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A Week of Wrestling is Kicking Off the 2023 Season

As Penn State prepares to begin the season hosting Lock Haven this Friday, Cael Sanderson answered some press questions.

Artwork courtesy of Penn State alumnus Ross Bendik, The Foundation for Wrestling Art & Innovation. You can follow Ross’ fun work on twitter @WrestleChicago.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’ta left you.

Without a dope post to step to.

Think a how many weak blogs you slept through.

Times up. Sorry I kept you.

So, what do Antonia Banderas and William Michael Griffin Jr have in common? They’re both helping me dust off the keyboardwebs to talk wrestling with you fine folk once again!

And since it’s been a minute, let’s make sure we get a proper warmup in.

Yesterday is History

Penn State heads into the 2023 season once again the defending champions. They enter the season with a dual win streak of 28 and are so loaded with returning National Champions (4), All-Americans (5) and stud recruits (multiple) that they are the heavy favorites to repeat as National Champions in Tulsa, OK this coming March.

Thus Spake Cael Sanderson

On Monday, November 7, PSU Wrestling kicked off the media portion of its 2023 season with a return to in-person press conferences, and posted Cael’s presser to YouTube. He shared his takes about some members of this year’s lineup.

125: Gary Steen. This was a bit of news to most fans, when Cael announced that Robbie Howard “will not be wrestling, most likely, this year.” Howard followed up with two tweets about his intent to return in 2024 and his appreciation of fan support. Cael added that Ohio State transfer Will Betancourt is “not on our roster.” He added that Gary Steen, “right now, has done a nice job” and will “probably kick things off and hopefully get things rollin.”

Said Steen himself.

133: 2x Champ Roman Bravo-Young.

He’s here, and in school. He’s planning on wrestling. There will be some matches...if we can sit him, we’ll be looking to do that. But right now, the plan is to wrestle a handful of matches.

141: Beau Bartlett.

He’s going 41 and that’s a more natural weight for him. He had to work to keep his weight up (at 149 the past two years). He’s strong enough and good enough that he was competitive there. He was right in the mix, but I think he feels a little more comfortable at 141. Just like all the guys on our team, he’s just got to be himself and go score points, and he’ll do really well.

Said Bartlett himself.

149: Shayne Van Ness.

He’s a goer, and he just had some nagging injuries that he had to take care of, so he didn’t get a chance to wrestle much, but he’s really good and he’s a tough kid. He’s going to compete hard and he’s healthy and excited to go.

Said Van Ness himself.

157: Terrell Barraclough / Levi Haines.

At 157, Terrell has had a great offseason and looks better than ever.

Levi Haines is great, he’s consistent, he’s hard-working, coachable — all of those things that you look for in a student-athlete. He’s a great student. I just don’t worry too much about him, which gives us more freedom to worry about other things. He’s an outstanding kid and he should have a tremendous career.

Said BearClaw himself.

165: Alex Facundo.

He got a lot more experience, more matches (than Van Ness, during his own redshirt year last year). Great kid. Quality student athlete and we’re excited to watch him compete.

174: 2x Champ Carter Starocci; 184: 2x Champ Aaron Brooks; 197: 1x Champ Max Dean; 285: 2x AA Greg Kerkvliet

You can improve in technique, your mental approach, there’s so many different ways & avenues that you can improve. Each one of them are gonna be better this year than they’ve been. But again, it’s up to them. They’re the ones who still have to go out there and let it rip when they compete.

Said Dean himself.


2022 1108 NWCA Coaches Poll via

It’s very early, but this feels mostly fair.

Fyre Duals

This Dual was notable because of the plethora of All-Americans battling, and for ISU’s thorough domination. Iowa State’s three returning All-Americans each won (Carr, Coleman & Bastida), while Wisconsin’s five (5!) returning AA’s each lost (Barnett, Lamont, Gomez, Hamiti and Hillger).

In a battle of two 2023 Nittany Lion opponents, former Penn State All-American Michael Beard led his new squad over the visiting Beavers from Oregon State.

The Links

Let’s hear it for my boys:

400 episodes. Well done, lads. Keep em comin!

This was from over the summer, but did you all see these wrestlers who literally fought a bear?

Iowa heavyweight Tony Cassioppi has three younger siblings, who all won their weights at Preseason Nationals. Check out that proud big brother smile!

Lastly, check out this very interesting and compelling blog post from Ben Rosen, who describes the recruiting challenges of small-college wrestling coaches.

Tomorrow is a Mystery

Upcoming Duals

WrestleStat is your go-to here again this year, via this link. They also announced a change in viewing behavior for the indispensable site:

A few of my favorite duals this weekend:

Friday, November 11:

  • Lock Haven at Penn State, on BTN+
  • Virginia Tech at Ohio State, on Flo
  • Michigan at Campbell, on UFC Fight Pass

Saturday, November 12:

  • Oklahoma State at Lehigh, on Flo
  • Arizona State at Rutgers, on Rokfin

Sunday, November 13:

  • Cal Baptist at Iowa, on BTN+
  • Missouri at Arizona State


Oh, hell to the yes: Ant the Champ is hittin the octagonal arts; let’s go, Champ!

@nerfstate gif creator

Today is a Gift

Nebraska 3x All-American Chad Red finished his last year of eligibility in Detroit this past March but he now faces a new fight, off the mat:

Let’s hold our loved ones close as we remember today’s gift, and wish Chad the healthiest of recoveries.

As always, I invite feedback of all flavors. Please feel free to engage in the comments below or on twitter @JpPearson71. Also please consider bookmarking this link to BSD Wrestle’s Home.