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Wrestling Preview: Penn State vs. Lehigh

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Mark Hall and Jordan Kutler highlight the dual between in-state rivals.

COLLEGE WRESTLING: DEC 03 Penn State v Lehigh Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Penn State wrestling gets back in action for the first time since its long win-streak was snapped two weeks ago by Arizona State.

The Nittany Lions will stay on the road, but are much closer as they’ll head to Lehigh University to take on the Mountainhawks at Stabler Arena.

We’ll take you match by match and see whether the Nittany Lions can get back on track.

125: Brody Teske vs. No. 11 Nick Paetzell

Teske struggled far more than I think most people imagined he would against Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney, but I feel he matches up far better with Paetzell. The Lehigh wrestler is 4-2 on the year with a pair of losses coming to Nick Piccininni and Pat Glory, not too shabby. He’s not really known to push the pace and score the way Courtney does, though, so I’d expect this one to be close in the final minute of the match. I lean toward Paetzell, but an upset wouldn’t shock me.

Prediction: Paetzell dec. Teske

Lehigh 3, PSU 0

133: No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 19 Nick Farro

Like Teske, I was a bit underwhelmed by RBY in Tempe. He got an early lead then clung on for dear life down the stretch. Not what you want to see from a guy you expect to be one of your top point scorers in March. Last year he knocked off Farro 4-1 in Rec Hall, including a wild backflip takedown defense that landed him on Sportscenter. I think with a year under his belt and some time off to reset, he widens the gap this time. Though I still think it’s just a decision

Prediction: Bravo-Young dec. Farro

PSU 3, Lehigh 3

141: No. 3 Nick Lee vs. Ryan Pomrinca

Nick Lee is the best 141-pound wrestler in the country this season. I’m not sure it’s close either. Sure, Luke Pletcher looks good and Dom Demas has beaten him, but Demas is more of a style issue than anything and I can’t see Pletcher keeping Lee off this legs. Last year this match was a 23-10 major decision in the dual. I don’t think it gets all seven minutes this year.

Prediction: Lee TF Pomrinca

PSU 8, Lehigh 3

149: Luke Gardner OR Jarod Verkleeren vs. Jimmy Hoffman

J-Verk had a shot to seize some control of this spot with a win over Josh Maruca. As we all know, that didn’t happen. I now think it’ll be split starts this weekend, with Gardner getting the go against Lehigh. I though Gardner had looked pretty good up until his match with Verkleeren, which really doesn’t tell us a ton. His closest match was a 3-0 win over Army’s PJ Ogunsanya who I think will be an NCAA qualifier. Give me Gardner in another tight one against Hoffman.

Prediction; Luke Gardner dec. Jimmy Hoffman

PSU 11, Lehigh 3

157: No. 8 Brady Berge OR Bo Pipher vs. No. 11 Josh Humphreys

Brady Berge time? It’s possible, but I’d bet he’s held out until January. If he goes, I think he tops Humphreys, who impressed me a ton a year ago but has struggled a bit more than I envisioned this season. I do, however, give him the nod over Pipher who is still maintaining weight in order to be able to go down and compete for the spot at 149.

Prediction: Humphreys dec. Pipher

PSU 11, Lehigh 6

165: No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph vs. Brian Meyer

Meyer is a 2-7 redshirt freshman who somehow wrestled Isaiah White to a 4-3 decision loss and Travis Wittlake to a 3-1 decision loss. That won’t happen tonight.

Prediction: Joseph FALL Meyer

PSU 17, Lehigh 6

174: No. 1 Mark Hall vs. No. 2 Jordan Kutler

Kutler is prooobably the third best guy in this weight behind Hall and Kemerer, but he’s certainly damn good and just does not get scored on very often. Unfortunately, he’s not at Mark Hall’s level. Hall holds 6-2, 4-0 and 3-2 victories over Kutler in their college careers, with Hall scoring more points each time. Kutler is too good for this to be blown open, but I doubt the result is ever really in question.

Prediction: Mark Hall dec. Jordan Kutler

PSU 20, Lehigh 6

184: No. 5 Shakur Rasheed OR Creighton Edsell vs. Chris Weilier

Rasheed, like Berge, I would expect to be held out until January despite probably being ready to go if necessary. Edsell, who was held out for medical reasons at ASU, would be the sure replacement if he’s good to go. Weiler’s had a funny career. He was an NCAA qualifier in 2018 at 197 and fell a hair short of becoming an All-American, losing 3-2 in the bloodround. Last year he lost the starting spot and went 21-10 unattached, including a 20-8 loss to Michael Beard. He’s down at 184 this year and has been inconsistent thus far, but I give him the nod over Edsell.

Prediction: Weiler dec. Edsell

PSU 20, Lehigh 12

197: No. 19 Kyle Conel vs. Jake Jakobsen

We all know the deal with Conel at this point. So much of wrestling is about health and confidence, and I’m not sure where either of those are at for him right now. But he’ll be the man at 197 at least until January. If he’s going to figure it out, it probably has to start here against a returning NCAA qualifier in Jakobsen, who went 2-2 at the tournament last year. He’s just 4-4 so far this year but all four of those losses were to ranked wrestlers and last time out he picked up a solid 4-1 win over former Nittany Lions Kellan Stout. Right now I just have a hard time picking Conel against anyone who is NCAA Tournament caliber.

Prediction: Jakobsen dec. Conel

PSU 20, Lehigh 12

285: No. 1 Anthony Cassar vs. No. 11 Jordan Wood

Last year this match served notice to the rest of the college wrestling world as Cassar thrashed Wood to the tune of a 12-3 major decision. Wood then went on to reach the NCAA semifinals and nearly the finals when he took Derek White to sudden victory. This year has started poorly for Wood, who is 4-2 with losses to a very game Demetrius Thomas of Pitt and a potential All-American in Tate “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff of Utah Valley. There’s been some scuttlebutt of injury issues for Wood, but nothing confirmed. I like Cassar against a healthy Jordan Wood, if Wood is dinged up it could get really ugly.

Prediction: Cassar MD. Wood

PSU 24, Lehigh 12