On the bright side of things Penn State competed in the Sprawl and Brawl dual meet tournament in Binghamton, N.Y. on the weekend of Nov. 23rd and went 3-0 on the weekend defeating (then) No. 15 Edinboro, No. 24 Virginia and host Binghamton.
Currently Ranked Wrestlers
133 – Tim Haas (No. 20)
149 – Bubba Jenkins (No. 2)
157 – Dan Vallimont (No. 8)
174 – Quentin Wright (No. 18)
184 – Phil Bomberger (No. 16)
On the disappointing side, Dan Vallimont, who finished 3rd last season, started the year ranked 3rd in the preseason and has slipped to 8th after a horrible start. Vallimont is national championship caliber yet he has wrestled terrible in the first couple months. He's losing to wrestlers he beat last season and he even lost to an unranked wrestler against Virginia. At one point Vallimont lost three in a row. I scoured the message boards and there doesn't seem to be anything physically wrong with him. I managed to see the Hofstra match and Vallimont looked gassed at the end, actually the entire team looked out of shape. Hopefully Vallimont will get back to form after the Holiday break.
Another wrestler that has started out slow is 125-pounder Brad Pataky. Pataky started the year off ranked #20 but has since dropped out of the rankings. Brad took two redshirt years (one normal redshirt and a special redshirt to try and make the Olympic team) after a great true freshman season and has a lot of potential. After watching him wrestle it's my guess that he's readjusting back to the college style after wrestling freestyle for two years, but with two years of freestyle he should be dynamite on his feet but he hasn't been. Again, I'm not worried, I think he'll get better as the year goes on and actually had a great weekend going 4-0 with two tech-falls.
After a great junior season Phil Bomberger seems to be reverting back to the Bomberger of the past. Phil had a terrible sophomore season but turned it around his junior season and made it to nationals. But he seems to be having the same confidence issues that plagued him in the past. Phil is a tough competitor but he just needs to be more aggressive.
On the bright side, senior Tim Haas has wrestled well and for the first time is ranked. He lost a close one to #2 Troy Nickerson of Cornell 5-2 and has wrestled well so far. The only bad thing is Jake Strayer, who is a returning All-American from two years ago, will move down from 141 and probably beat Haas out.
The story of the season though is true freshman Quentin Wright at 174. Wright came out of high school as one of the most highly touted recruits but is lean for 174. The plan was for Wright to redshirt after he lost out to junior David Erwin and try to build some muscle on his wiry frame, but Erwin suffered a season-ending injury and Wright was thrust into the starting lineup. His collegiate debut was against #6 Alton Lucas of Hofstra and it was one of, if not the most exciting matches I've ever watched. For a wrestler in his first collegiate match Wright was surprisingly aggressive. Wright got taken down in the first and with two escapes the bout went into the third tied 2-2. Lucas chose down and escaped to take a 3-2 lead with 1:40 left in the bout. Wright kept up his offense but could not break through, but as time was winding down Wright managed to work under Lucas and get behind for what appeared to be the winning takedown just as time expired. Initially the ref gave Wright the takedown but the backup ref thought that time had expired before the two points. After a consultation between the two refs and the scorer's desk, and as the crowd buzzed in anticipation, the head ref threw two fingers in the air signaling the takedown and the crowd exploded. Quentin Wright had beaten the #6 wrestler in his first match.
Wright's potential is through the roof, the only thing he lacks is experience and as the season goes on you'll see him get better and better.
Penn State hosts their annual Open wrestling tournament this weekend and will be back in action next Sunday for a dual meet against West Virginia.