After a pretty good two-bout swing through the east, the Nittany Lion grapplers are back home to take on Oregon State.
Last season, the Beavers traveled to Pennsylvania and were one of two teams that PSU faced at a tri-meet early in the season, with the Penn State squad’s lineup still up in the air; this year, it’s a different story, with the Nittany Lions a resounding team title favorite with half the starting lineup either ranked number one or defending a national title, and other young guns having all but solidified their place in the dual meet discussion. Plus, we’re back in Rec Hall!
I’ve got a lot of respect for the Oregon State squad for traveling East two years running, in order to take on the most dominant wrestling program of the last decade. It’s not an easy ask, and the results on the mat will likely show that.
Penn State was on the road last we posted, facing Rider and Lehigh, and most of the outcomes were as-expected (especially with returning champs Aaron Brooks and Roman Bravo-Young each sitting out one of the duals) - save for 197. Max Dean had a rough weekend, going 0-for-2 as the number one ranked wrestler and heading back to State College with some stuff to work on and plenty of time to get back in the groove before March.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs #25 Oregon State*
Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA
When: Sunday, December 11, 2 pm
Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)
Video: ESPN+ ($$)
|#1 Penn State||WT||#25 Oregon State|
|#1 Penn State||WT||#25 Oregon State|
|Gary Steen (Fr., Hermitage, PA)||125||#12 - Brandon Kaylor (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA)|
|#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ)||133||#16 - Jason Shaner (Sr., Hood River, OR)|
|#9 - Beau Bartlett (Jr., Tempe, AZ)||141||#24 - Cleveland Belton (Jr., Corona, CA)|
|#17 - Shayne Van Ness (Fr., Somerville, NJ)||149||Hunter Eveland (So., Corvalis, OR) OR Noah Tolentino (Fr., Poway, CA)|
|#30 - Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT)||157||Graham Gambrall (So., Iowa City, IA)|
|#15 - Alex Facundo (Fr., Essexville, MI)||165||#24 - Matthew Olguin (So, Fresno, CA)|
|#1 - Carter Starocci (Jr., Erie, PA)||174||#28 - Aaron Olmos (Sr., Imperial Beach, CA) OR Mason Christiansen (So., Riverton, UT)|
|#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD)||184||#13 - Trey Munoz (So., Mission Viejo, CA)|
|#5 - Max Dean (Sr., Lowell, MI)||197||#11 - Tanner Harvey (Sr., Elkton, OR)|
|#1 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN)||285||JJ Dixon (Jr., Tacoma, WA) OR Brian Reyes (Jr., Fresno, CA)|
Last year, Kaylor beat backup Baylor Shunk but allowed 9 points. This might be similarly high-scoring, but regardless, I’m expecting a similar result, with Steen notching at least one takedown but ultimately coming up short.
Prediction: Kaylor by decision
Score: PSU 0, OSU 3
It was clear that Shaner’s goal last year was to limit the amount of damage that RBY could do to the team score—and it worked! This dual was one of the few non-bonus victories from the champ. I expect he’s learned from that and will win by more season.
Prediction: RBY by major decision
Score: PSU 4, OSU 3
Nick Lee took on Oregon State’s highest-ranked guy last season, and basically neutralized him. Grant Willitts didn’t return to Corvalis, though, so Beau Bartlett will be facing another ranked grappler in his stead—but in this one, he should be able to take control from the first whistle.
Prediction: Bartlett by decision
Score: PSU 7, OSU 3
Shayne Van Ness will surprise some folks this post season, and the run to be a freshman AA continues. He’ll break down his opponent this week, whomever it is.
Prediction: Van Ness by pin
Score: PSU 13, OSU 3
Barraclough had a tough weekend last weekend, with a forfeit against him on Friday not allowing for as much of a tune-up before the Lehigh bout as the coaches. This weekend will be the next step for his growth this year, especially since Hunter Willitts, like his twin, elected to not return this season.
Prediction: Barraclough by decision
Score: PSU 16, OSU 3
Speaking of surprising folks, hello Alex Facundo! This should be a good bout, against another ranked grappler. The big question for this one is how many takedowns Facundo will get before the seven minutes are up.
Prediction: Facundo by decision
Score: PSU 19, OSU 3
Wrestlestat predicts this bout to be much closer than I do, but Carter beat Olmos by tech fall last year in the second period, only allowing two points. Why would I predict anything different this season?
Prediction: Carter by tech fall
Score: PSU 24, OSU 3
Aaron sat last Friday, taking a bit of a breather before hitting the mat again Sunday. He’ll take on a ranked Beaver wrestler this weekend and I expect it will feel closer than it really is until the last minute of the third.
Prediction: AB by major decision
Score: PSU 28, OSU 3
197 LBS - Match of the Meet
Another week, another solid opponent for Max Dean. The road to a bounceback after last weekend’s disappointment starts this weekend, and if Dean can get his offense going over Harvey, this could turn ugly quickly. I don’t expect that, though—I expect a gritty win, with a last second takedown being the difference.
Prediction: Dean by decision
Score: PSU 31, OSU 3
Oh hello, Greg Kerkvliet—and welcome to the top ranked club!
After a loss last weekend by 2022 NCAA finalist Cohlton Schultz, Kerk now seems like the man to beat at heavyweight as he moved up to number one. This week could be a real statement win after that move, even against an overmatched opponent.
Prediction: Kerk by pin
Score: PSU 37, OSU 3
Overall score prediction: Penn State 37, Oregon State 3
*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. Penn State is #1 in both rankings; Oregon State is #25 in the dual meet rankings, and unranked in the tournament rankings.