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Cael Sanderson earned his 200th dual meet win as Penn State’s coach, inside Carver Hawkeye Arena.

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Wrestling Postview: PSU 29, Iowa 6

The preeminent dual of the season set to the preeminent wrestling movie soundtrack - Vision Quest.

Cael Sanderson earned his 200th dual meet win as Penn State’s coach, inside Carver Hawkeye Arena.
| Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like wrestling season, which means the Vision Quest soundtrack is playing prominently in the SWHA household. What better way to get hyped for the preeminent dual of the season against the storied Iowa Hawkeye wrestling program in the hallowed Carver Hawkeye Arena? But it’s Penn State that is the reigning dynasty and the only Iowa they’re competing with is the 1997 Iowa Hawkeye squad who holds the NCAA Championship team scoring record with 170 points.

125: #2 Braeden Davis, PSU vs #7 Drake Ayala, Iowa

Braeden Davis struggles to break through Drew Ayala’s neutral defense.
Braeden Davis struggles to break through Drake Ayala’s neutral defense.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: She’s on the Zoom - Don Henley

She’s on the zoom

Oh, she’s on the zoom

The first of the true freshmen in the lineup that were expected to be backups this year, Braeden has quickly climbed the rankings of a chaotic 125-pound weight class. Ayala is a seasoned sophomore and the hardest competition for Davis so far this year.

1st

The wrestlers stayed toe-to-toe in the center of the mat. Amongst the ties, Ayala was able to drag Davis by for a takedown to open the scoring and put the Hawkeye on the board. Davis was quickly out for the escape but found himself trailing 1-3. The wrestlers traded Russian ties but Davis was unable to find an opening through the head and hands defense that Ayala put up frequently while down on one knee.

2nd

Davis deferred and Ayala chose bottom to start the second. Davis attempted a ride but Ayala was able to work out for the escape and extend his lead to 1-4. In neutral, Davis continued to look for an opportunity but Ayala stayed squared up and kept Davis at arm’s length to thwart any offense Davis tried to muster.

3rd

Davis chose bottom to start the period and was able to get out for the escape and cut Ayala’s lead to 2-4. Ayala continued to wrestle from his knees, eventually drawing a stall call that was too little, too late. Davis continued to press forward, reaching for a leg but Ayala stayed far enough a way to avoid any danger and stalled his way to a 4-2 decision.

Takeaways

This was a match where one wrestler came to wrestle while the other wrestler looked to get the win. Unfortunately not much wrestling was had once Ayala got the lead and focused exclusively on defense for the remainder of the match. Davis was unable to fight through the ties and posts of Ayala to find much of a shot.

This was a good learning opportunity for Braeden as well as his first major test. Ayala played the part of the veteran with homefield advantage. Hopefully over the next month Braeden spends time incorporating more lateral movement into his offense which may help set up more opportunities and also draw stall calls sooner.

PSU 0, Iowa 3

133: #6 Aaron Nagao, PSU vs #20 Cullan Schriever, Iowa

Aaron Nagao gets his hand raised.
Aaron Nagao gets his hand raised.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: I’ll Fall In Love Again - Sammy Hagar

Oh but it’s all right with me now

I’ll get back up somehow

And with a little luck I’m bound to win

Nagao has had a bit of an up and down season as he looks to find offensive consistency. He’s a hammer on top, but to elevate his wrestling he’s needed to find reliable ways to score in neutral, something he’s struggled with so far this year. While last week was a matchup Nagao struggled with, Schriever presented a great opportunity to bounce back.

1st

After the wrestlers felt each other out for the opening minute, Nagao got in on a low single, dropping Schriever to the mat. Nagao was able to finish for the takedown to take a 3-0 lead. Aaron put on a strong ride on top, working mat returns and getting legs in to break Schriever down and belly him out throughout most of the remaining 2 minutes.

2nd

Nagao chose bottom to start the second and was quickly out for the escape, preserving 1:51 in riding time advantage while extending his lead to 4-0. The wrestlers worked collar ties and exchanged feints, with neither wrestler coming close to scoring.

3rd

Schriever chose neutral to start the third in order to avoid being underneath Nagao. Aaron quickly got in on another low single and was able to work through the legs to finish for his second takedown of the match and take a 7-0 lead. Nagao once again got legs in and bellied Schriever out, eventually turning Schriever with a half nelson to get 3 nearfall. Nagao would finish the period on top, winning an 11-0 major decision once the riding time point was awarded.

Takeaways

This was an ideal matchup for Nagao to keep working on his offense against an opponent that wasn’t looking to muster much of his own. There was only one shot that Nagao was unable to finish and it wasn’t much of an attempt in the first place. It’s great seeing him looking for ways to score and he seems pretty comfortable once he has the ankle on a low single. I expected to see more of a scramble from Schriever, however he seemed more concerned about not going to his back than he did about defending the takedown.

It’s common for wrestlers who are good on top to have very strong grip strength, which certainly seems to apply to Nagao. He was very controlling of Schriever any time he had his hands on him, working ties to his advantage and maintaining control when in on shots. That power combined with his quickness will be formidable once he puts it all together.

Penn State 4, Iowa 3

141: #1 Beau Bartlett, PSU vs #2 Real Woods, Iowa

Beau Bartlett with one of his two takedowns of Real Woods
Beau Bartlett with one of his two takedowns of Real Woods
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Change - John Waite

It’s only change (change)

It doesn’t matter who you are

It’s all the same (change)

What’s in your heart will never change

Beau assumed the #1 ranking after Woods was upset last week. Bartlett hasn’t appeared as dominant this season as many had hoped while looking for his first championship. Woods, the returning national runner-up, is the biggest test Beau will likely face all year. And doing so after a recent loss, in a hostile Carver Hawkeye Arena only adds to the challenge.

Beau has struggled to score in the first period this season. Several times he’s gotten in on shots but has been unable to finish against a fresh opponent, needing to grind his opponents down throughout the match before finally being able to score. Meanwhile, Woods was likely to look for an opening score so that he could play defense for most of the match, similar to Ayala’s performance at 125.

1st

Bartlett took the mat and quickly controlled the action. He circled Woods and was unphased by the ties and posts Woods used. Beau saw an opening and shot a double as Woods attempted to post, quickly securing the takedown and getting out to a 3-0 lead. Bartlett put on a solid ride, returning Woods to the mat on his initial standup attempt and racking up 40 seconds in riding time before Woods was eventually able to hip heist out for the escape. Woods looked to go on the attack but Beau continued to maintain good position, unphased by Woods setup attempts.

2nd

Bartlett deferred to start the second and Woods chose bottom. After a brief break due to blood, the period started with Woods quickly getting to his feet. Beau was able to return Woods to the mat but the wrestlers were quickly back on their feet where Woods was able to turn out for the escape and cut the lead to 3-2. Woods eventually worked Beau towards the boundary of the mat, drawing a stall warning on Beau despite no real offensive attacks for either wrestler.

3rd

Bartlett started the third period on bottom as Woods put on an aggressive ride to try and take the match to overtime with a rideout. Beau was eventually able to win hand control and turn out for the escape. Beau defended a few shots from Woods before taking a shot of his own that Woods blocked off. The crowd continued to call for stalling on Beau, but he loaded up on a double and was able to get to Woods’ ankles. After switching to a single and coming up to his feet, Beau eventually lifted Woods off the mat to secure the takedown and win the bout 7-2.

Takeaways

Whatever uncertainty we had about this match, Beau certainly didn’t share any of it. He controlled that match from the opening whistle, maintaining the position he wanted and controlling the action. Woods is great at scoring once he gets his opponent reacting but Beau didn’t seem concerned at all with the setups Woods was working. The only time Woods challenged for control of the action was in the second period when he was able to draw the stall call simply by blocking off Beau from returning to the center of the mat.

It’s entirely possible Woods is battling an illness and still not 100%. He didn’t look as sharp as he previously has, but it could also be that bodies break down faster at lower weights and often times don’t make it a full career. Regardless, Beau seemed absolutely confident in his ability to win this match and he controlled the match from wire to wire. Beau will certainly have the advantage in any rematch these wrestlers have come tournament time.

Penn State 7, Iowa 3

149: #10 Tyler Kasak, PSU vs #12 Caleb Rathjen

Iowa’s Caleb Rathjen won the takedown battle over Tyler Kasak, 3-2.
Iowa’s Caleb Rathjen won the takedown battle over Tyler Kasak, 3-2.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Only the Young - Journey

Shadows of a golden age

A generation waits for dawn

Brave carry on

Bold and the strong

Only the young can say

They’re free to fly away

Sharing the same desire

Burnin’ like wildfire

The second of Penn State’s true freshmen who have shot up the rankings after earning their spot on the roster, Kasak is looking to keep winning and keep improving. Experience is everything for the young Nittany Lion and what better experience than to face a ranked wrestler in Carver Hawkeye Arena?

1st

The wrestlers worked ties in the center of the mat for the first minute of the period. Kasak seemed to be focused heavily on finding an opening to shoot and appeared to be caught off guard when Rathjen hit an ankle pick for the opening takedown (that also drew a stall warning on Kasak despite neither wrestler appearing to be very active). Rathjen would ride out the short time and take a 3-point lead to the second.

2nd

Kasak chose bottom to start the second and worked up to his feet. He was able to clear his hands and turn out for the escape cutting the lead to 1-3. Once again, Kasak controlled the action, working collar ties to look for a shot. He overextended himself reaching for an ankle and Rathjen reshot, catching Kasak dead to rights and quickly getting the takedown. Kasak worked to get away and was able to free himself on the edge of the mat for the escape, but was now trailing 2-6.

3rd

Rathjen chose to start the period on bottom. Kasak rode out the first 25 seconds of the period, cutting Rathjen’s riding time advantage to 24 seconds before conceding the escape. Tyler was immediately on the attack and was able to throw Rathjen’s arm by to initiate a scramble that Kasak would quickly win. Trailing 5-7, Kasak quickly cut Rathjen to continue looking for offense. Kasak kept the pressure up, drawing a stall warning on Rathjen shortly before scoring his second takedown of the period, to tie the match at 8-8. Kasak rode out the remaining 30 seconds to send the match to sudden victory with momentum clearly in his favor.

Sudden Victory

Kasak was once again looking for offense as the wrestlers tied up at the center of the mat. Kasak continued with the forward pressure and Rathjen was able to clear a tie to get in on a deep single. Kasak attempted to defend with a whizzer, however Rathjen limp-armed out to get behind for the deciding takedown and win the 11-8 decision for the Hawkeyes.

Takeaways

That was a tough loss for Kasak but one he’ll certainly learn from. Each of Rathjen’s takedowns seemed to catch Kasak a bit by surprise and by the time he reacted he was in bad position to defend the attack. It was encouraging to see him come back in the third and score when he needed to, however he needs to do a better job staying in good position that he can defend. It seemed all throughout this dual that Iowa wrestlers placed a premium on keeping their distance in neutral and it was when Kasak attempted to close the distance that he found himself in trouble.

Penn State 7, Iowa 6

157: #1 Levi Haines, PSU vs #5 Jared Franek, Iowa

Jared Franek tries unsuccessfully to take Levi Haines down.
Jared Franek tries unsuccessfully to take Levi Haines down.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Shout to the Top - The Style Council

And though I wasn’t asked, I might as well stay

And promise myself each and every day

We’re gonna shout to the top (shout)

Last week was the first time we’ve seen Levi wrestle the dominant, powerhouse style we’ve come to expect from the true sophomore. Franek is a very skilled opponent who seems well suited to match Levi’s style and potentially beat him at his own game. After a less dominant start than we’ve expected, this match would certainly demonstrate if Levi is back to his 2023 form.

1st

The wrestlers traded ties and shots throughout the first minute of the match before Levi eventually committed to a single. After getting in deep, he fought through Franek’s sprawl attempt to finish the shot and score the opening takedown. Haines worked wrist control to belly Franek out and draw a stall warning with his dominant ride, finishing the period on top with 1:39 in riding time.

2nd

Haines chose bottom to start the second and was quickly on his feet and out for the escape. Franek got a low single and secured Levi’s ankle, but Haines put on a master class in fighting for hand control, breaking the hold and ultimately countering with a shot of his own to get another takedown and extend his lead to 7-0. Haines continued to ride hard, controlling the left wrist of Franek and drawing another stall call to earn the penalty point and go up 8-0. Levi would finish the period on top with Franek bellied out on the mat.

3rd

Franek chose neutral to start the third, trying to find his way to some points. Franek once again got a clean shot but Haines once again defended it well, nearly scoring a takedown of his own before the match was stopped for potentially dangerous. Levi dropped in on a single off a collar tie and would quickly win the scramble for yet another takedown and an 11-0 lead. Levi rode out the remainder of the period to win by 12-0 major decision.

Takeaways

The powerhouse we saw last year is back.

No matter what Franek did, no matter how good his position was, Haines appeared to will himself back into control, not only defending good opportunities but turning them into offensive opportunities of his own. While you’d prefer not to see him give up the opportunities in the first place, at no point did he seem worried, and he quickly thwarted the threats by maintaining good balance while working towards hand control.

Levi appears to be both an unstoppable force and an immovable object. How you can hope to beat that is anyone’s guess.

PSU 11, Iowa 6

165: #7 Mitchell Mesenbrink, PSU vs #6 Michael Caliendo, Iowa

Mitchell Mesenbrink earns one of his three takedowns against Michael Caliendo.
Mitchell Mesenbrink earns one of his three takedowns against Michael Caliendo.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Lunatic Fringe - Red Rider

Lunatic fringe

We all know you’re out there

Can you feel the resistance

Can you feel the thunder

Psycho has had an impressive season so far that still hasn’t established his ceiling. His relentless pace and variety of attacks overwhelms opponents, frequently turning matches into scoring barrages. The question for this match is whether Caliendo could withstand the onslaught by not overreacting and by finding opportunities to score on his own.

1st

Caliendo looked to negate Mesenbrink’s offense by working a front headlock position. Mesenbrink used his nonstop action to keep Caliendo moving laterally, eventually finding an angle to open up an opportunity which he capitalized on with a single that he quickly converted to a takedown. Caliendo was quickly out for an escape but Mesenbrink immediately continued his attack.

Caliendo once again looked to work a front headlock to slow Mitchell down, however Mesenbrink was able to use misdirection and throw Caliendo’s arm by for a takedown that left Caliendo awestruck. Mesenbrink worked a cross face and a tough ride on top, ultimately drawing a stall warning on Caliendo before the period ended with Mitchell leading 6-1.

2nd

Caliendo chose bottom to start the second and Mesenbrink didn’t make much effort to keep him down, having already accrued over a minute in riding time. Mesenbrink kept coming with shot after shot, drawing another stall call on Caliendo and earning the penalty point to make the score 7-2. Mesenbrink would set up another low single attempt and score to make the match 10-2. Caliendo was able to escape with short time but found himself far behind.

3rd

Mesenbrink elected to start the period on bottom and was out for the escape in 20 seconds, maintaining a minute and a half of riding time. The wrestlers traded shots, drawing a several stalemates as both wrestlers looked to score. Caliendo was able to get in on some good opportunities and eventually won a scramble to get a takedown of his own and keep the match to a 12-6 decision.

Takeaways

Mesenbrink overwhelms his opponents with offense. He doesn’t have a go-to move that opponents are unable to stop, but his constant motion keeps opponents from finding their own offense and eventually works them into a bad position that Mitchell capitalizes on. It was great to see how quickly Mesenbrink adapted to Caliendo’s front headlock, scoring a highlight-worthy takedown.

Caliendo started to get desperate at the end of the match, setting up several scrambles. Mesenbrink defended well but ultimately made sure to only give up the takedown instead of risking going to his back. It was a good effort by Caliendo after looking like he wanted to be anywhere else during the second period, but the match was already out of hand for the Hawkeye.

PSU 14, Iowa 6

174: #1 Carter Starocci, PSU vs #7 Patrick Kennedy, Iowa

Carter Starocci on his way to one of four takedowns of Patrick Kennedy.
Carter Starocci on his way to one of four takedowns of Patrick Kennedy.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Hot Blooded - Foreigner

Well, I’m hot blooded

Check it and see

I got a fever of a hundred and three

Carter Starocci has been dominant all season. He makes it look effortless on the mat, seemingly scoring at will. Patrick Kennedy is a good wrestler, but not on Carter’s level and the real question for this match would be whether he could shut down Starocci’s offense enough to avoid bonus.

1st

After spending the first 30 seconds getting into rhythm, Starocci got in deep on a single that he was able to finish for the opening takedown of the match. Starocci made an initial attempt to keep Kennedy down but eventually the Hawkeye got enough separation to get out. With time winding down in the period, Starocci once again found himself in on a single and brought it up to his feet. He cut across to get the other ankle and finished the takedown just before time expired.

2nd

To start the second, Starocci chose bottom and was quickly out for the escape to extend his lead to 7-1. Kennedy dropped down on a single but Carter quickly cleared his ankle and countered with a shot of his own to get the takedown as the wrestlers went out of bounds. Starocci conceded the escape on the restart and the wrestlers returned to neutral. Kennedy found himself in on a better shot this time, bringing the leg of Starocci to his feet. Carter rolled through and caught the left leg of Kennedy in the ensuing scramble to earn a takedown of his own to make the match 13-2.

3rd

Kennedy chose to start the third period on bottom. While Starocci was fighting for hand control, Kennedy pushed the Nittany Lion’s arms together, drawing a locked hands call. The Penn State bench challenged but the call on the mat was confirmed. On the ensuing restart Kennedy was out for the escape to make the score 13-4. To his credit, Kennedy continued to look for offense, shooting in again on Carter and ultimately settling for a stalemate. The offense was enough to draw a stall warning on Starocci before settling for another stalemate. Starocci would get hit with another stall call but that would be the only scoring the Hawkeye could muster as the match would end with a 13-5 major decision for Starocci.

Takeaways

Starocci is incredibly well rounded and his mat awareness is definitely underrated. He took the best shots that Kennedy could muster and negated them with ease. He makes everything look so effortless, but in reality there’s so much happening that he does so well. He’s always in great position and is a master at using his opponent’s movement to his own advantage. He did appear to be a bit gassed by the end of the match but that could be due to a variety of factors and isn’t of concern until we see it become a trend.

PSU 18, Iowa 6

184: #5 Bernie Truax, PSU vs Aiden Riggins, Iowa

Bernie Truax tries to turn Aiden Riggins.
Bernie Truax tries to turn Aiden Riggins.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Gambler - Madonna

You can’t stop me now

I’m on the road baby I know how

You can’t stop me now

Oh no

You can’t stop me now

To borrow from Forrest Gump’s mother, Bernie Truax is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get. He’s a proven, very good wrestler, he’s not afraid to take chances, but he’s inconsistent and sometims gets a little sloppy. Last week that resulted in getting caught and pinned. But this week, against an unranked Aiden Riggins, it likely means a lot of offense.

1st

Bernie was quickly in on a single, securing Riggins’ leg and working his way behind for the takedown. He was able to get a leg in and started to work a bar and a half but was unable to use the combination to turn Riggins. He continued to ride with a leg in to build up over 2 minutes in riding time while working a variety of turning attempts that never put Riggins in much danger. With 12 seconds left in the period Truax was hit for stalling for remaining parallel, but would finish off the period on top with over 2 minutes of riding time.

2nd

Truax took bottom to start the second and was quickly to his feet and out for the escape to increase his lead to 4-0. Riggins took an opportunity to shoot and got in on a low single that Truax was able to fend off for a stalemate. Neither wrestler made any real threats before the period came to a close.

3rd

Riggins chose neutral to start the third, unwilling to put himself underneath Truax again. He was once again in on a low single, leading to a scramble where Truax tied up the ankles enough to draw a stalemate. On the restart, Truax feigned a shot which temporarily froze Riggins. Truax took advantage of the opportunity by finishing the shot and quickly converting the double for a takedown to extend his lead to 7-0. Bernie would ride out the period, securing the major decision once the riding time point was awarded 8-0.

Takeaways

Not the most confidence-inspiring showing for Truax. Riggins was awfully close on a couple of his takedown attempts and they were situations Truax should’ve been able to avoid altogether. He did a good job of scoring when he initiated the offense and he thoroughly controlled the action when the wrestlers were on the mat. This match also clinched the dual for Penn State, notching Cael’s 200th win as the head coach of the Penn State wrestling program.

PSU 22, Iowa 6

197: #1 Aaron Brooks, PSU vs #11 Zach Glazier, Iowa

Aaron Brooks and Zach Glazier tie up in a hard-fought bout.
Aaron Brooks and Zach Glazier tie up in a hard-fought bout.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Hungry for Heaven - Dio

Just hold on

You can make it happen for you

Reach for the stars and you will fly

You’re hungry for heaven

Aaron Brooks has been outstanding all year. There’s no reason to doubt he’ll continue to be outstanding through March. Throughout most of the season he’s completely controlled his opponents, working them into positions he can exploit with an ankle pick, a double, or a throw by. It hasn’t been flashy, but it’s certainly been dominant and there was no reason to expect this match to be any different.

1st

Brooks came out and immediately tied up Glazier. He was heavy on the head with his right arm while using an underhook with his left arm to work Glazier out of position. Glazier seemed ready for it, though, as he stayed square with Brooks, keeping his opponent directly in front of him. Brooks continued to work the head to set up shots, but they came from too far out to be much of a threat. The period ended 0-0, without any stall calls on Glazier despite not taking a single shot all period.

2nd

Brooks chose bottom to start the second and was quickly out for the escape. Glazier found himself in on a low single but Brooks was able to sprawl out of it and then pick up the right ankle of Glazier which he used to come around and secure the takedown. Up 4-0, Brooks worked to keep Glazier down, building up over a minute in riding time as he rode out the period.

3rd

Glazier had choice in the third and chose bottom. Brooks kept chopping the arm, driving Glazier forward in an effort to break the Hawkeye down. Despite Glazier not making much of an effort to do anything other than defend being broken down, it was Brooks that was hit with a stall call by the official. On the restart, Brooks made little effort to prevent the escape and Glazier was easily out. The wrestlers continued to hand fight and work collar ties in the center of the mat until the period ended in a 5-1 decision for Brooks.

Takeaways

Not quite the domination we’ve come to expect from Aaron Brooks but the outcome was never in doubt either. Glazier did a good job preventing Brooks from working him out of position, but all that’s going to accomplish is keeping the score close, not threatening for a win. It would’ve been nice to see Brooks find a way to get a few more shots in, but that’s just being greedy.

PSU 25, Iowa 6

285: #1 Greg Kerkvliet, PSU vs Ben Kueter, Iowa

Greg Kerkvliet takes down Ben Keuter.
Greg Kerkvliet takes down Ben Keuter.
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Vision Quest Soundtrack: Crazy for You - Madonna

Trying hard to control my heart

I walk over to where you are

Eye to eye, we need no words at all

Kerkvliet has separated himself from the rest of the field this season. He’s finally grown into heavyweight, maintaining his speed and agility while no longer being undersized. Iowa sent out the freshman Ben Kueter, himself an athletic heavyweight (and actually on scholarship for the Hawkeye football team), so see how he compares to the top of the class.

1st

Kerkvliet worked a collar tie on Kueter, using his strength advantage to pull Kueter forward. It served as the perfect setup for an ankle pick which Kerkvliet quickly converted for the initial takedown of the match. Kueter was quickly out for the escape and the wrestlers once again tied up in the center of the mat. Kerk continued to work the head and neck of Kueter, controlling the action throughout the rest of the period.

2nd

Kueter chose bottom to start the second but had difficulty getting out. Kerkvliet used a spiral ride to break Kueter down, ultimately drawing a stall warning on the Iowa wrestler. Kueter would get to his feet but Kerkvliet made him pay for it each time with aggressive mat returns, lifting Kueter off his feet in the process. Kerkvliet would ride out the entire period and build his riding time advantage to 2:44.

3rd

Kerkvliet had choice to start the third and chose bottom. Off the whistle he hit a granby roll that Kueter was unable to follow and was out for the escape to extend his lead to 4-1. Greg dropped in on a low double and methodically worked his way into control to secure the takedown and increase his lead to 7-1. Kerk continued his dominant ride, drawing another stall call on Kueter that earned him a penalty point. The period ended with Kueter bellied out, earning the Nittany Lion the 9-1 major decision.

Takeaways

Kerkvliet outclassed Kueter in every position on his way to the major decision. He built up over 3 minutes of riding time throughout the match with his dominant ride on top, wearing Kueter down in the process. Overall this was one of the smarter matches Kerkvliet has wrestled, using his weight to his advantage while remaining active enough on top to draw stall calls on his opponent. While he was unable to actually get a turn, that was mostly due to Kueter focusing primarily on not getting pinned. In a dual meet that featured some very minor stall calls, it was surprising Kueter only drew two.

PSU 29, Iowa 6

Penn State coaches express exasperation at the 6 stall calls against the Nittany Lions (the Hawkeyes earned 8).
Penn State coaches express exasperation at the 6 stall calls against the Nittany Lions (the Hawkeyes earned 8).
Nic Ryder, IA Wrestle

Executive Summary

Box Score, Penn State over Iowa, 29-6.
Box Score, Penn State over Iowa, 29-6.

Three Hawkeyes earned takedowns: Ayala & Rathjen used them en route to W’s, while Caliendo prevented a 6th Penn State Major Decision with his. Nine Nittany Lions earned TDs, for a 21-5 total advantage. That ties the Hawkeyes with Oregon State for third-best against the Nittany Lions this year, behind Hofstra (6) and Lehigh (11).

Defensively, Iowa held Penn State to its second-lowest bout points total this season (87), ahead of Penn State’s 69 against Michigan. For bout points of their own, the Hawkeyes finished with 30, better than Indiana (23), Maryland (24) and Michigan (26), but behind Michigan State (33), Oregon State (36), Ohio State (38), Hofstra (42) and Lehigh (56).

This was the 7th time in 9 duals that Penn State has held an opponent to fewer than 10 team points, which prompted our Penn State friend Ross at The Foundation for Wrestling Art and Innovation to craft this fun image:

The Takery

This was the third time we’ve seen the expected tournament roster in action together (Oregon State & Ohio State before this) and what a dominant machine it is to behold. The most impressive showings seemed to come from Beau and Levi, who took very capable opponents and rendered them largely ineffective.

Over the years, the Penn State wrestling team has had many different manifestations of domination. We saw pure skill with Taylor and Ruth, brutality with Matt Brown and Retherford, and endless ingenuity with Nolf and Nickal. This squad seems to be all about mat control, winning the hand fighting, maintaining great position, and using their mat awareness to find the right opportunities to strike. For most of these matches the Penn State wrestlers controlled the action from the opening whistle and dictated the action exclusively on their terms.

The losses by Davis and Kasak will undoubtedly be learning opportunities they’ll use to improve themselves by March. Iowa has tried desperately to close the gap to Penn State over recent years, but this dual showed that it’s the Nittany Lions who continue to find ways to improve.

Next Up: Rutgers 7pm EST Monday, 2/12, State College, BTN, LionVision Audio

Special thanks to friend of the shoes, Nic Ryder of IA Wrestle, for permitting us to use his gorgeous photos. Please check out Nic’s excellent work here.

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