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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs Navy


2018 NCAA Div I Wrestling Championships Session Three Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

I’m sure I was this excited to have wrestling back last year, but it was tinged with a hint of sadness as it would be the last season we’d see Bo Nickal and Jason Nolf in the blue and white. This year, we’ve got the final seasons of Mark Hall, Cenzo Joseph, and Shakur Rasheed to be sad about look forward to, but all I can think about is finally seeing Kyle Conel with Penn State across his chest! What a time to be alive, and a Nittany Lion fan.

The Nittany Lions kick off the 2019-2020 season against the Navy Midshipmen, who’ve actually wrestled two duals already this season (including a not-blowout loss to Wisconsin in Fresno last week). Navy is a tough opponent who’s up to the task if the Lions let them in a bit, with two ranked wrestlers in their lineup - and given that PSU likely wrestles some backups as presumed (and ranked) starters will be sitting this early, it may be closer than some folks expect.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs Navy

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, November 10, 2 pm

Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN+ (subscription only)


#1 Penn State WT Navy
#1 Penn State WT Navy
Devin Schnupp (Jr., Lititz, PA) OR Brody Teske (Fr., Duncombe, IA) 125 Logan Treaster (Jr., Newton, KS)
#3 - Roman Bravo-Young (So., Tucson, AZ) 133 Casey Cobb (Jr., Nampa, ID) OR Jacob Allen (So., Poway, CA)
#3 - Nick Lee (Jr., Evansville, IN) 141 Cody Trybus (Jr., Elkton, MD) OR Wyatt Long (Jr., Mechanicsburg, PA)
Luke Gardner (Jr., Pottsville, PA) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA) 149 Morgan Fuenffinger (So., Mountain Iron, MN)
#6 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Bo Pipher (Jr., Paonia, CO) 157 Scout Skidgel (Jr., Tulsa, OK)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Sr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #11 - Tanner Skidgel (Jr., Tulsa, OK) OR Dillon Taylor (Jr., Elmer, NJ)
#1 - Mark Hall (Sr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 #17 - Spencer Carey (Sr., Ringwood, NJ)
#3 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) OR Creighton Edsell (Fr., Wyalusing, PA) 184 Andrew Buckley (Jr., Smithfield, KY)
#3 - Kyle Conel (Sr., Ashtabula, OH) 197 Jacob Koser (Fr., Dillsburg, PA)
#1 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) 285 John Birchmeier (Fr., Ashburn, VA)

125 LBS

Prediction: Treaster by decision

Score: PSU 0, Navy 3

133 LBS

Bravo-Young finished the season incredibly strong, with an impressive showing (albeit in a loss) against Iowa’s Austin DeSanto and then making the podium. He’s going to build on that this year, and challenge deeper into the draw in March. It all starts this weekend.

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 4, Navy 3

141 LBS

Speaking of it all starting here...Nick Lee’s preseason third, and it’s good to be the underdog. He’ll take a step up even further from competition last year and take advantage of the Yianni void this year. I think he’ll deck Pletcher in the dual and be #1 for the rest of the season.

Prediction: Lee by pin

Score: PSU 10, Navy 3

149 LBS

Most of us were expecting to see Verk at this weight this year; he did really well splitting time with Berge last year, including a great showing at Ohio State. But the rumors that Luke Gardner beat Verkleeren in the wrestle offs this year put everything in a different light; this first dual should tell us a lot.

Prediction: Gardner by major decision

Score: PSU 14. Navy 3

157 LBS

Speaking of questions in the wrestle comes Bo Pipher into the discussion. Berge may not be at 100% so far this year, so we’ll likely not have any questions answered in this weight yet either.

Prediction: Pipher by decision

Score: PSU 17, Navy 3

165 LBS

Prediction: Joseph by major decision

Score: PSU 21, Navy 3

174 LBS

See above; it’s funny how Hall and Cenzo’s paths have been so intertwined, and they’re the two who are facing Navy’s ranked wrestlers. Hall’s path is even clearer to a second title as nemesis Zahid Valencia bumped up this year, and he’ll start off with a bang.

Prediction: Hall by pin

Score: PSU 27, Navy 3

184 LBS

Shak is not likely to wrestle this week, so we’ll see what NEPA’s Edsell has in his tanks to kick off the season. Buckley will quiet the crowds who were pumped after Mark’s bonus.

Prediction: Buckley by decision

Score: PSU 27, Navy 6

197 LBS

If there’s one wrestler who could make me feel even a modicum of better now that Bo’s gone, it’s Kyle Conel. The KSU transfer will forever have a place in my heart after beating Kollin Moore (two times!) in Cleveland in 2018, but his interviews in this year’s wrestling media days make me like him even more.

Kyle Conel | Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling fans -- get to know Kyle Conel, the newest member of the squad!

Posted by Penn State Nittany Lion Wrestling on Thursday, November 7, 2019

He may not be the starter by the end of the year if Michael Beard has anything to say about it, but I’m excited to see what he brings right now. I don’t expect the bonus points to come immediately, but the longer he’s in that wrestling room, the more he’ll rack them up.

Prediction: Conel by decision

Score: PSU 30, Navy 6

285 LBS

The Champ is back! Long live the Champ! I don’t know why, but I think he comes out firing.

Prediction: Cassar by pin

Score: PSU 36, Navy 6