It doesn’t get any bigger than Friday’s wrestling dual meet with No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa. All eyes from the college wrestling world will be on the action in the second and final Bryce Jordan Center dual of the season.
But which way will the dual meet go when bonus points are going to be so important? Let’s break down Nittany Sports Now’s prediction for the most anticipated dual meet of the season.
125: Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. Gary Steen (PSU) – There’s a small possibility that one of the most dominant college wrestlers of all-time in Lee could bump up to 133 to wrestle another top-ranked wrestler in Roman Bravo-Young, but it’s probably unlikely. Steen has struggled most of the season, and like many wrestlers that face Lee, Steen is outmatched here. Lee is 10-0 this year with seven falls. I’ll say he gets No. 8 here. IOWA 6, PENN STATE 0
133: Brody Teske (Iowa) vs. Roman Bravo–Young (PSU) – If Lee bumps up here to face Bravo-Young, that will be the most anticipated match in quite some time. But I’m going to say he doesn’t bump and the Hawkeyes maintain status quo in order to have their best chance to win. Teske, a former PSU wrestler, is probably outmatched by RBY, but to what extent? I’ll give Bravo-Young a major decision. IOWA 6, PENN STATE 4
141: Real Woods (Iowa) vs. Beau Bartlett (PSU) – This one could be fun. Woods, a Stanford transfer and a two-time All-American, is 9-0 on the season. Bartlett is 14-0. It’s hard to pick against Bartlett with how excellent he’s been all season after dropping from 149 to 141, but Woods’ experience will help him take this one by decision. IOWA 9, PENN STATE 4
149: Max Murin (Iowa) vs. Shayne Van Ness (PSU) – Murin is a central Pennsylvania kid, growing up just down the road from State College in Ebensburg at Central Cambria High School. Due to COVID issues in 2021, Iowa didn’t wrestle the dual meet at Penn State, so Murin hasn’t wrestled in State College since 2019. Once again, I’ll take the experience factor for Murin, even though Van Ness has been outstanding for a freshman. IOWA 12, PENN STATE 4
157: Cobe Siebrecht (Iowa) vs. Levi Haines or Terrell Barraclough (PSU) – Here’s where things get interesting. If Penn State coach Cael Sanderson throws out Haines and burns his redshirt season, I believe Haines wins. If Barraclough goes out to wrestle, I’m not sure he beats Siebrecht. I’ll say Haines wrestles the match. He earned the job after last week’s huge win over Michigan’s Will Lewan. IOWA 12, PENN STATE 7
165: Patrick Kennedy (Iowa) vs. Alex Facundo (PSU) – Facundo hasn’t shown anything that makes me believe he’ll drop a big match. He didn’t do it last week against another formidable opponent in Michigan’s Cameron Amine. Let’s go with Facundo in another decision. IOWA 12, PENN STATE 10
174: Nelson Brands (Iowa) vs. Carter Starocci (PSU) – Although both have been around a long time, Brands and Starocci have never wrestled each other. Starocci had a long rivalry with Michael Kemerer in the past. I see no reason to believe Starocci will lose this one. In fact, I’m going to go with a major decision. PENN STATE 14, IOWA 12
184: Abe Assad (Iowa) vs. Aaron Brooks (PSU) – Brooks is 2-0 against Assad for his career with both being decisions, but one of the meetings took place back in 2020. There’s still no reason to believe Brooks will slip up. I’ll go for Brooks winning another decision. PENN STATE 17, IOWA 12
197: Jacob Warner (Iowa) vs. Max Dean (PSU) – This one will be a rematch of last year’s NCAA championship at 197 pounds. Dean won that match, 3-2, and also beat Warner in the regular season, 8-3. Dean seems to have put his struggles well behind him. I’ll say this match clinches the win. PENN STATE 20, IOWA 12
285: Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) vs. Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) – Kerkvliet had a tough loss last week in the BJC dual to Michigan’s Mason Parris. It also doesn’t help that Cassioppi has his number. Kerkvliet is 0-3 against him for his career. We’ll go with Cassioppi getting another one here. PENN STATE 20, IOWA 15