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Wrestling Postview: Penn State Blanks Rider 45-0

Penn State won all ten bouts for the second time this year and finished the season 17-0.

via Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors
Tony Rotundo

In its last tuneup before the Big Ten Tourney kicks off on March 5, Penn State fielded almost all of its now-expected postseason lineup and blanked the Broncos of Rider, 45-0.

Rider’s Cole McComas and his coaches graciously agreed to both begin the dual at 157 pounds AND grant an Extra Countable Match (ECM) after the dual to Penn State’s new (and former) 157-pounder, our friend the Swedish Chef Bardy Berge.

After getting somewhat manhandled by Iowa’s stud 165-pounder Alex Marinelli and then sitting out the Ohio State and Nebraska duals, speculation was what was confirmed today: that Berge was cutting to 157, where he made the National Quarterfinals last year before getting injured.

Said Cael today after the match about Berge:

Regarding the ECM, Sanderson added:

The postseason implication now also includes the return of Creighton Edsell to the 165-pound spot, and the math suggested by the move insinuates that the coaches felt there were more points to be scored by Berge & Edsell (at 157 & 165) than there were by Tyrell Barraclough at 157 & Berge at 165. I’ll hazard a guess that most reasonable fans know by now that this coaching staff can be trusted in such matters.

Edsell battled through for a very tough W, his 10th this year. He’s had a good season, beating the guys he’s “supposed to” (air quotes b/c duh, this is wrestling), and battling tough against studs in his 3 losses.

Starocci followed him up in a very interesting bout with his well-wrapped left wrist, nearly earning a Tech Fall but falling just short.

Certified Stud Donovan Ball leaned into the Bonus Point mission while substituting for National Champion Aaron Brooks, and posted a Major Decision to the scorecard.

Max Dean, who took over the #1 ranking at 197 after A.J. Ferrari made the personal decision to attempt to pass three cars on the crest of a hill and then thankfully survived a horrific accident, but also ended his wrestling season, opened Archery Season very early today and made quick and painful work of Azeem Bell.

Kerkvliet & Hildebrandt felt his vibe and issued pins of their own, before RBY racked up thirteen (13!) takedowns in less than 7 minutes.

At 141, former Buckeye Quinn Kinner battled National Champion Nick Lee extremely hard on the mat, but was no match on the feet, where Lee earned three takedowns to Kinner’s none. The last time a Penn Stater faced Kinner, it was last February, when Kinner defeated Chef Bardy 4-3—at 157 pounds.

Beau Bartlett closed out the shutout with a workmanlike effort and posted his third Bonus Point win of the season.

Executive Summary

The Lions put up their most dominant Takedown ratio win of the season, 46-2, and won a remarkable 8 of their 10 bout wins via Bonus.

The win marked the 6th time a Cael Sanderson-coached Nittany Lion squad has finished the dual season undefeated, and they did so against some very, very good teams. They dominated most of them. With help from our friends at WrestleStat:

Across the 17 wins this season, PSU averaged 29.9 points; only allowed an average of 9.1 points from their opponents. For bout wins, they average 7.4 and allowed an average of 2.6.

The Takery

The postseason lineup looks ready for both Lincoln (B1Gs) and Detroit (Nationals). In many years past, PSU’s lineups have been better equipped for Nationals, where the deeper pools of competitors have diluted the breadth and firepower of their biggest challengers, but this year sets up pretty nicely even for Lincoln. With five #1s (RBY, Nick Lee, Starocci, Brooks, Dean), two other top-5’s in Hildebrandt & Kerk, and finished out by Bartlett (#19), Edsell (last seen around #23?) and now Berge at 157, both Iowa and Michigan will have a fight on their hands at B1Gs.

That fight will continue in Detroit, regardless of what happens in Lincoln, and both battles are sure to be electric.

Congrats to the Nittany Lions on another fine regular season!