The Penn State Wrestling team traveled to start the Big Ten season and if last weekend's results are a harbinger of things to come its obvious The Nittany Lions enjoy kissing their sisters.
There's ties in wrestling!?!
Friday's dual was a bit of a disappointment while Saturday's was simply a match of survival.
Currently, erstwhile 157 pounder Dan Vallimont can no longer make weight at his former spot and has moved up to 165 leaving a gaping hole at 157 which is presently occupied by Colby Pisani who is up TWO weight classes to wrestle 157. Needless to say, Pisani is at a very distinct disadvantage at that weight and is getting thrown to the wolves.
Against Indiana, Vallimont lost to unranked Paul Young 4-1 making the move look a bit suspect but Dan later bounced back and beat No. 9 Luke Manuel of Purdue. The jury is still out if Dan can compete at 165, but there's no doubt it hurts Penn State at 157. Frank Molinaro continues his up and down season, barely getting by unranked 141 pounder Scott Kelly of Indiana 8-6 in a bout that Molinaro should have dominated. Then, against Matt Hemry of Purdue Molinaro got a quick takedown and rolled Hemry to his back twice to take a 9-0 lead into the second period. Like most of his season though he followed that up by getting taken down three times in a row in the second period. Frank did go on to post an 18-6 major decision but the bout is just another example of the inconsistency he has wrestled with all season.
Like I said previously, the Indiana dual was disappointing because of the opportunities lost. 125 pounder Brad Pataky started the dual off with a bang beating defending national champion Angel Escobedo 4-3. The dual ended in a tie though as opportunities to score the winning points were lost at 165 where the aforementioned Dan Vallimont lost to and unranked wrestler, at 149 where Bubba Jenkins injured his ankle early in the first period on a takedown and had to wrestle on one leg the rest of the bout, and at 174 where Quentin Wright (ranked 14th) lost to Indiana's Trevor Perry (ranked 17th) in sudden victory overtime. The injury to Jenkins was enough to keep him out of the lineup against Purdue so the tie Saturday night was more of a victory to a team that was so shorthanded.
Pataky had a great weekend beating the defending national champ and then notching an 8-0 major decision shutout against Purdue. The other wrestler that was impressive last weekend was 184 pounder Jack Decker who posted an amazing 15-0 tech fall without the aid of a takedown. Decker used the same move against Indiana's Eric Cameron to roll the Hoosier to his back and score 3 near fall points five times to post the win. Then against Purdue, Decker held serve against No.14 A.J. Kissel losing a tough 2-1 decision. Considering Decker wasn't the starter at the beginning of the season, that's a pretty impressive weekend. It's apparent that Penn State is going to be a total wasteland at 157, 197, and Heavyweight, so they will need the rest of the team to pick it up at least in the dual meet season. Once the Big Ten's start it's just a matter of getting as many wrestlers through as possible.
Penn State returns home this weekend for a huge dual against No 10 Minnesota Friday night, a team they could have beat in the National Duals. The Nittany Lions then take on No. 17 Wisconsin Sunday a match that could go either way.