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)|
I don’t know what to expect at this weight this early this year, so this prediction’s going to basically be a crapshoot. Brody Teske has the capability to put up bonus here, but we don’t even know if he’s wrestling! And Devin Schnupp finally got some wins last season, but as we all know, it’s a tough going for him. Instead of picking either one, I’m going to throw a Gulibon on this opening match and pick Logan Treaster to kick things off with a win for Navy. Last weekend, Treaster did beat Badger Cullen (1-0) so I’m not even sure that’d be an upset.
Prediction: Treaster by decision
Score: PSU 0, Navy 3
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
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
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
Speaking of questions in the wrestle offs...in 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
Cenzo got upset in the finals in Pittsburgh last year, but if he had to lose, at least it wasn’t to the Bull. He’ll be out for a vengeance this year in a more open weight that’s now his to lose as the only returning champ, and he’ll look to have fun and put his stamp on things early. His opponent this week is ranked, but Evan Wick majored him last weekend. I expect more of the same, but...more. Almost a tech with near fall, but not quite a pin.
Prediction: Joseph by major decision
Score: PSU 21, Navy 3
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
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
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.
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
The Champ is back! Long live the Champ! I don’t know why, but I think he comes out firing.
Prediction: Cassar by pin