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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling: 5 Takeaways From PSU-Hofstra

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

Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s Penn State-Hofstra wrestling dual meet.

IT’S ONLY HOFSTRA 

Nobody from the Penn State program will ever say this. But, yes, it is only Hofstra. Only a few weeks ago, Hofstra got shut out by Ohio State, 51-0. I don’t think anyone is going to be comparing Ohio State to be on PSU’s level any time soon.

PENN STATE WRESTLING: BRAEDEN DAVIS HAS THE LEAD

As far as the 125-pound class goes for Penn State, we don’t yet know too much of the status of Robert Howard. With that said, Braeden Davis should be the starter right now. We all know what we’re getting with Gary Steen. His match in the Lehigh dual meet was there for the taking.

Besides, Davis won the job Sunday. It was impressive that he had the match already won. He still went and got a takedown for the major decision in the final seconds. It’s the kind of aggression that Cael Sanderson loves to see, no matter how much time is left on the clock.

PENN STATE WRESTLING: THE DEPTH IS REAL

Penn State had five wrestlers make their Rec Hall debuts in the Lehigh meet. Four more guys did the same against Hofstra. Its record was a combined 5-4 in those bouts.

That is an impressive record for first-timers in their first dual meets at Rec Hall. But the stat is also a little misleading. Aaron Nagao and Bernie Truax transferred into Penn State this year after great careers at Minnesota and Cal Poly, respectively. But Nagao actually lost his first match at Rec Hall to Lehigh’s Ryan Crookham. Also, Mitchell Mesenbrink might be a freshman. But he hasn’t exactly looked like one, albeit it’s a small sample size.

It’s hard to say what the lineup may look like in the new year. But even with starters out and replacing the injured Shayne Van Ness, Penn State’s backups would also probably make a really good college wrestling team this year.

GIVE A LOT OF CREDIT TO FRICCHIONE

A.J. Fricchione is really the only backup heavyweight on the roster to Greg Kerkvliet. Kerkvliet will be wrestling in Senior Nationals next weekend and is getting ready for that, so that left Fricchione to a tough opponent in 21st-ranked Keaton Kluever.

It was clear that Kluever was just better than Fricchione, and it looked like Kluever likely outweighed him by a good amount, too. Fricchione is also listed as a 197-pounder on the roster. Sanderson also said Fricchione was injured at the end of his high school career and hasn’t wrestled many matches ever since.

Kluever won the bout by fall, but give Fricchione a lot of credit for stepping in for Kerkvliet. It’s not easy to be put in that spot.

PSU IS THE CLEAR FAVORITE

There’s so much talent on the PSU roster this year that I don’t see any reason to doubt that it won’t win the NCAA championship by a large margin.

It makes it a little less interesting that Iowa seems to be down this year, and part of that is because of the wrestlers that are suspended right now due to the gambling investigation. I also wouldn’t underestimate the Hawkeyes for the dual meet though. Iowa would be a favorite right now in at least a couple weights over Penn State.

But as far as a team tournament goes, Penn State’s talent is going to be too much this season.

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