9pm Eastern this Friday the Penn State lineup of terror invades Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Many times Iowa usually finds magic on their home mat as they hope to knock off Cael in the most anticipated dual of the regular season.
17 of the expected 20 starters enter Friday ranked ready to enthrall some wrestling fans coast to coast with high-level wrestling action.
Long story short, having two of your best wrestlers be at 149 & 157 trying to beat Penn State is not a good recipe. If they were at 141 & 197, this dual looks a whole lot different mathematically.
The fans win either way though. I'm really looking forward to it!
125 #1 Gilman vs #3 Suriano
Suriano has been more than impressive in his freshman campaign, but nobody has slowed down Gilman. Outside of one match with a certified ninja (Terao (American)), Gilman has cruised. I don't think bonus points, but I feel strongly Gilman will defend his home mat giving Suriano his first collegiate defeat.
133 #3 Clark vs Carpenter
Clark was edged (controversially) by Brock (Oklahoma State), but the match did show he's feeling pretty potent even though not having much competition time this season due to injury. Penn State's had their own injury problems at this weight and Clark should major whoever they throw out there.
141 #18 Carton vs #12 Gulibon
I like Carton and think he's really someone who will make some significant noise by the end of the season. Gulibon is one of those mysteries of the world. Call me crazy, but I like Carton here....possibly by major.
149 #1 Retherford vs #3 Sorensen
The Zain train is tough to bet against against any living creature. Sorensen is a familiar opponent, who kept it close at Big Ten's but fell 10-1 in the NCAA final. I think Sorensen keeps it close and Zain probably won't get any favors with the Iowa crowd.
157 #1 Nolf vs #2 Kemerer
Kemerer has had an amazing freshman campaign, much like Suriano I think the undefeated run ends here. Nolf is maybe the most impressive wrestler in college wrestling right now, and that's saying a ton with all the candidates.
165 St John/Gunther vs #4 Joseph
A lot of ink has been spilled to describe the Iowa situation at 165. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Joseph keeps winning matches with just one loss this year. Joseph doesn't blow a ton of guys out, but I think Cael will know the importance of an extra point or two. If this was just some regular dual, it'd be difference but Joseph will put a foot down on the pedal and get a major.
Penn State 11-10
174 #13 Meyer vs #14 Morelli
Meyer earned an All-American finish last year, but has had a couple rough losses this year. Him and Morelli are right next to each other in the rankings making for an interesting swing match. Meyer should be able to use the home crowd to pull out a win here.
184 #2 Nickal vs #5 Brooks
Bo Nickal proved in the TJ Dudley match that he can still finish takedowns on a big physical 184. Sammy Brooks avenged his only loss this season and provides another big challenge for Nickal, but Nickal should get it done in a close one.
Penn State 14-13
197 Wilke vs #10 McCutcheon
I'm not calling McCutcheon overrated......but let's just say he has had a few notable wins that have allowed him to maybe linger higher in the rankings than one may expect. If there's some Iowa magic from being next to Dan Gable's statue, maybe it's here. I'm already calling the upset at 141, and this one seems like a bridge too far though.
Penn State 17-13
285 #8 Stoll vs #5 Nevills
Both these heavyweights are sophomores who were expected to be important pieces in their teams' national championship hopes last season, but injuries kept either from successfully doing so. Of course, Penn State didn't need the points though. Nevills is a very athletic heavy and Stoll is a large plow horse. I think this is a true toss-up that would be fun to have the dual come down to, but I think Penn State gets their 6th win here.
Penn State 20-13