Penn State kicked off this unique wrestling season by introducing a number of new wrestlers while re-acclimating its fans with plenty of familiar faces, as they dismantled the Midshipmen of Navy, 45-0.
Four Nittany Lion wrestlers made their Dual Meet debuts: Brody Teske at 125; Luke Gardner at 149; Creighton Edsell at 184 and Kyle Conel at 197, and each picked up victories today.
141 #3 Nick Lee WBF Cody Trybus, 6:15; PSU 6-0
- TD1, cut him
- TD2, plus 2 near fall
- Stall warn 1 on Trybus
Period Two, 6-1
- Lee reversal, then cut him, 8-2
- TD3, then cut him, 10-3
- Stall 2, 13-3
- Trybus chose down
- Lee cut him, 13-4
- TD5, then cut him, 15-5
- TD6, 17-5
- Stall #3, 18-5
- Arm bar, pin! 6:15
Jeff Byers: “AND THE NITTANY LIONS ARE OFF AND RUNNING IN 2020”
149 Luke Gardner WBF Jon Park, 1:46; PSU 12-0
Luke Gardner made his PSU Dual Meet debut a memorable one.
- Quick TD1
- Park escape, 2-1
- Nice double leg for TD2
- Working for a far-side cradle, accepted the offer of the near-side instead.
- Boom, pin #2, 1:46!
157 Bo Pipher DEC Scout Skidgel, 7-6; PSU 15-0
- Skidgel up under arms, shrugged for TD1, 0-2
- Pipher a very quick escape
- Another shrug, Pipher touched his hand to the mat, with Skidgel behind him, before both stepped out
- Navy coaches challenged a missed-call TD for Skidgel; review confirmed: no TD, 1-2
- Big scramble, each had a chance to earn the TD, Skidgel succeeded , 1-4
- Illegal hold on Skidgel, 2-4
- Pipher out-hustling from bottom, earned the escape, 3-4
- Pipher head-inside single on left leg, fought through to earn the TD just before time expired. 5-4.
- Skidgel chose down
- Pipher with a good ride, but attempts to throw boots in were blocked
- Fantastic ride, RT over a minute, rode him the entire period
Period Three, 5-4
- Pipher looked to the corner, indicating he’d like to choose down, coaches confirmed, Pipher lined up in the bottom position
- Big fight from bottom!
- Pipher gets an ankle, long scramble, nearly a reversal, out of bounds, laaate award of the escape, 6-4
- Skidgel chose neutral, got a big TD, 6-6.
- Pipher with a massive fight to escape and earns it! Gets the escape just before time expired, and wins, 7-6!
165 #1 Vincenzo Joseph Tech Fall #11 Tanner Skidgel, 20-5 (6:02); PSU 20-0
- Quick TD1, quick escape
- Big blast double! 4-1
- Heavy, hard cross-face to near-side cradle, on the edge
- Cut him, got double-overhooks, added the inside trip, huge TD3 plus 4 nearfall! 14-2
- Cut him, period ends, 14-3
- Skidgel chose down
- HEAVY crossfaces
- Cuts him
- Skidgel in on an ankle,
- Clean single to double for TD4, 16-4
- Cut him
- Another double leg for TD5
Period Three, 18-5
- Cenzo chose neutral
- Looking for over-unders, wary of earning the tech without the pin
- Skidgel missed on a big headlock attempt, Cenzo shrugged through it, to take the winning TD6 and earn the tech fall without the pin
174 #1 Mark Hall WBF #17 Spencer Carey, :58; PSU 26-0
- Cagey, patient setups
- Hall countered a body lock attempt by Carey with double overhooks, huge body jack, Hall lands on Carey’s chest, Carey on his own back and boom!
- Hall’s 32nd career pin!
184 Creighton Edsell DEC Andrew Buckley, 5-2; PSU 29-0
This was Creighton Edsell’s Dual Meet debut. He went 5-1-4 at PA States in Sophomore, Junior & Senior years, respectively.
- 182.2 weigh-in for Edsell
- Nice single leg with a slow finish for TD1
- Buckley chose down, quick escape, 2-2
- Lots of head banging in the center of the mat
- Edsell stood, slowly escaped, 3-2
- Buckley quickly in on a deep single, lifts the leg, but Edsell kicked free
- Buckley looking frustrated
- Edsell stall warn at :20
- Buckley in on legs, but Edsell locked up the upper body
- Buckley with a desperate shot with 5 seconds left, Edsell, scooted around behind for TD2 and the win!
The Rec Hall fans showed their appreciation:
197 #3 Kyle Conel DEC Jacob Koser 4-3; PSU 32-0
- Nice double, got both legs, but Koser got both ankles and forced the stalemate
- Koser in on a shot, but heavy hips and block, back to neutral with no score
- Conel with another nice double, this time finishes
- Cuts him, 2-1
- Byers notes that Training Dan Monthly did a lot of work with Conel on his shoulders leading up to today
- Conel with double underhooks, but Koser backed off the mat as time expired
- Koser chose down
- Conel with a lefty tight waist and heavy on the head with the right hand
- Releases him, 2-2
- Another big double leg, Koser dove between his legs, forced a stalemate
Period Three, 2-2
- Conel chose down
- Koser threw the left leg in, heavy on the head, strong ride
- Conel head briefly on the mat
- Conel standing, Koser too high, Conel slips out the back for the reversal, 4-2
- Cuts him at :28, 4-3
- Conel hangs on, looking very tired
- Hands on hips as he walked off the mat, but secures his Penn State debut
285 #1 Anthony Cassar WBF John Birchmeier, 4:40; PSU 38-0
- Cassar 238.4
- Birchmeier 232.8
- Math: Cassar outweighed this opponent by 5.6 pounds
- 19 bout win streak
- Big beautiful double, immediately into a 2-on-1 tilt, 6-0
- Cut him, 6-1
- Another double for TD2, 8-1
- Note: Anthony Cassar’s double-leg takedowns remain as beautiful as they ever were!
- Birchmeier chose down
- Byers note: Birchmeier played football and was also a member of the competitive cheer squad which won the state championship!!
- Cassar another beautiful double, awkward scramble, but did finish, 10-2
- Threw the right boot in, added an awkward but strong tilt, readjusted and stuck him, at 4:40!
125 Brody Teske DEC Logan Treaster, 2-1; PSU 41-0
- Teske looking upper body, tied up the head, but no scoring attempts from it
- More heavy on the head, but no shots
- Teske chose down
- Battled hard for the escape at about 1:30, 1-0
- Byers: “Teske has a gas tank, no question about that,” but still “making that transition”
- Treaster with a sloppy shot, Teske re-attack, Treaster crawls out to avoid, earns stall warn #1
Period Three, 1-0
- Treaster chose down
- Teske working lefty tight waist, right half, but Treaster worked free for the escape, 1-1
- Both wrestlers with heavy collar ties
- Good battle, but all head & hands, they battle toward the edge, ref dinged Treaster for a terrible stall warn, #2, 2-1
- Treaster in on a shot, big battle during the scramble, but neither finish as time runs out
133 #11 Roman Bravo-Young MD Casey Cobb, 17-6; PSU 45-0
Byers: Cobb is a 3x Idaho State Champ.
- Nice clean double leg for TD1, 2-0
- Cuts him, 2-1
- Tight overhead front headlock by Cobb, but they went out of bounds
- Cobb with a few half-hearted shots, but RBY blocks each
- Then sinks in on the right leg, converts for TD2
- Cuts him, 4-2
- Cobb chose down, escaped quickly, 4-3
- RBY working the head, strong snap, but missed the ankle shot attempt
- Sweet level-change to double-leg, plus quick cut, 6-4
- Head inside single for TD4, 8-4, kept the ride until end of period
Period Three, 8-4
- RBY chose neutral
- Crazy quickness, grabs an ankle, chases Cobb to the finish for TD5, cuts him, 10-5
- TD5 at the edge, 12-5, they go out of bounds, with :19 left
- Cuts him, to make it 12-6 (plus RT, still not enough for the Major), to mandate that he needs another takedown
- Cobb in on a leg attempting to expire the clock, but RBY throws the other leg over to expose Cobb’s back and earn 4 near-fall points before time expired!
On the Mic
Vincenzo Joseph, the Ridge Riley Award-winner for most outstanding wrestler of the meet, went on the mic with Byers afterward:
- On Edsell: “He’s one of my roommates, a big strong farm boy”
- On his last year: “Yeah, it’s taken me 4 years to get a Ridge Riley award, so I’m psyched. And Zain gave it to me, so I got to take a picture with Zain, so that was cool. Yeah, last year, so I’m just doing everything I can to be on top of my game. I love everything about this place, I love wrestling here, I just want to cherish all of it.”
- On Conel, Byers asking how quickly & easily has he fit into the Penn State culture: “Yeah, so when I first heard he was coming here, I didn’t really know what he was gonna be like. From watching him wrestle, he seemed like a passionate, wrestle-hard, get-after-it guy...He is THE nicest person I’ve ever met, in my entire life. I absolutely love Kyle Conel. He’s an awesome addition to our team, fits in very well and we’re lucky to have him. Always in a great mood, happy all the time, brings a great energy to practice. He’s great to talk to, we’re both on a very similar diet, so we like to talk to each other about stuff like that, about weight-cutting.
- On next week at the Army Invitational, the only collegiate tourney experience PSU will get before the postseason: “the team is heading to Army, but I think Anthony & I will be heading to the Bill Farrell instead, to get some Freestyle experience. It’ll be my first Freestyle competition in a while, I’m really excited, I hope I get Nolf first match. (Byers laughs) Yeah, there’s a chance we’ll wrestle, but we’ve been wrestling against each other since we were 8 years old.”
- On the decision to go to the Bill Farrell, and on wrestling future after PSU: “Yeah, as far as I know right now, that’s my plan, to do Freestyle after. Just trying to get in great shape for that. I mean, I like wrestling a lot, I love freestyle wrestling, I haven’t really been competing that much the past few years, because for me it’d just be really hard on my body. After going through a long season, to just dive right back into it, I didn’t really have the drive for it. But you know, just took it in this offseason, and now I’m really ready to dive in, ready to compete, I’m looking forward to it, and I think I can balance both, Folkstyle, Freestyle pretty well.
This should be a pretty interesting season, with lots of these kinds of duals where fans get to see a lot more of Penn State’s wrestling room depth. The three returning National Champions (Vincenzo in 2017 & 2018, Mark Hall in 2017 and Anthony Cassar in 2019) are each ready to pull double duty in Folkstyle & Freestyle as they prepare for the December Freestyle Senior Nationals, the March Folkstyle NCAA Championships and the April Olympic Trials.
Cael said at last Wednesday’s Media Day that 125 & 149 are both “open” for competition, while the rest of the weights are mostly settled. Brody Teske made his debut but struggled to demonstrate much of a scoring arsenal at 125, but at 149 Luke Gardner showed a bit of his. It should be very interesting to see how each perform next weekend at the Army Invitational, along with their competitors for those starting spots, Devin Schnupp and Jarod Verkleeren.
Today, in an abundance of caution, the coaches held out Brady Berge, who is set to take over 157 and is recovering from a concussion at the U23 World Championships, and 2018 197-pound All-American Shakur Rasheed, who is set to man 184 again this season after offseason knee surgery. Expectations are high for both when they are eventually deemed healthy enough to again compete with the first-string.
Rounding out the lineup, both of the other returning All-Americans, Roman Bravo-Young at 133 and Nick Lee at 141 looked like their dominant 2019 selves.
All in all, today’s performance provided evidence that this year’s version of the Penn State Wrestling Dynasty is both capable of winning their 5th team title in a row (and 9th in 10 years) and also that there remain a few vital questions that still need to be answered as this season plays out.