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Beau Bartlett with a strong front headlock on Carter Bailey.

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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs Hofstra

The Nittany Lions, fresh off their first dual win of the season, are back in Rec Hall!

Scott Pilutik, Black Shoe Diaries

PSU is set for its second dual meet of the year and the last team event before the long holiday break as Hofstra comes to town. It’s been just over fifteen years since these two programs met in a dual meet setting, with the last matchup (pre-Cael Sanderson) going the way of the Pride.

The Nittany Lions are fresh off a ranked win over Lehigh, but the big news in the Lorenzo wrestling complex is technically off the mat with Sanderson’s announcement that #2-ranked Shayne Van Ness is out for the season. Penn State looks to defend its NCAA crown with ease even without the electric SVN, but a spark in the lower weights is always welcome - and Shayne was fun to watch. Good luck on your recovery, Shayne, and can’t wait to watch you next year!

Who will be stepping in at 149 is, per Cael, still up in the air, though true freshman Tyler Kasak did an admirable job in the lineup last week (even as a true 141-er). There’s also some questions around 125 and who’ll take the reigns to start the day off, and whether some of the team’s stars will sit out this bout as well, much like Aaron Brooks did last week.

Whatever comes this Sunday, it’ll be an exciting one in Rec as many of the team gear up for the senior nationals next weekend and may look for additional rest before a next-level Olympic qualifying event.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs Hofstra*

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, December 10, 1:00 PM EST

Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)

Video: BTN+

Lineup

#1 Penn State WT Hofstra
#1 Penn State WT Hofstra
Robert Howard (So., Cranford, NJ) OR Gary Steen (So., Hermitage, PA) OR Braeden Davis (Fr., Belleville, MI) 125 Dylan Ryder (Sr., Dix Hills, NY)
#4 - Aaron Nagao (So., La Habra, CA) 133 Dylan Acevedo (Jr., Sayreville, NJ) OR Ryan Arbeit (Fr., WAntagh, NY)
#2 - Beau Bartlett (Sr., Tempe, AZ) 141 Alex Turley (So., St Louis, MO)
Tyler Kasak (Fr., Doylestown, PA) 149 Noah Tapia (Fr., Moline, IL)
#1 - Levi Haines (So., Arendtsville, PA) 157 Frank Folpe (Fr., Hauppage, NY)
#14 - Mitchell Mesenbrink (Fr., Hartland, WI) 165 Joe McGinty (Sr., Monroe, NY) OR Matt Rogers (Jr., WAntagh, NY)
#1 - Carter Starocci (Sr., Erie, PA) 174 Ross McFarland (Jr., Pennellville, NY)
#2 - Bernie Truax (Gr., Oceanside, CA) 184 Will Conlon (Fr., Hoover, AL)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD) 197 Nikolas Miller (Jr., Lock Haven, PA)
#1 - Greg Kerkvliet (Sr., Grove Heights, MN) 285 Keaton Kluever (Sr., Kaukauna, WI)

125 LBS

I expected Robert Howard last weekend, and got journeyman Gary Steen. Steen is always a tough out for his opponents and is constantly shooting, like so many Penn State wrestlers, but the sophomore sometimes struggles with finishes. I firmly believe that really wasn’t a takedown at the end of last week’s bout, but you got to get over that and move on. This’ll be a great opportunity for a tick in the win column this year.

Prediction: Ryder by decision

Score: PSU 0, Hofstra 3

133 LBS

Nagao’s first bout in a PSU singlet at Rec Hall was a tough one, facing former PSU recruit (and winner over world champ Vito Arujau) Ryan Crookham. The MN transfer is still primed for a good season and will likely start that rebound this week; I expect he’ll start slow but turn it on in the end, cutting and taking down his currently winless Pride opponent in order to secure bonus and the lead for the Nittany Lions.

Prediction: Nagao by major decision

Score: PSU 4, Hofstra 3

141 LBS

After letting his opponent in for the takedown last week, Beau Bartlett had a great post-meet interview where he was his usual jovial self. He’ll help set the tone as a leader on this team and this one should be a good outing for the senior.

Prediction: Bartlett by pin

Score: PSU 10, Hofstra 3

149 LBS

Few expected the seemingly last minute insertion of true freshman Kasak into the lineup last week, but he performed admirably. He’s undeniably talented but will have to work on his motor to get far in this weight as the season goes on - something no doubt the coaching staff will see improvement upon as the year continues.

Prediction: Kasak by decision

Score: PSU 13, Hofstra 3

157 LBS

Levi Haines shook off some rust last week as he came down with the win against a tough opponent; this week should be about building off of that win and moving towards his first national title. He’ll pick up the pace and show more firepower this week.

Prediction: Haines by tech fall

Score: PSU 18, Hofstra 3

165 LBS

The teammate that the ultimate NCAA wrestling troll, Carter Starocci, called a “psycho” was undoubtedly the one dude most psyched by his debut in Rec Hall last week, and Mitchell Mesenbrink will continue to climb up the ranks this week. He’s offensive-minded on the mat and will definitely be a podium contender.

Prediction: Mesenbrink by tech fall

Score: PSU 23, Hofstra 3

174 LBS

Carter didn’t let last week get out of the first period, ad won the Ridge Riley for his efforts. I expect this week to be much of the same.

Prediction: Carter by pin

Score: PSU 29, Hofstra 3

184 LBS

Another transfer in who got a tech fall last week, Bernie seems to fit right into the wrestling room and will look to get his fourth AA season and finally win a national title this year. I’d love to see a pin here but I’m expecting that it’ll end early for other reasons.

Prediction: Truax by tech fall

Score: PSU 34, Hofstra 3

197 LBS

If Aaron wrestles this week, I doubt it goes all seven minutes; but I doubt he wrestles, instead gearing up for the nationals starting on Friday. It should be a PSU win either way (I think Cochran would get it done versus an overmatched Pride wrestler) but expect bonus if it is AB here.

Prediction: Brooks by major decision

Score: PSU 38, Hofstra 3

285 LBS

I saw Kerk in Sheetz this week and he was very kind to this fangirl. I sure hope he wins the title this year, and his march to dominance continues this week.

Prediction: Kerk by major decision

Score: PSU 42, Hofstra 3

Overall score prediction: Penn State 42, Hofstra 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; Hofstra is unranked in both.

MMQB - 5+7

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