Two days after their final road dual of the season, the Nittany Lions head back to Rec Hall for the final conference dual of the season. PSU comes home victorious after a dominating win over Rutgers on Friday; Maryland comes into this meet after a win over Purdue in College Park, their first Big Ten win since the 2015-2016 season.
Maryland’s been getting better as a program in recent years, but, similar to what was written about Indiana last week, there’s only so much a program can do in the Big Ten. The Terrapins won eight duals outside of the Big ten this year, with wins over a ranked (and pretty decent!) Pitt squad and an Oklahoma team in the Virginia duals; but the conference slate hasn’t been kind to UM, only winning more than three bouts in conference duals two times (their first Big Ten outing, a one-point loss vs Indiana, and Friday’s win).
Their last conference dual won’t make it any easier for Alex Clemsen & team, as the likely only questions will be - how many of PSU’s starters sit, and because of that, how big will the margin of victory be?
It’s not senior day, which means Aaron Brooks probably won’t wrestle; Roman Bravo-Young sat on Friday, so he’s more likely to wrestle this dual. Regardless, look for a dominating win for the Nittany Lions in their penultimate dual of the season.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs #28 Maryland*
Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA
When: Sunday, February 12, 1:00 PM EST
Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)
|#1 Penn State||WT||#28 Maryland|
|#1 Penn State||WT||#28 Maryland|
|Gary Steen (Fr., Hermitage, PA)||125||#15 - Braxton Brown (Fr., Allen, TX)|
|#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ)||133||Conner Quinn (So., Annandale, NJ)|
|#6 - Beau Bartlett (Jr., Tempe, AZ)||141||Kal Miller (Fr., Kansas City, MO)|
|#13 - Shayne Van Ness (Fr., Somerville, NJ)||149||#18 - Ethan Miller (Fr., Kansas City, MO)|
|#8 - Levi Haines (Fr., Arendtsville, PA)||157||Michael North (Jr., Wadsworth, OH)|
|#9 - Alex Facundo (Fr., Essexville, MI)||165||John Martin Best (Fr., Parkersburg, WV)|
|#1 - Carter Starocci (Jr., Erie, PA)||174||Dominic Solis (So., Laurel, MD)|
|#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD)||184||Chase Mielnik (So., Downingtown, PA)|
|#3 - Max Dean (Sr., Lowell, MI)||197||#13 - Jaxon Smith (Fr., Cartersville, GA)|
|#2 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN)||285||#25 - Jaron Smith (Sr., Columbia, MD)|
Steen was announced as the starter for the remainder of the season, all four (likely) bouts. Not sure that this makes much difference, unfortunately.
Prediction: Brown by tech fall
Score: PSU 0, Maryland 5
I had thought RBY would go on Friday, but was wrong; Baylor Shunk got the call, and lost by decision. In thinking about it, this makes sense - why travel if you don’t need to if you’re RBY? - but I do hope he wrestles back in front of the Rec crowd on Sunday. If he does, it’ll be a big win.
Prediction: RBY by major decision
Score: PSU 4, Maryland 5
Beau’s big move near the end on Friday gave him a major over a ranked foe in a bout that Rutgers needed if they had absolutely any shot - which they did not. This Sunday bout will help build his confidence and it could be a quick finish, or down to the wire.
Prediction: Bartlett by major decision
Score: PSU 8, Maryland 5
I’m not convinced that SVN *didn’t* have the pin on Friday in New Jersey in front of his hometown crowd. Regardless, it was a good, solid win for the freshman, and one he can build on on Sunday.
Prediction: Van Ness by decision
Score: PSU 11, Maryland 5
We didn’t see a lot of the fireworks a lot of us expected on Friday from Haines, so look for him to make up for it on Sunday. This bout won’t be in doubt - but the dominance won’t be enough to not wrestle all seven minutes.
Prediction: Haines by major decision
Score: PSU 15, Maryland 5
Alex Facundo has turned into a takedown machine the last few duals - notching ten on Friday. Shades of Jason Nolf in these middle weights. Let’s hope he has even close to his post-season success.
Prediction: Facundo by tech fall
Score: PSU 20, Maryland 5
Don’t get Carter mad. It not only won’t work out well for you, but it won’t work out well for the rest of the field in your weight class. Woof.
Prediction: Carter by major decision
Score: PSU 24, Maryland 5
As has been the pattern this season, I expect Aaron Brooks to sit out this meet, and Certified Stud Donovan Ball to get the call. Ball would likely be ranked as a starter in any other program - and he’ll get another win on Sunday.
Prediction: Ball by major decision
Score: PSU 28, Maryland 5
Ever since his Bad Weekend earlier this year, Max Dean has seemed very locked in and ready for business. He’ll easily get the top seed at the Big Ten tournament, and likely a top four seed at NCAAs; Jaxon Smith is the number three guy by ranking in the Big Ten conference, but there’s a big gap and this is one of the few weights where the Big Ten isn’t strong. This bout will feel more lopsided than the final score indicates.
Prediction: Dean by decision
Score: PSU 31, Maryland 5
I don’t understand folks who leave the dual before heavyweight, just to beat traffic, when you can watch a heavyweight like Greg Kerkvliet wrestle. This should be another bout that doesn’t last an entire seven minutes - but I expect Jaron Smith, the dual-clincher for Maryland on Friday, to not be able to stay off his back.
Prediction: Kerk by fall
Score: PSU 37, Maryland 5
Overall score prediction: Penn State 37, Maryland 5
*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; Maryland is #28 in the dual meet rankings, and unranked in the tournament rankings.