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Braeden Davis secures a takedown for Penn State

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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State at No. 16 Oregon State

The Nittany Lions head west for their final test before the conference slate!

Davis is officially the starter at 125!
| Scott Pilutik, BSD

The meat of the college wrestling season is upon us! After a handful of duals, tournaments, and exhibition matches, Penn State travels to the west for their final event before the Big Ten season begins.

Oregon State themselves have had a busy season, with an appearance at the Cliff Keen Invitational and a dual against Iowa already having filled the short season. They’re undoubtedly a talented team, ranked at nearly every weight, with most anticipating invites to the season-ending tournament in Kansas City.

But if they thought their dual against the Hawkeyes was tough, it’s nothing like this bout against the Nittany Lions. Penn State may be down one title contender since Shayne Van Ness’s season ending injury earlier this year, but they’re still by far the title favorites, no matter what controversial additions to various competitors might await.

The march to a second consecutive title, and eleventh out of the last 13 championships, continues on the west coast this week!

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #16 Oregon State*

Where: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR

When: Friday, January 5, 8:00 PM EST

Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)

Video: Pac 12 Network, Oregon

Lineup

#1 Penn State WT #16 Oregon State
#1 Penn State WT #16 Oregon State
Braeden Davis (Fr., Belleville, MI) 125 #13 - Brandon Kaylor (Sr., Bonney Lake, WA)
#4 - Aaron Nagao (So., La Habra, CA) 133 #25 - Gabe Whisenhunt (So., Corvalis, OR)
#2 - Beau Bartlett (Sr., Tempe, AZ) 141 #23 - Cleveland Belton (Sr., Corona, CA)
David Evans (Jr., Tunkhannock, PA) OR Tyler Kasak (Fr., Doylestown, PA) 149 #11 - Nash Singleton (So., Roseburg, OR)
#1 - Levi Haines (So., Arendtsville, PA) 157 Isaiah Crosby (Gr., Miami, FL) OR Murphy Menke (So., Parker, CO)
#14 - Mitchell Mesenbrink (Fr., Hartland, WI) 165 #12 - Matthew Olguin (Jr., Fresno, CA)
#1 - Carter Starocci (Sr., Erie, PA) 174 #8 - Travis Wittlake (Gr., Coos Bay, OR)
#2 - Bernie Truax (Gr., Oceanside, CA) 184 #6 - Trey Munoz (Jr., Mission Viejo, CA)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD) 197 #31 - Justin Rademacher (Fr., West Linn, OR)
#1 - Greg Kerkvliet (Sr., Grove Heights, MN) 285 #12 - Boone McDermott (Sr., Dubuque, IA)

125 LBS

Braeden Davis is officially the starter at this weight based on GoPSUSport’s official match preview, plus his media availability this week. With Cael pulling Davis’ redshirt, that’s a sign that they’ve got a lot of confidence in the true freshman’s abilities. He looks to break the run of no PSUers in the national title at this weight, and this week is his first big test. I think he’s up to it.

Prediction: Davis by decision

Score: PSU 3, OSU 0

133 LBS

This’ll be one of the few weights that’s easier in the conference than out, with Nagao a clear favorite to win the Big Ten title but needing an upset elsewhere to crack into the top three. Bonus most of the rest of the way can only help.

Prediction: Nagao by major decision

Score: PSU 7, OSU 0

141 LBS

Bartlett always looks so happy to be wrestling, with a good head on his shoulders. His toughest regular season test will be coming in a few weeks in Iowa City, and I expect this bout won’t be in doubt from the second period on - with Belton doing just enough to not lose by bonus.

Prediction: Bartlett by decision

Score: PSU 10, OSU 0

149 LBS

Evans had a rough go in his first dual meet appearance for PSU, and the jury’s still out whether he’ll bump up to 149 for this year or if Kasak will have his redshirt pulled. Either way, I’m predicting the Beaver wrestler will come out on top.

Prediction: Singleton by decision

Score: PSU 10, OSU 3

157 LBS

This weight is the one that holds an unranked wrestler for Oregon State, and the question may just be how quickly the bout ends. I expect Levi to look for the turn but it not being quite enough for the fall - and a tech is the result.

Prediction: Haines by tech fall

Score: PSU 15, OSU 3

165 LBS - Match of the Meet #1

Many seem to be underestimating Mitchell Mesenbrink. I am not one of them. Though I’m calling this a match of the meet, I don’t expect it to be particularly close, with Mesenbrink starting to assert himself on the NCAA stage.

Prediction: Mesenbrink by decision

Score: PSU 18, OSU 3

174 LBS

Wittlake is a very good wrestler, one, who will challenge for all-American status this year. But Carter is on another level, and he majored Mekhi Lewis unofficially earlier in the fall.

Prediction: Carter by major decision

Score: PSU 22, OSU 3

184 LBS - Match of the Meet #2

The last time these two met, last April, Munoz pinned Bernie. But the four times before that, Truax won without giving up more than two points - and now he’s a Nittany Lion. He’s on a path to be even better this year, and I bet he doesn’t get caught again.

Prediction: Truax by decision

Score: PSU 25, OSU 3

197 LBS

Aaron Brooks is going to challenge for a spot on the Olympic team, and there aren’t any this year who can realistically challenge him for the NCAA title (though of course, on any given mat, anything can happen). This one will feel out of doubt very quickly, but will (barely) last all seven minutes.

Prediction: Brooks by major decision

Score: PSU 29, OSU 3

285 LBS

This year’s heavyweight title still appears to be Kerk’s to lose, and though McDermott is ranked, it won’t be particularly a close bout.

Prediction: Kerk by major decision

Score: PSU 33, OSU 3

Overall score prediction: Penn State 33, 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 #16 in the Dual Meet Rankings, and #18 in the Tournament Rankings.

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