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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Recruiting: A Breakdown of 2023, ‘24 Commits

Penn State wrestling is looking to win another national championship
Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

Penn State wrestling has become one of the most dominant forces in sports, and recruiting has been a big part of that.

The team’s won 10 national championships in the past 12 seasons under Cael Sanderson, and if the next two recruiting classes are any indication, the train won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Here’s a breakdown of Penn State wrestling’s commits from the 2023 and ‘24 classes.

CLASS OF 2023

BRAEDEN DAVIS

Davis committed to Penn State wrestling in December 2021 and was a big recruiting get.

He’s the No. 42 wrestler in the 2023 Class, according to FloWrestling.

Davis picked Penn State over schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Minnesota.

He’s expected to wrestle at either 125 or 133 pounds. 125 was the only class where Penn State didn’t send a wrestler to the national championships in March. Penn State should be in better hands at 125 in 2023, with Robbie Howard set to come back from injury.

At 133, Penn State’s losing two-time national champ and program legend Roman Bravo-Young but seems to have an ideal replacement for him in Minnesota transfer Aaron Nagao, who was an All-American this past season.

JOSH BARR

Barr committed to Penn State wrestling and its 2023 recruiting class in the first week of January 2022.

He has won two Fargo freestyle titles and four Michigan State championships.

When he gets to Penn State, he’s likely to compete in either the 174 or 184-pound class.

He’d have big shoes to fill in either class. At 174, Carter Starocci has won three straight national championships, and Aaron Brooks has done the same at 184. Both champs have eligibility remaining and haven’t yet confirmed whether they intend to return to Penn State.

If Brooks comes back, there’s a chance he moves up to 197 due to Penn State adding Cal Poly transfer and three-time All-American Bernie Truax from the transfer portal.

TYLER KASAK

Kasak committed to Penn State last May.

Kasak is ranked No. 10 in the ‘23 class, according to FloWrestling. He’s likely to wrestle at either 149 or 157 pounds. Penn State has Beau Bartlett coming back at 149 and defending national runner-up Levi Haines returning at 157.

AJ FRICCHIONE

Fricchione, a Class of 2023 New Jersey state finalist wrestler, committed to Penn State this past September.

Fricchione, who goes to St. Joseph Regional High School, was a state finalist in the 195-pound weight class last season. He is currently the No. 17 prospect in the 182-pound weight class, according to FloWrestling. He’s wrestled in multiple weight classes throughout his career and also played football for St. Joseph. This season, he competed at Bergen Catholic High School, where he took fourth in the New Jersey state tournament.

Fricchione was also a state runner-up in the 215-pound weight class as a junior.

CAEL NASDEO

Nasdeo probably won’t become the most famous person named Cael associated with Penn State wrestling, but he’s a promising prospect.

A projected 125-pounder, Nasdeo is a local kid who wrestled at Williamsport High School. Penn State has struggled at the 125-pound class historically but should be getting a boost this season with Robbie Howard hopefully back from injury. Nasdeo is ranked No. 91 overall in the Class of 2023 according to FloWrestling and wrapped up a successful senior season for Williamsport with a state championship win at 121 pounds. He won the title by scoring a pin in 37 seconds.

BRANDON WENTZEL

Wentzel committed to Penn State in August.

Wentzel is a standout at Montoursville High School who won the state championship as a freshman in 2020 at the 106-pound weight class and finished runner-up last spring at 113.

Wentzel’s only high school season that didn’t end with him wrestling for a state championship was his sophomore year, and even then, he placed third at states. He also placed third this past season at 121.

CLASS OF 2024

THE MIRASOLA TWINS

Cole and Connor Mirasola, twin brothers from Wisconsin, committed to Penn State’s 2024 Class in February.

Cole won a 2022 state championship, placed fifth at the Fargo and seventh in the U17 world team trials.

Connor won two state titles and took first at this past summer’s Fargo. He also finished second at the U17 World Team Trials twice.

FloWrestling has Connor ranked as the No. 15 junior in the nation and has Cole ranked No. 44.

In getting the Mirasola twins, Sanderson dove into Big Ten territory. Wisconsin is Badger country, and Penn State and the University of Wisconsin have had many battles in many sports over the years.

ZACK RYDER

The New York state champion committed to Penn State in September.

Ryder, a Westtown, New York, native, wrestled for Minisink Valley from his seventh-grade year through this past season, ending with four state championships.

Although Ryder still has his senior season left, he won’t be wrestling for Minisink Valley.

Instead, he’ll be training with Nittany Lion Wrestling Club and taking his classes online. Ryder met arguably the best wrestler in Penn State history this season— two-time Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor. Ryder started training at Pennsylvania’s M2 Training Center and has struck up a bond with Taylor, who still wrestles on the Olympic scene.

Ryder took first at the U.S. Open Under-17 Championships this year, winning in the 80 Kilogram (176-pound) weight class, and this was three weeks after he tore his meniscus.

Last year, Ryder took first at the U17 U.S. Cadet freestyle tournament at 176 pounds in Vegas.

His performance in ‘Sin City’ was good enough to get him to worlds, where he took Bronze in July. This year, he’ll be one of 10 Americans to wrestle at the Under-17 World Championships, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 31-Aug. 6.

FloWrestling has Ryder as the No. 6 pound-for-pound wrestler in the country and the No. 2 wrestler from the 160-pound weight class.

” I am honored to be joining the legacy at Penn State and to be given the opportunity to help carry on that legacy,” Ryder wrote upon his commitment.

LUKE LILLEDAHL

Lilledahl, the third-ranked wrestler in the Class of 2024 120-pound weight class and the seventh-ranked overall, committed to Penn State in April.

Lilledahl is a Missouri native who has competed at the Wyoming Seminary the past two seasons, posting a 46-3 record. He won the Super 32 meet last fall, the Walsh Jesuit Ironman meet by defeating Jax Forrest, and finished the season by winning the 2023 National Prep title.

Lilledahl is a highly touted freestyle wrestling competitor, having made it to back-to-back Under-17 championships, taking silver in 2021 and gold in 2022.

JOSEPH SEALEY

Sealey, the top wrestler in the Class of 2024 out of High Point, North Carolina, announced on his Instagram account in October that he’s committed to Penn State.

‘I am excited to announce that I am continuing my athletic and academic career at Penn State,” Sealey wrote. “I am so incredibly grateful to my family, friends, and coaches that got me where I am.”

Last July, Sealey won the UWW Under 17 World team trials, which took place in Rome, Italy, by defeating KJ Evans, a Class of 2023 Oklahoma commit, in two straight bouts (9-2, 15-7). That was when his stock started to rise, and he became one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.

This year, Sealey was the National Prep School Champion at 157 pounds.

At Penn State, Sealey will likely compete either at the 165 or 174-pound class. If he wrestles at 174, he’ll have a chance to continue Starocci’s legacy, which would be a tall task given that Starocci is one of the best Penn State’s ever had.

THE GIBSON BROTHERS

Two of the most high-profile recruits from central Pennsylvania decided to stay home and continue their wrestling careers at Penn State.

Erik and Mason Gibson, both committed to Cornell, announced in November that they’d decided to flip to Penn State. Erik signed his letter of intent last year to Cornell but was never listed on the roster this season. Mason is a member of the Class of 2024.

“After a ton of tough decisions, I have decided to conclude my time up in Ithaca and flip my commitment to Penn State University,” Erik Gibson wrote to Twitter. “Shoutout to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. None of this would be possible without y’all.”

“Love it or hate it, I’m staying home,” Mason Gibson tweeted.

Mason Gibson is the No. 3 wrestler overall from the ‘2024 Class and the No. 1 wrestler in the 120-pound weight class.

BROCK WEISS

Weiss announced his commitment to Penn State on the first night of May. He’s an in-state product, wrestling for Lycoming’s Jersey Shore High School. Although he’s not in FloWrestling’s top 100, Weiss has had a successful high school career. He’s 102-11 overall and went 29-0 this past season, with 20 wins coming via fall. He didn’t wrestle in the postseason this year but took second in states as a sophomore. Like Sealey and other recruits, Weiss trains with Taylor at the M2 Training Center.

Correction: An earlier version of this article labeled Erik and Mason Gibson as twins. They are brothers, but not twins.

 

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