In the past several years the Penn State Nittany Lions have seen immense success on the college wrestling scene winning their 9th national team title just a couple of weeks ago. They put together one of the craziest showings in history and what makes this even crazier is the fact that they have done it before in 2017 when they had 5 individual national champions. The big question that people are asking is what are they looking like for next season and how long can they keep this crazy streak up.
Robert Howard / Gary Steen
It really is not a secret that Penn State has had a lot of trouble at 125 since Nico Megaludis way back in 2016, this weight class still looks to be really up in the air with who will start and who will really go what weight. Drew Hildebrandt was the starter last season and had an underwhelming performance in the postseason as a returning All American only picking up a couple team points for Penn State.
Robert Howard is rumored to be the guy here at 125 pounds unless they move him up to 133 which comes off as a very real possibility since Roman Bravo-Young seems to be moving on to his MMA career. This as well becomes a big topic since Bravo-Young could take the extra year and go for a 3rd National Title.
Gary Steen seems to be a main guy at 125 if Howard happens to go up to 133. I would not expect anything crazy out of Steen and maybe just a filler for the weight class. If Howard happens to be the guy he had a solid run in 2021 and was looking to All American if he did not run into Pat McKee on the backside of the bracket.
Overall the outlook does not look too bad here but a little up in the air in terms of who will start or if they bring in another transfer to fill in.
Let us assume the reigning National Champ chooses to use his final year of eligibility going for a 3rd National Title. This makes the Nittany Lions a huge favorite to win the team title again as Iowa will lose a lot of their main contributors as will Michigan.
There is no reason to assume that Bravo-Young will not win a 3rd title given his track record against Daton Fix, however it should be interesting to see how he approaches this season as he has been making big jumps from year to year in the past.
Who knows what the future holds for Roman Bravo-Young but we can all hope that he takes this final year of eligibility.
Listed as a 141/149 on the Penn State roster and looks small for 149 we can only assume that Bartlett makes the transition down to 141 pounds now that 2x National Champion Nick Lee is gone. Bartlett has had some big wins this season up at 149 pounds and the biggest being over Arizona State’s 2x All American Kyle Parco.
Now as far as the outlook goes for this weight class 141 pounds is losing a lot of guys that have been around for a while such as Nick Lee, Jaydin Eierman, Sebastian Rivera, Stevan Micic and more. The guys that do remain however are Real Woods, Cole Matthews, and CJ Composto all of which placed this season. Beau in theory should be able to stand with any of them on any given day but who knows if he can beat them, I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Shane Van Ness
Everything seems to be working out for Shane Van Ness to get his shot in the starting lineup. A lot of people have been waiting for this including myself, I do not know how he will do or even where he really stands at this point but he will definitely do some big things for the Nittany Lions in the next coming years.
Did not have the best showing as a starter so far in his college career but he is young and should have no problem developing into a solid guy at 157 pounds. It is really up in the air on how he will perform but I was impressed with his ability to keep close matches with some of these very good wrestlers.
Of course Brady Berge came back last season and took his spot which was unfortunate he could very well be a guy to put together some solid team points for Penn State. In terms of becoming an All American or things of that nature it may be a little out of reach at this point in his career but maybe in the future.
Berge coming back for the Nittany Lions kind of messed up a couple things taking away matches from Edsell which seems to be the reason he did not get an at large bid for the NCAA Tournament. However he is a very solid wrestler and it would not shock me to see him up on that podium next year in a weight that is returning a good bit of depth.
2x National Champion and had an undefeated season. This man is something different, in the earlier stages of his career he was cutting it close a lot in matches and did not look like he was going to get it done. Now he is like an evolved version of his former self and has been very dominant so far.
He will be looking for his 3rd National Title out of a possible 5. Right now he is the only wrestler that even has the chance to win 5 National Titles. AJ Ferrari was on that list but after the car crash and losing this season he has lost the chance to make that happen.
This year Brooks essentially took out the best guy that he will ever have to wrestle in college, and he did it twice. There were some doubts heading into nationals after that Big Ten finals loss but those were shut down pretty quickly during the finals as Brooks handled Amine with little to no problems.
Looking into this next season the 184 field is solid with Parker Keckeisen, Bernie Traux and Trent Hidlay but Brooks if he can keep up what he has been doing should be looking at an undefeated season.
Dean after 3 years finally won his National Title. Now the hard part is to do it again he will need to get through AJ Ferrari who will be coming back next season. Can Dean get it done, possibly he is a great wrestler and Cael somehow just gets things to happen but I do not know how likely this is.
Even without Ferrari back 197 was a loaded field with some insane depth. Guys like Rocky Elam, Stephen Buchanan, Yonger Bastida, and Gavin Hoffman are going to be looking to come for that crown so it is up to Dean to defend it.
Kerkvliet vs Schultz seems to be the national finals after the entire mess of a NCAA Tournament this season. Cassioppi if he is at full health here could shake some things up but the way these two are progressing I would doubt it.
Kerkvliet has done some big things for the Nittany Lions even due to the fact that he has never been healthy in college. Should he continue healing up for next season he could very well finally cash in on that national title that he has been wanting for a while now.