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Wrestling Preview: No. 3 Penn State vs Army West Point

We know a little bit more this week about what this team’s about this season, and it’s mostly good!

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Wrestling Championship Photo by Scott Rovak/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The first home PSU dual of the season is on…a Thursday?
Yes, that’s right! The boys are back home and ready to knock the socks off of Rec Hall in an out of conference dual that features five ranked matchups!
Army is well coached (Kevin Ward was a good hire for them, and had last year’s 157 lb NCAA runner up Jesse Dellavecchia join his staff this fall as an assistant) and a good team (with seven qualifiers in the NCAA tournament in 2020), but a young one—they added fourteen wrestlers in this past year’s recruiting class. This should be another good early test for PSU before the Thanksgiving break, and then facing Mark Hall and Penn, followed by Lehigh.

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State* vs Army West Point

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Thursday, November 18, 7 pm

Audio: Free, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN+ ($)

Army West Point

#3 Penn State WT Army West Point
#3 Penn State WT Army West Point
Brandon Meredith (Jr., Limerick, PA) OR Baylor Shunk (So., Centre Hall, PA) OR Drew Hildebrandt (Sr., Granger, IN) 125 Ryan Chauvin (Jr., Orlando, FL)
#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ) 133 Mark Montgomery (So., Roselle Park, NJ)
#2 - Nick Lee (Sr., Evansville, IN) 141 #29 - Corey Shie (Sr., Fairfield, OH)
#27 - Beau Bartlett (So., Tempe, AZ) 149 #20 - PJ Ogunsanya (Sr., River Forest, IL)
#24 - Joe Lee (So., Evansville, IN) OR Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT) 157 #32 - Markus Hartman (Sr., Barrington, IL)
Alex Facundo (Fr., Essexville, MI) OR #32 - Creighton Edsall (Jr., Wyalusing, PA) 165 Clayton Fielden (So., Garrett, IN)
#1 - Carter Starocci (So., Erie, PA) 174 #21 - Ben Pasiuk (So., Carrollton, OH)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Jr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 #28 - Brad Laughlin (Sr., Yorktown, IN)
#4 - Max Dean (Jr., Lowell, MI) OR Michael Beard (So., Pottstown, PA) 197 #21 - JT Brown (Sr., Elyria, OH)
#5 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN) 285 Ben Sullivan (Sr., New Paris, OH)

125 LBS

I was super impressed with Baylor Shunk last weekend in going 1-1; he absolutely dominated his Sacred Heart opponent from the jump, and while I know it was Sacred Heart, it’s still heartening. I think he builds on that this week in front of the home crowd (plus he out-took down OSU’s Kaylor despite the loss, and what a gas tank!)

Prediction: Shunk by decision

Score: PSU 3, Army 0

133 LBS

Speaking of impressive—RBY started his final campaign with a bang. I expect more of that as the season goes on, with a limited few exceptions.

Prediction: RBY by tech fall

Score: PSU 8, Army 0

141 LBS

Nick Lee wanted that major against Oregon State so bad he could taste it—and two seconds more, he would’ve had it. I spoke last week about the understandable but still disrespectful rankings he’s continually subject to, and that only works to Nick’s advantage. I think last weekend will be one of a number of non-bonus point wins you can count on one hand for Lee this year.

Prediction: N. Lee by major decision

Score: PSU 12, Army 0

149 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

Bartlett jumped into the rankings this week after knocking off a ranked wrestler 1-0 late Saturday, which means this is the ranked vs ranked bout with the closest differential. And while some might be underwhelmed by that score Beau put up vs OSU, I’m not one of them! That third period ride out was a thing of beauty, having bellied out the Beaver almost immediately. More of that, please!

Prediction: Beau by decision

Score: PSU 15, Army 0

157 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

A 149er normally, Joey Blumer gave his all last week despite it not ultimately showing in the victory column. I expect Terrell Barraclough to be back this week, though, which means this one should be a good one. I expect Hartman to strike quickly and often early, and though Bearclaw will have a chance to win it late, he’ll come up just short. Will learn a ton in this bout, though.

Prediction: Hartman by decision

Score: PSU 15, Army 3

165 LBS

I expected Facundo last weekend, but if Creighton Edsell keeps wrestling as he did, there should be no reason to pull off Facundo’s redshirt. He entered the rankings this week and will keep moving up.

Prediction: Edsell by decision

Score: PSU 18, Army 3

174 LBS

I’m not one to say I told you so (ok, who am I kidding, I love it)—last week I said Starocci’s season would be the opposite of last year’s close wins, and so far, so good! According to Jeff Byers, Carter is the most improved guy in the wrestling room this year, which means, watch out rest of the field at 174…I wouldn’t be surprised if this bout doesn’t last all 7 minutes, but Pasiuk is last year’s EIWA champ at this weight so I think he’ll be one of Starocci’s closest opponents on the season when all is said and done.

Prediction: Starocci by major decision

Score: PSU 22, Army 3

184 LBS

Aaron Brooks helped David Taylor win an Olympic gold this year, and that only helps. He’ll compete with Carter as PSU’s best chances at the Hodge this year.

Prediction: Brooks by fall

Score: PSU 28, Army 3

197 LBS

Hearing Byers talk about how close Max Dean and Michael Beard have become, before and after their one-point bout for the starting slot, was music to my ears. I’m excited to see what Dean can do here, as there’s a definite opportunity to improve on last year’s AA result (whether it’s still Dean, or Beard later on).

Prediction: Dean by major decision

Score: PSU 32, Army 3

285 LBS

Kerk tech falles gas tank Gary last weekend, and chose top to start the third. He will be absolutely fine against anyone not named Gable Steveson this year.

Prediction: Kerk by tech fall

Score: PSU 37, Army 3

Overall score prediction: PSU 37, Army 3

*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; in those rankings, Penn State is #2. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual; Army West Point is unranked in both sets of rankings.