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Penn State Wrestling: Recruiting, Pan Ams Recap

Greetings, friends! The collegiate wrestling season ended 8 weeks ago, but the action and news keeps cranking along. Let’s start with a quick recap of last weekend’s mat results.

Pan Am Championships

The senior-level freestyle and greco championships of the western hemisphere were held last weekend in Lima, Peru. That’s the yellow spot in the picture below.

All of the males from all of the green areas to the left of where the map reads “Europe” and “Africa” are eligible to compete. There’s a qualification process, of course. But if you whip all the other folks in your country at your weight - then come on down to Lima, Peru. You get a shot in the Pan Am Championships. And if you win, then you’re the champ at your weight for your half of planet Earth. That’s a pretty cool title to put on your resume.

As it turns out, three of these champions came from State College, Pennsylvania. Imagine that. What are the odds? Of the approximately 1 billion people in the western hemisphere, three of the 10 freestyle champions all came from the same small town in central hills of good ol’ PA. Amazing.

Mark Hall won the 79kg (174 lbs) gold medal. David Taylor won the 86kg (189 lbs) gold medal. And Nittany Lion Wrestling Club member Ben Provisor, who joined the NLWC after last year’s World Championships in Paris, France, won two medals. First, Ben wrestled 5 matches on Friday, and took a bronze medal in Greco at 87kg (192 lbs). And when J’Den Cox took ill, Ben stepped into Team USA’s freestyle lineup at 92kg (203 lbs) on Saturday - and won a gold medal.

Sure, wrestling is wrestling. But that is pretty freaking cool.

Beat The Streets

The lineups for May 17th’s Beat The Streets event in Manhattan/NYC are set, and NLWC’s Josh Rodriguez will take the elevated stage at 57kg. He’ll face Cuba’s U23 world champ Reineri Andreau Ortega, who just knocked off Thomas Gilman at Pan Ams last Saturday, 7-4, and took gold.

After JRod upsets Ortega, he’ll get to watch some great matches. Incoming freshman Gavin Teasdale will wrestle old nemesis Pat Glory for the 8-millionth time. (Gavin’s won all of them but 1). Kyle Snyder takes on old man Reineris Salas, which should be awesome. And the event probably closes with two supermatches back-to-back. Easton’s Jordan Oliver comes off his 1-year suspension and tangles with 2016 Oly champ Togrul Asgarov - nothing like easing yourself back into competition. And the GOAT, Jordan Burroughs, the old man, will take on ex-Cuban Frank Chamizo, who is bumping up to Jordan’s weight (74kg) after owning 70kg for the past 3 years. What an awesome match - and the pair have been Twitter beefing for 6 months. Should be awesome. You can watch it Flo ($).


The Flo Boys also released their final Top 100 Croots ranking for the 2018 class. As you expect, Penn State did awfully well, with all seven of its headliner recruits in the top 35 pound-for-pound. Ohio State had six in the top 40, and eight of the top 100.

That’s a lot of croots. So we took a look at the distribution of recruits by conference - except for the Big Ten, where we split Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Iowa into a “B1G 4”, and called the remainder “B1G Other”. Here’s how the signings shaped up:

CONF Top 25 Top 50 Top 100
B1G 4 13 18 21
B1G Other 3 9 19
PAC 12 3 3 4
Big XII 2 6 12
ACC 2 4 12
EIWA 1 5 14
MAC 1 4 10
EWL 0 1 5
SOCON 0 0 1

To be clear: we’re not complaining. But that’s not what most science folks would call a normal distribution. Our “B1G 4” pick off more than half of the highly prized, elite Top 25 kids - and that’s with Iowa only taking 1, because Tom Brands already spent his scholarship money (according to Tom).

Wrestling recruiting rankings, by the way, are a whole lot different than the foosball. It’s not an underwear olympics projection. The elite wrestling prospects travel to national wrestling tournaments, where they wrestle other elite wrestling prospects, to determine who is the best wrestler. The more you win, the higher you’re ranked. We’re not projecting vertical jumps and 40 times into football pads and smashing. Generally speaking, if you’re good at wrestling, then you’ll be good at wrestling. Makes projecting to college a little more accurate.

Other Stuff

  • Connor Schram, past All-American for Stanford, received a 6th year from the magnanimous folks at the NCAA, and is transferring to Lehigh. Schram’s the 4th past-AA to transfer to a new school this year, joining Zeke Moisey (WVU to NEB), Justin Oliver (CMU to NCST), and Sa’Derian Perry (EMU to ODU).
  • Ergo, if you miss in the recruiting game, maybe you can land an AA via free agency.
  • CMU’s Mason Smith (Midlands champ and R16 at 141 last year) is transferring to Arizona State. I don’t know what’s going on with the Chipps, but it’s generally not a good thing when all of your kids transfer (Smith, Oliver, Keener last year, and I think there might be 1 or 2 others).
  • Here’s a nifty video interview with Penn State croot Aaron Brooks, from True Wrestling.