The first top 3 dual meet of the season will take place on January 21st where the number one Penn State Nittany Lions will take on the number 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines. This is immediately followed by Penn State vs Iowa the following week so this is by far the prime of the season. There has been some talk about who should be number 1 as a team whether it is Penn State or Michigan and this will settle it. Here is the full match by match and team score preview.
125- #1 Nick Suriano vs #9 Drew Hildebrant
We will start things off with a banger. We have National Champion Nick Suriano vs All American Drew Hildebrant, first things here Michigan will be a huge favorite in this match. However judging by Suriano and his previous performances at 125 this season Hildebrandt should very well be able to keep this bout to a decision and not give up any bonus points.
Looking at Suriano this season I do not think I have seen a real attempt to turn on top which in a sense is good but also his gas tank never dies out even with the pace he sets. For Michigan this may be a match they will need bonus points in should they not be able to capitalize on the swing matches at the upperweights.
Penn State 0
133- #8 Dylan Ragusin vs #1 Roman Bravo-Young
Ragusin already gave up a major against Michael McGee of Arizona State who Bravo-Young handedly defeated. Now that being said RBY has had some matches where maybe you would think he should be getting bonus points where he didn’t. RBY presents some of the same problems that McGee does with his athleticism so this may be a match he can dominate.
Ragusin looked much better in his match against Ohio State compared to this so this may be a match where he can keep it within a decision. The entire Michigan team as a whole has looked like they have improved a lot and are still getting into the swing of things.
Penn State 3
141- #4 Stevan Micic vs #1 Nick Lee
Micic has looked rough and nobody is denying that, he looked a bit better against Ohio State than how he did against Cole Matthews of Pitt. Matthews has looked incredible this season so maybe you can write him in as a threat time come March but who knows.
Lee has been out and did not wrestle against Sebastian Rivera in the dual meet. From what I can gather he got cleared the day before and did not have time to prepare for the matchup. Basically this states that if he went out there he would have been cleared but not 100% and he probably would have lost, and Seabass is hot right now.
In terms of this match it will come down to how bad Lee can overwhelm him with his pace assuming he is 100%. Micic has been fading a bit and getting worn down by bigger and stronger guys and this will be huge if Lee can come away with a major.
Penn State 6
149- #16 Kanen Storr vs #19 Beau Bartlett
One of the biggest matches of the dual meet right here. This could potentially swing the momentum heading into the next two matches which are big swing matches and if either school can take them both it may seal the dual right there.
Bartlett recently dropped his bout against #17 Van Brill on riding time after going the entire distance in overtime. Of course there was a lot of drama with Bartlett having the only takedown and getting called for an illegal cutback. If this match goes to overtime it will heavily favor Bartlett being that he has closed on most sudden victory bouts and never looks gassed.
Storr is solid in his own right and to be honest maybe just as defensive as Bartlett. However this will be a huge match to win right here and he has the size advantage along with the experience and he will need that to somehow possibly grab an early takedown or gather up riding time because this match will be close unless someone hits a big move.
Penn State 6
157- #15 Will Lewan vs N/A Brady Berge / Tony Negron
Berge is back. This is huge and he could very well change the whole outlook for Penn State this season. In a recent interview with Damion Hahn he said that Berge was feeling the urge to compete and he is healthy now. He also said that this was his last shot and he should hit the ground running this time.
There have been talks about Berge going back down to 157 and this seems like it will happen. If it doesn’t it will probably be a decision for Lewan.
Lewan looked good this season but honestly does not have too much offensive output which might cost him a lot in this match. We can only assume that Berge will continue to improve and get back to his former shape as the season goes on so this one might just be in his favor.
Penn State 9
165- #10 Cameron Amine (Maybe) / Pat Nolan vs #24 Creighton Edsell (Old) / #16 Brady Berge
Honestly nobody knows what either of these schools are going to do. Last time Michigan wrestled they threw out Pat Nolan who was a 149 against Carson Kharchla and that went exactly how you would expect with Kharchla picking up the tech fall.
Cameron Amine is the All American and would be projected to beat anyone Penn State can put out at this weight but the big question is does he go out. Let us assume that Nolan goes out again since he did last time. Either Edsell or Berge will be looking for bonus points.
Now on the Penn State side of things we do not know either. Edsell was the guy for Penn State and even broke into the rankings until Berge came back. If we go based on Ideal lineup Berge and Edsell is much stronger than Berge and Negron and those are just based on their prior production for the team.
What Cael does nobody will probably know until he feels like telling someone which probably will not happen until the dual starts. He is probably planning something out like always and it should be interesting to see what he does.
Score assuming Berge / Edsell vs Nolan. If Amine wrestles +3 for Michigan.
Penn State 13
174- #6 Logan Massa vs #1 Carter Starocci
This is where the big toss up matches start and with how Massa looked against Ethan Smith in his last match an upset is not 100% out of the question. Last time they wrestled at the dual meet Starocci won with a big 6 point move in double overtime but until then it was neck and neck.
Has Starocci broken away from the pack? I don’t think we know that yet but this match will be a bit telling if he just got hot last year or whether he can replicate the success that he had in these close matches where you have to just grit it out over and over again.
Massa on the other hand is pretty much going to try and use his strength to bully you, which worked somewhat well on Starocci last time they met until it ultimately got shut down. He definitely could win this match but it is not an upset that I would bet on at the moment.
Penn State 16
184- #2 Myles Amine vs #1 Aaron Brooks
This is the matchup that everyone wants to see. Things would become interesting if they do start up the dual at 197 pounds to have this as the final match but that probably won’t happen with feature matches everywhere in the dual.
Amine is the Olympic medalist and Brooks is the returning NCAA Champ. Amine won 3-1 over Kaleb Romero in sudden victory in an action packed match. Brooks just majored #5 John Pozanski and dominated the bout.
This honestly just needs to be a match that Michigan needs to win if they want to win the next two bouts and there is a solid chance that they will do it.
Penn State 19
197- #8 Patrick Brucki vs #2 Max Dean
This match is much closer than it seems on paper. In Dean’s recent match against Bulsak of Rutgers he got exposed a bit in the sense that he could be taken down and out muscled to an extent which Bulsak managed to do on a couple occasions. That being said Dean also showed that he was not all muscle and pushed guys around and was able to get in on some nice low attacks and finish tough shots.
This match is going to be rough in the sense that Brucki has only been taken down by “athletic moves” which Dean does not really present. What he showed with the low attacks on Bulsak could very well play a big factor in this however.
Brucki came out rough this season dropping a couple matches that he should not have but he is looking good now and back to his former shape. He should put up a solid fight but this one will probably go in Dean’s favor unless Brucki can somewhat just manhandle him.
Penn State 22
285- #2 Mason Parris vs #4 Greg Kerkvliet
Parris won this match 11-3 at the Big Tens and Kerkvliet won 6-6 at the Olympic Trials. Who takes this one? I don’t know, Kerkvliet has not wrestled any top guys just yet this season except maybe Gary Traub of Oregon St who he teched 16-0 in the second period.
Parris came out hot against Ohio State where he pinned All American Tate Orndorff in the first period and closed out the dual meet win for Michigan.
A bonus point win here for either party is highly unlikely and it will most likely come down to neutral wrestling and Parris’ ability to ride on top vs Kerkvliet’s ability to get out from the bottom position.
Right now the favorite would have to be Mason Parris for obvious reasons but this match could very well change the whole outlook of heavyweight this season should something big happen.
Penn State 22
Now that above is just my projection for the dual. Now we can go over what each school needs to do to essentially win this dual meet.
First things first if Amine wrestles at 165 we can change the score from 22-12 to atleast 19-15 which in itself seems a lot closer. It only takes one match to change the outcome of the dual meet and that is what Michigan is going to need to do.
Michigan keys to victory-
Amine or Massa win swing matches
Parris win over Kerkvliet
Suriano major over Hildebrandt
If Storr wrestles a win over Bartlett is huge
Penn State keys to victory-
Keep Suriano to a decision
RBY major over Ragusin
Any win at 157 pounds
Kerkvliet win over Parris
Overall these teams are not too badly matched and just one match could change the direction of this dual. With the amount of swing matches that are presented all Michigan needs to do is win a majority of them and they could possibly win this. Also bonus points here are at a premium and if they can be secured anywhere they need to be picked up by either team.