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Wrestling Preview: No. 2 Penn State vs Maryland

The Nittany Lions return home to take on a McCoy-less Maryland squad.

NCAA Wrestling: Penn State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The first (and last!) Rec Hall dual of the season comes this week against the Maryland Terrapins, now coached by Alex Clemsen and having an otherwise fairly forgettable year. The Terps were all set to wrestle against Rutgers this weekend but canceled the dual last minute (amid drama and finger-pointing, which seems a bit apropos), and now they’re heading up to State College.

The jury’s still out on what, if any, bonus matches will occur in this midweek dual, especially with the confusion surrounding the four match minimum (& what it entails), coupled with Ohio State’s apparent declining of sending out wrestlers to log bonus matches of Friday. There’s still talk of Rutgers and PSU scheduling some additional matches on their own before the Big Ten tournament (which will especially help Beau Bartlett and Robbie Howard on the PSU squad), but as of now, this dual is officially the only one left prior to the conference tourney at the BJC in two weeks.

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State vs Maryland*

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Monday, February 22, 6 pm

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

Video: BTN


#2 Penn State WT Maryland
#2 Penn State WT Maryland
Robert Howard (Fr., Cranford, NJ) OR Baylor Shunk (Fr., Centre Hall, PA) 125 Zach Spence (Fr., Wilmington, DE)
#3 - Roman Bravo-Young (Jr., Tucson, AZ) 133 Jackson Cockrell (Fr., Broken Arrow, OK)
#2 - Nick Lee (Sr., Evansville, IN) OR Beau Bartlett (Fr., Tempe, AZ) 141 Danny Bertoni (Jr., Jefferson, MD) OR Nathan Porter (Fr., Severn, MD)
#17 - Terrell Barraclough (Fr., Kaysville, UT) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Jr., Greensburg, PA) OR Luke Gardner (Sr., Pottsville, PA) OR Beau Bartlett (Fr., Tempe, AZ) 149 Hunter Baxter (Jr., Gibsonia, PA) OR Lucas Cordio (So., Lancaster, MA)
#8 - Brady Berge (Jr., Mantorville, MN) OR Bo Pipher (Sr., Paonia, CO) 157 Michael Doetsch (Sr., Severn, MD)
#14 - Joe Lee (Fr., Evansville, IN) 165 Jonathan Spadafora (Fr., Dix Hills, NY) OR Garrett Fisk (Fr., Severn, MD)
#5 - Carter Starocci (Fr., Erie, PA) OR Creighton Edsall (So., Wyalusing, PA) 174 Philip Spadafora (Jr., Dix Hills, NY)
#2 - Aaron Brooks (So., Hagerstown, MD) 184 Kyle Cochran (Jr., Paramus, NJ)
#16 - Michael Beard (Fr., Pottstown, PA) 197 Jaron Smith (Sr., Columbia, MD) OR Kevin Makosy (Fr., Ijamsville, MD)
#8 - Seth Nevills (So., Clovis, CA) 285 Garrett Kappes (Fr., Bowie, MD)

125 LBS

Howard showed on Friday night why we’re excited to finally have him in the lineup. He showed flashes of brilliance and will absolutely use this week’s loss to learn and grow prospectively, and this dual should really showcase his offense.
Prediction: Howard by major decision

Score: PSU 4, MD 0

133 LBS

RBY seemed utterly pissed at the locked hands call he received at OSU on Friday, and took out his ire on his opponent. I’d like to see a lot more of that whirling dervish of an RBY for the rest of his career, thanks!

Prediction: RBY by fall

Score: PSU 10, MD 0

141 LBS

I have decided to keep predicting a pin for Nick Lee until he gets one—and might just continue after that. He’s so workmanlike on the mat, it’s more surprising that he hasn’t gotten a fall than anything else we’ve seen from him this year. Why not the ultimate outcome in the final dual?

Prediction: N. Lee by fall

Score: PSU 16, MD 0

149 LBS

Well, hello there, Beau Bartlett! I knew that anyone who thought they should be starting in the place of Nick Lee would not be a wrestler who lacks confidence, but Bartlett showed out on Friday night, even in a loss. It’s a good omen of things to come, me thinks—and he won’t choose bottom next time. I think he gets his first collegiate win against Maryland, in a bout not really as close as the final score.
Prediction: Bartlett by decision

Score: PSU 19, MD 0

157 LBS

Berge’s quietly put together an impressive season, pulling out the TDs when he needs them most, at the end of the third period. I doubt he needs those last-minute heroics in this bout, where the only question might be whether he gets bonus. My money’s on him and his extra-protective headgear.

Prediction: Berge by major decision

Score: PSU 23, MD 0

165 LBS

Joe Lee made a mistake and he paid for it; he’s not the first Lee brother in a PSU singlet to do so, and may not be the last. I’m betting he learned a lot from his match with Ethan Smith and will get him next time—I’m more worried about his knee than his psyche. If the injury isn’t as bad as it looked (& Dan Monthly probably wouldn’t have let him go back out if it was), Lee should have a good bounce back match.

Prediction: J Lee by decision

Score: PSU 26, MD 0

174 LBS

FINALLY, Carter Starocci will be able to have a match that, on paper, is more of a breeze (knock on wood). After back-to-back upsets of top four wrestlers in two straight weeks, Starocci will look to pad his stats and get into postseason form. And, please, no extra time on this one, ok?

Prediction: Starocci by major decision

Score: PSU 30, MD 0

184 LBS

Speaking of workmanlike, Aaron Brooks has been going out his business quite methodically this season. And though Tim Johnson thinks he’s the clear number one in the country at this weight, the fact of the matter is that Brooks isn’t ranked number one and still has some apparent respect he needs to earn. How better to do that than by capping off the dual season with a pin?

Prediction: Brooks by fall

Score: PSU 36, MD 0

197 LBS

Holy smokes, Michael Beard, what a way to silence any doubters! The pin on Friday night might have seemed like it took a while, but truly it was a matter of time once Beard got into position. His tank looks decidedly better this year—but who needs to worry about their gas tank if they win their bout before the third period even starts? Certainly not Michael Beard.

Prediction: Beard by decision

Score: PSU 39, MD 0

285 LBS

I originally had Nevills winning by bonus in this bout, but i’m switching to be a little more conservative here because I have lingering worries about his knee after the Parris bout. Prove me wrong, big snacks!

Prediction: Nevills by decision

Score: PSU 42, MD 0

Overall score prediction: PSU 42, MD 0

*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual; Maryland is unranked in both sets. Penn State is ranked third in the tournament rankings and 2nd in the dual meet rankings.