125 Scott Parker vs, Jordan Conaway. Conaway, favored in this match, hasn’t wrestled at this weight in a couple of years but it’s his natural weight class. Parker is also a PA product that has been great in the room. Will he be an able replacement for redshirt Darian Cruz, who was an All American as a true freshman? I’ve got to think that Conaway should have a big advantage here. If Parker keeps it close he’ll have a higher ceiling come March.
133 #2 Mason Beckman Jr. vs. Jimmy Gulibon – Beckman has been on the winning end of this matchup before. Beckman won last year’s duel 7-6 but Gulibon was coming back just as time ran out. Big things are expected from both wrestlers this season. Beckman just competed at the NWCA and is a returning AA. Gulibon may have let his freshman season get away from him a bit. He seemed to get his weight and conditioning under control partway into the season but he wasn’t as aggressive or strong (big) as he’d been in high school. He let some close matches get away from him. This year he looks bigger and seems like he’s on a mission. Edge: Beckman
141 Randy Cruz So. vs. Kade Moss- Cruz was a national qualifier as a true freshmen. Moss will be seeing his first action in the starting lineup with Zain Retherford taking a redshirt this season. Other than a great high school wrestling resume and university nationals Greco-Roman experience Moss hasn’t wrestled in a Penn State dual meet. The Greco background might translate well into college hand fighting and tie-ups. Cruz is coming off a red shirt season that was good but not great. He didn’t have any signature wins against top wrestlers. Cruz is better than his recent fall versus Hofstra. Toss up.
149 Drew Longo vs. Zach Beitz- I think that Beitz will be wide open in this match and earn bonus points over Longo. THe question about Beitz is did he round out his attacks from last year? If Gardener starts this match moves to toss up.
157 Dylan Milonas vs. Cody Law?- 2 Freshman going at it. I’m not sure who will get the nod at the weight. Milonas was the #14 overall recruit coming out of Blair. PSU hopes that Law improved the most since college. Edge Milonas.
165 Santiago Martinez vs. Garrett Hammond-Martinez just beat Pepplemen at the brown and white wrestle offs to start here. He’s a grad student with one year of eligibility left to prove that he can wrestle well on the D1 level. He wrestled successfully at the NAIA and NCWA level winning back-to-back titles at the NCWA level. I think that Martinez is going to be too much for Hammond who had a very good redshirt season but didn’t exceed expectations with signature wins. Edge to Martinez
174 Peppelman vs. Brown – Peppelman didn’t have much offense against top guys when he was up at Cornell but has good defense and hips. Neither guy is good in the scramble, unless Brown improved over the summer. Brown will control the match. My question is will Brown break Peppelman and then break open the match. Peppelman will be the smaller athlete. He wrestled off Martinez at 165 last week.
184 Brown vs. McCutcheon-These two haven’t met before. McCutcheon is stepping into the role after Ed Ruth wrestled 184 pretty well for PSU. This will be McCutcheon’s first varsity match. It won’t be easy, Brown is ranked in the top 5 in most polls and I see him as a title contender. If McCutcheon wins this and the Thomusseit match when they wrestle Pitt, Sanderson may reconsider redshirting Megaludis and Retherford. Unlikely. I’m going with a Brown victory, by 7-9 points.
197 McIntosh Vs. Riddick- has Riddick gotten big enough to compete with a returning All American at his new weight? McIntosh majored Bolich at last year’s meeting. Bolich and Riddick wrestle much closer than that, likely due to familiarity. Can McIntosh get in low and finish on Riddick? Can Riddick takedown McIntosh? McIntosh will have a harder time opening it up against Bolich but still gets the win.
285 Vollaro vs. Gingrich? Last year Gingrich won against Vollaro 5-2. Vollaro seems to have gotten a better mental game plan., the question is: has he grown enough to close or overcome the gap? Heavyweight is the last mystery for PSU. There were rumors that true freshman Nick Nevills was winning in the room before a serious shoulder injury knocked him off the mats for the anticipated future. I’ll take Vollaro by 1 point. 17-15 PSU See more about Vollaro