Penn State is starting to put it all together as the season wears on.
No. 2 Penn State put in an excellent performance at No. 4 Wisconsin on Friday night, sweeping aside the Badgers 29-10. The Nittany Lions won seven of 10 matches, including a pair of dominant displays by No. 2 Nick Lee and No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph.
|125 pounds||Eric Barnett||Brandon Meredith||Dec. 4-0, Wisconsin 3-0|
|133 pounds||No. 1 Seth Gross||No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young||Dec. 6-5, Wisconsin 6-0|
|141 pounds||No. 2 Nick Lee||No. 7 Tristan Moran||Maj. Dec. 14-1, Wisconsin 6-4|
|149 pounds||Jarod Verkleeren||No. 15 Cole Martin||Dec. 3-2, Penn State 7-6|
|157 pounds||Garrett Model||Bo Pipher||Maj. Dec. 13-4, Wisconsin 10-7|
|165 pounds||No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph||No. 4 Evan Wick||Maj. Dec. 8-0, Penn State 11-10|
|174 pounds||No. 2 Mark Hall||Jared Krattiger||Fall (4:16), Penn State 17-10|
|184 pounds||No. 7 Aaron Brooks||Johnny Sebastien||Dec. 3-2, Penn State 20-10|
|197 pounds||No. 18 Shakur Rasheed||Taylor Watkins||Dec. 6-0, Penn State 23-10|
|285 pounds||No. 15 Seth Nevills||(no one)||Forfeit, Penn State 29-10|
The standout performers of the dual were Lee and Joseph. At 141 pounds, Lee emphatically defeated No. 7 Tristan Moran by a 14-1 major decision. Moran defeated Lee last season at Rec Hall, but Lee has grown so much in the last year. He dominated the action from the top position and Moran had no answers. Despite Lee's superiority on top, and trailing 8-1, Moran chose to start the third period from bottom and subsequently was ridden out for the whole period, giving up four near-fall points and a stall point.
Joseph and Evan Wick had their first ever match, with Joseph's dominance on top the deciding factor in a 8-0 win. He built over four minutes of riding time and Wick just could not escape from bottom. Typically, Wick has been known for having a strong top game, but that had no factor against Joseph, as he gave up a reversal in the second period. It looks like the class of this weight remains Joseph and No. 2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa).
In the best match of the evening, No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young came agonizingly close to beating No. 1 Seth Gross, but he fell in a 6-5 decision. Gross' scrambling ability and a first period four-point move were enough to fend off a late charge from Bravo-Young. A second period takedown and rideout gave Bravo-Young more than a minute in riding time. He trailed 6-4 entering the third period, chose to start neutral, which is a sound decision considering how strong Gross is from the top position.
Bravo-Young came close to securing the match winning takedown on two different occasions, but he was not able to finish. Gross' defense was spectacular on a late body lock attempt from Bravo-Young, finding a way to scramble and let the clock run to zero. This was a terrific match, but one thing is for sure, Bravo-Young is a real contender at 133 pounds.
Jarod Verkleeren picked up his first ranked win of the season over No. 15 Cole Martin in a 3-2 decision. Verkleeren's defense made the difference here, as he was able to fend off a few different Martin shots before securing his match winning takedown in the third period. This win could be very important for him come March, as it should improve his Big Ten seed, and give him a chance to get an at-large bid.
The rest of the dual went according to pre-match predictions, with Penn State's middle to upper weights making the ultimate difference in this contest. No. 2 Mark Hall won by fall at 174 pounds. No. 7 Aaron Brooks won a close decision against Johnny Sebastien, and No. 18 Shakur Rasheed won a comfortable 6-0 decision.
Eric Barnett defeated Brandon Meredith 4-0 in a match that Meredith really struggled. Meredith has had a solid redshirt freshman season, but he just has not quite looked ready for Big Ten competition so far. Garrett Model defeated Bo Pipher by major decision in a match that Pipher was just outmuscled.
The biggest disappointment of the dual has to come at heavyweight where Wisconsin did not even put out a heavyweight to wrestle No. 15 Seth Nevills. No. 5 Trent Hillger picked up an injury last weekend, and the Badgers chose not to send out a backup.
Penn State will be back on the mat Sunday afternoon when they take on No. 6 Minnesota. There will be more marquee matchups. Check back in at Roar Lions Roar for coverage of another top-10 dual.