong on the mat with him. And we know the dude has a flair for the dramatic. So how could you possibly have expected anything different in this situation?

Nickal took the the mat, got in easily on a low single and then wasted no time time locking up the cradle and getting the fall, essentially securing the dual for Penn State.

197 Shakur Rasheed MD Cash Wilcke 11-2; PSU 25-13

Sorry Ant-Knee, this decision has been made on the collective behalf of Penn State wrestling fans, and it ends with Shakur Rasheed.

Rasheed went out there, undersized and all, and just took it to a returning bloodround participant for the major decision. He showed that he can get to legs on just about anybody in the division. He showed that he’s an absolute hammer on top despite being undersized, and he showed that he’s comfortable in scramble positions. Heck, the only thing he didn’t show was his trademark crossface cradle.

There’s one dual left in the season against Buffalo and I’d be shocked if Rasheed weren’t the guy for PSU. He’s proven to be a legitimate title threat.

285 Nick Nevills Decision Sam Stoll; Penn State 28-13

Sam Stoll is super mega humongo-gigantic.

Didn’t matter.

Turns out, when you’re that size it makes it a tiny bit harder to move around the mat, and Nevills used his advantage in quickness.

After a sweet Nevills roll for an early escape in the third, he countered a Stoll shot for two and picked up yet another win over a top-10 wrestler?

Raise you’re hand if you were freaking out about Nevills after a poor Southern Scuffle and a tough loss to Adam Coon?

All the big man has done since is go 6-1 with two top-10 victories and his only loss coming to the best wrestler on the planet. Turns out, that Nevills fella is just fine.

Outstanding Wrestler: This was so close to being Vincenzo Joseph that it hurts. Joseph controlled a guy who was previously undefeated and had only been taken down once all season, and then he got all silly on us.

The award instead goes to Shakur Rasheed, who returns from a minor injury to dominate Wilcke which should cement his spot as one of the best 197-pounders in the country.