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Penn State Wrestling: US Open Preview

Lots of news to cover this week, friends, as we ramp up to this weekend’s US Open. First, let’s see how our Team USA wrestlers looked at the Pan Am Championships in Buenos Aires.

David Taylor advances to the gold medal match at Pan Ams

Pan Am Results

Team USA went 10 for 10, winning gold at every freestyle weight class. If you’re a newcomer to wrestling, you might think, “but the Central and South Americans don’t really wrestle much though, right? How tough could it be?” To which we answer, Cuba. Cuba is good. And another thing is that Team USA’s never gone 10 for 10 before, ever. So there’s that aspect to it. Last, it wasn’t that long ago that USA was losing this thing, or nearly so. The dominance last weekend in Buenos Aires was absolutely stunning.

57KG - Nittany Lion Wrestling Club’s Josh Rodriguez opened with a really impressive 7-2 win over Cuba’s U23 Gold medalist (and super freak wrestler) Reineri Andreu Ortega. After a 10-0 tech in the second round, Josh got surprised by a Canadian, Darthe Capellan, and found himself in a 4-0 hole. But he put on amazing pressure and pace, attacked the rest of the way, and came all the way back for a 6-4 victory in the semis. In the final, Josh smashed his Colombian opponent, 10-0. What a great performance for Josh.

61KG - Joe Colon (Fresno) looked amazing. The 2018 World Bronze medalist (who was an injury substitute for Nahshon Garrett) took out the 2018 World Gold medalist Bonne Rodriguez in the first round, 9-3. Joe’s counter offense is excellent, and once he gets on top, he doesn’t waste the point scoring opportunity. He probably owns the best gut wrench in the States, with apologies to Daton Fix. Past that first hurdle, Joe 10-0 tech’d his way to gold.

65KG - Colton McCrystal (Nebraska). You remember him from dual meets, and some heart breaking losses in the blood round at NCAAs. If Colt had wrestled all his NCAA matches in Buenos Aires, maybe he’s a national champ. Down south, he put on an offensive show: 11-0 tech, 15-6, and 12-1 tech over the Cuban in the final for gold.

70KG - Anthony Ashnault (NJRTC). Shnaulty had four matches, and posted 3 techs and 1 pin. Not too shabby.

74KG - Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska). The 5-time world medalist breezed through the field, right? Nope. He ran into NLWC’s Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico) in the second round, and came as close to death as possible without actually dying. Jordan surrendered a takedown to Franklin with 10 seconds remaining, that tied the match at 2, but put Franklin ahead on criteria. Then Jordan answered it back with less than 1 second remaining.

79KG - Chandler Rogers (Okie State) pinned in the final for gold, doing Chandler Rogers things.

86KG - David Taylor (NLWC) went Pin, Pin, Tech, Tech. It’s been almost 2 years since anyone on planet Earth has beaten David Taylor at 86KG, by the way. The bump up appears to have paid off.

92KG - J’Den Cox (MIZZ) got past Jaime Espinal (NLWC - Puerto Rico) in the first round, and pinned in the final for gold.

97KG - Kyle Snyder (Ohio RTC) had the grizzly old Cuban, Salas, in the final, but Salas had to injury default.

125KG - Nick Gwiazdowski (NCST) posted 4 tech falls while allowing only a one point. So...pretty good.

Ten for Ten. Really awesome.

US Open - Greco

Continuing the awesome things, the US Open starts this weekend in Las Vegas. Penn State / Nittany Lion Wrestling Club entered not one, not two, but THREE wrestlers into the Greco pool. Jarod Verkleeren is registered at 67kg (and also at Senior Freestyle 70kg). Mason Manville is at 77kg, and Ben Provisor is back at 87kg. How cool is that? Also, Okie State’s Chandler Rogers registered at 82kg, which is really exciting for America.

US Open - Freestyle

This might be the best US Open field in a long time. There are a ton of outstanding wrestlers registered - and this, despite the 2018 world medalists sitting out. USA Wrestling is really coming on strong. To the individual weight classes.


Darian Cruz LEH Brody Teske PSU
Daton Fix OKST Cevion Severado MIZZ
Eddie Klimara OKST Jakob Comacho NCST
Frank Perelli CORN Joey Melendez UNC
Jarrod Patterson OU Julian Tagg UNC
Jesse Delgado ILL Luke Werner LHU
Josh Rodriguez NLWC Malik Heinselman OHST
Nathan Tomasello OHST Pat Glory PRIN
Nick Piccininni OKST RayVon Foley MSU
Sebastian Rivera JNW Shane Metzler RUTG
Thomas Gilman IOWA Studd Morris OKST
Vito Arujau CORN Trevor Mastrogiovanni OKST
Zane Richards ILL Zurich Storm NCST

Seniors: Josh Rodriguez gets the 8-seed (preseed) according to Flo. If you didn’t read the notes above, J-Rod’s been on a long, upward trend. He wrestled extremely well at the Open last year, and just took Pan Am gold. If another weigh-in doesn’t cause issues, Josh looks like a great pick to outperform his seed.

Juniors: for this weekend, at least, Brody Teske plans to wrestle 125 lbs - well, actually, 125.6622 lbs - despite everyone except Brody proclaiming him to be a 133lber. So that’s something to watch. Also note that Okie State has an entrant named Studd Morris. That’s the most Oklahoma sounding name I can think of, with the possible exception of Tuff Hedeman.


Alan Waters MIZZ Anthony Madrigal OU
Tony Ramos UNC Colin Valdiviez JNW
Ben Whitford MICH Gabe Tagg UNC
Cody Brewer OU Jordan Decatur OHST
Cory Clark IOWA Josh Saunders CORN
Earl Hall ISU Roman Bravo Young PSU
Johnni DiJulius OHST
Jordan Conaway PSU
Nico Megaludis PSU
Shelton Mack PITT
Tyler Graff WISC

Seniors: Nico gets the 1-seed, and would likely see Johnni DiJulius or Shelton Mack in the quarters, and Cory Clark in the semis. Fan favorite Jordan Conaway will also be in the field, but randomly drawn.

Juniors: RBY is back at it, and freestyle fits him pretty well. Decatur and Saunders are both top 10 type recruits, but RBY looks like a solid favorite here.


BJ Futrell ILL Andrew Alirez NCO
Brandon Wright NYAC Cole Matthews PITT
Bryce Meredith WYO Jaden Abas STAN
Dean Heil OKST JoJo Aragona RUTG
Dom Demas OU Keegan O'Toole MIZZ
Evan Henderson UNC Quinn Kinner OHST
Frank Molinaro PSU Yahya Thomas JNW
Jaydin Eierman MIZZ
Joey McKenna OHST
Joey Ward UNC
Joey Lazor UNI
Jordan Oliver OKST
Josh Finesilver DUKE
Josh Dziewa IOWA
Kaden Gfeller OKST
Kanen Storr MICH
Montell Marion IOWA
Nick Dardanes MINN
Nick Lee PSU
Tristan Moran WISC
Yianni Diakomihalis CORN
Zain Retherford PSU

Seniors: Wow. With so many great wrestlers registered, this is going to be a blood bath. Fortunately for PSU fans, we’re cheering for Zain and Frank, who are really exceptional at blood bathing. Zain is the 2-seed, and Frank is the 4, so they won’t butcher each other until the final, which is nice. Nick Lee, we love you, too. But daggone, son. Just come out of this smiling and healthy.

Juniors: probably Andrew Alirez whoops this field. But it’s a chance to see some of the incoming big name recruits, like Ohio State’s Quinn Kinner.


Alec Pantaleo MICH Jacori Teemer PRIN
Anthony Collica OKST Quincy Monday UNC
Brandon Sorensen IOWA
David Carr ISU
Destin McCauley NEB
James Green NEB
Jarod Verkleeren PSU
Jason Nolf PSU
Jason Chamberlain FRES
Josh Kindig OKST
Kevin Jack NCST
Lavion Mayes MIZZ
Max Thomsen UNI
Nazar Kulchytskyy WISC
Ryan Deakin JNW
Ty Lydic Latrobe

Seniors: Jason Nolf’s the 4-seed, on James Green’s side. Jason Chamberlain and Brandon Sorensen are the 2- and 3-seeds - which has been earned, but is not exactly how we’d think of it.

Juniors: (crickets)


Alex Marinelli IOWA Gerrit Nijenhuis PURD
Anthony Valencia ASU Jaden Mattox OHST
Brian Murphy MICH Joe Lee PSU
Dan Vallimont PSU Julian Ramirez CORN
Evan Wick WISC Nelson Brands IOWA
Isaiah Martinez ILL Patrick Kennedy IOWA
Jared Frayer VATECH Travis Wittlake OKST
Joey Lavallee MIZZ Zach Hartman BUCK
Josh Shields ASU
Logan Massa MICH
Chase Pami PENN
Tommy Gannt NCST

Seniors: no Cenzo, who is taking a break. I-Mar looks like the guy to beat here. He just posted an outstanding World Cup over in - I dunno where it was. Somewhere in the hinterlands of Eastern Europe. //uses google machine. Yakutsk, Russia - which is Asia. It’s way, way out there.

Juniors: this should be a real hoot. Wittlake, the former PSU commit, has the most freestyle credentials. He’ll battle it out with PSU’s Joe Lee (Nick’s brother), and a pair of Iowa guys.


Alex Dieringer OKST Aaron Brooks PSU
Chance Marsteller LHU Dustin Plott OKST
Geno Morelli PSU
Joe Smith OKST
Nate Jackson IND
Travis Stefanik PRIN

Seniors: no Mark Hall. But DuBois’ own Geno Morelli registered.

Juniors: Aaron Brooks. Remember the name. Watch him wrestle. Get excited for things to come in blue and white.


Cam Caffey MSU Abe Assad IOWA
Chris Weiler LEH Gavin Hoffman OHST
Hunter Bolen VATECH Jack Jessen JNW
Josh Asper UMD Kordell Norfleet ASU
Kenny Courts OHST Luke McGonigal LHU
Max Dean CORN Trent Hidlay NCST
Myles Martin OHST
Nick Heflin OHST

Seniors: as a returning gold medalist, David Taylor has a BYE to the Team USA final, and thus, is not entering the Open. Sammy Brooks is the 1-seed. Myles Martin could get a rematch with Max Dean. Kenny Courts is still lacing ‘em up. Good for Kenny.

Juniors: Trent Hidlay put on some weight, it appears.


Ben Honis CORN Brad Wilton MSU
Bo Nickal PSU Dakota Howard VATECH
Cody Walters OHIO Jake Woodley OU
Jay Aiello UVA Lucas Davison JNW
Kollin Moore OHST Mark Chaid UNC
Mike Macchiavello NCST Michael Beard PSU
Nikko Reyes ILL
Patrick Brucki PRIN
Riley LeFevre NLWC
Scottie Boykin UTC
Timmy McCall NCST
TJ Dudley NEB

Seniors: Bo Nickal gets the 2-seed, behind only Hayden Zillmer. NLWC’s Riley Lefever is the 8-seed. Gonna be a lot of fun watching Bo move on this field.

Juniors: say hello to Michael Beard, then watch him take 8 million leg attacks. He’s also a hammer on top, but you won’t get to see that until November.


Blaize Cabell FRES Tanner Sloan SDSU
Don McNeil RID
Kevin Beazley MICH
Kyven Gadson ISU
Mike Boykin NCST
Wynn Michalak MSU

Seniors: did Wynn Michalak lose a bet or something? He was a Central Michigan senior in 2008 - eleven long years ago. Bully for Wynn.

Juniors: you can register for the Open until 1-day prior to it starting, so maybe there’ll be more names coming.


Adam Coon MICH Anthony Cassioppi IOWA
AJ Nevills FRES Brendan Furman CORN
Derek White OKST Gavin Nye CSU
Dom Bradley NEB Jack Heyob JNW
Nick Nevills PSU John Borst VATECH
Tanner Hall ASU Seth Nevills PSU
Youssif Hemida UMD

Seniors: congratulations, Nick Nevills. The newest addition to the NLWC room, Nick’s ready to go to work in freestyle.

Juniors: so his Nick’s brother, Seth. The Nevills-es are relative freestyle newbies, but Big Snacks could do some damage in this field.