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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Ranked No. 1 in FloWrestling Preseason Poll

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

Penn State wrestling has won 10 of the past 12 national championships, with the most recent coming this past March.

So although preseason No. 1 rankings are a big deal for most athletic programs, at Penn State, it barely feels newsworthy.

Nonetheless, Penn State’s ranked No. 1 again in the FloWrestling preseason poll.

Coach Cael Sanderson’s empire is loaded once again. As of now, the squad returns both of its individual national champions— Carter Starocci (174-pound weight class) and Aaron Brooks (184), as well as a pair of national runner-ups in Levi Haines (157) and heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet. Penn State also added in the transfer portal, getting Aaron Nagao (Minnesota), Bernie Truax IV (Cal Poly) and Mitchell Mesenbrink (Cal Baptist).

PSU leads the pack with 141.3 points, well ahead of Iowa (73.5.) Virginia Tech (64.5) Missouri (62) and Cornell (61.5) round out the top five. Outside of Penn State and Iowa, the next highest-ranked Big Ten school is No. 6. Nebraska (59.5). Michigan is No. 9 (49) and its chief rival Ohio State is No. 15 (25.5) followed closely by No. 16 Wisconsin (24.5.) Purdue (20) is No. 19 and Rutgers is tied with Lehigh at No. 23 with 13.5. Indiana rounds out the top 25 with 13 points.

If Starocci is coming back to Penn State wrestling– he’s hinted at leaving school to focus on the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris– he’s the obvious choice to be ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds. He’s won three national championships, has a 61-2 overall record and has a 52-match win streak. Almost two weeks after Starocci’s national title win, he sent a series of tweets. In one of them, he wrote that he’s considering returning to Penn State to pursue a fourth national title, something only five wrestlers at any weight class have accomplished.

But Starocci hasn’t said otherwise yet, so as of now, he’s in the fold.

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