No. 1 Penn State Defeats No. 2 Iowa in the Showdown of the Season
In front of 15,998 fans at a sold-out Bryce Jordan Center, No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa squared off in the most heated and anticipated dual meet of the season on Friday. Iowa kept things tight in the first half, winning key matchups at 141, 149 and 165. But, once again, the Nittany Lions’ stacked lineup from 174 and on was too much for the Hawkeyes (or, let’s be honest, any team really) to handle. This storied rivalry ended with Penn State on top 23-14.
Early in the week, rumors circulated about a possible RBY and Spencer Lee matchup. This would mean Lee opting to bump up a weight class for nothing else but a little more competition. Lee long ago established that he cannot be touched at 125 by any NCAA contender, so wrestling fans indulged in the idea of a matchup between the two greats. Those hopes were immediately squashed when the lineup posted promptly on the screen at 8:30 p.m.
Lee took on a new face PSU fans haven’t seen at 125, Marco Vespa. Honestly, Vespa’s quick cradle off the opening whistle might have been the most impressive moment of this dual meet. Lee went on to tech Vespa 18-2, but seriously, when is the last time Lee got caught in a cradle and gave up a takedown? Plus, the tech was one extra team point saved that PSU wasn’t anticipating. No time wasted in getting the party started at 125, on to 133.
Former Penn Stater, No. 17 Brody Teske met No. 1 RBY for a tall task of “limiting the damage” for the Hawkeyes. He was getting the job done heading into the third period down 4-1, until RBY scored a late takedown, worked it into a cradle, and turned Teske to his back for a Penn State pin with just 11 seconds left on the clock. This completely rocked the BJC and was a huge advantage for the Nittany Lions leading 6-5 this early on.
PSU dropped the next two matchups, both really hard-fought battles for Bartlett and Van Ness, each only giving up one takedown but unable to return the offense. Freshman No. 9 Levi Haines pulled back on Iowa’s lead with a narrow 3-2 win at 157 and headed into the half with Penn State down, 9-11.
For the third straight week, we saw No. 5 Alex Facundo’s match go into OT. Iowa’s No. 13 Patrick Kennedy escaped in just 4 seconds in the first tiebreaker period, leading to a neutral start decision from Facundo for his period. Facundo had to get a takedown to win it and just couldn’t take Kennedy to the mat. The team score was now 14-9, Iowa, with four matches left.
Usually, you’d feel good about this lead six bouts in. But, when you’re staring Starocci, Brooks, Dean, and Kerkvliet in the face… yikes. No. 16 Nelson Brands stalled for seven straight minutes to hold Starocci to a 2-1 victory. But hey, a win’s a win – no victory dance needed. Brooks had a tech fall, Dean easily handled No. 7 Jacob Warner (no dramatic finish this time around), and Kirkvliet posted a convincing 4-1 win over No. 3 Tony Cassioppi.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Big Ten. They’re on the road this weekend headed to Columbus for a Friday night matchup with No. 5 Ohio State. It will air live on Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes are coming off wins over Michigan and Michigan State and feeling very confident. Here are the matchups to look for:
133: PSU No. 1 RBY vs OSU No. 9 Jesse Mendez
141: PSU No. 4 Beau Bartlett vs PSU No. 18 Dylan D’Emilio
149: PSU No. 13 Shayne Van Ness vs OSU No. 3 Sammy Sasso
165: PSU No. 16 Alex Facundo vs OSU No. 9 Carson Kharchla
174: PSU No. 1 Carter Starocci vs OSU No. 8 Ethan Smith
185: PSU No. 1 Aaron Brooks vs OSU No. 5 Kaleb Romero
BOUT BY BOUT:
No.1 PSU - 23, No. 2 IOWA - 14
125: IOWA No. 1 Spencer Lee tech fall PSU Marco Vespa, 18-2 (TF; 2:14)
133: PSU No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young pinned IOWA No. 17 Brody Teske, WBF (6:49)
141: IOWA No. 2 Real Woods dec. PSU No. 4 Beau Bartlett, 4-1
149: IOWA No. 7 Max Murin dec. PSU No. 13 Shayne Van Ness, 4-1
157: PSU No. 9 Levi Haines dec. IOWA No. 15 Cobe Siebrecht, 3-2
165: IOWA No. 13 Patrick Kennedy dec. PSU No. 5 Alex Facundo, 2-1 (tb)
174: PSU No. 1 Carter Starocci dec. IOWA No. 16 Nelson Brands, 2-1
184: PSU No. 1 Aaron Brooks tech fall IOWA Drake Rhodes, 22-7 (TF; 5:42)
197: PSU No. 4 Max Dean dec. IOWA No. 7 Jacob Warner, 2-0
285: PSU No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet dec. IOWA No. 3 Tony Cassioppi, 4-1