Friday, February 13, 2009

Wrestling Wreport: down the home stretch edition

The Penn State Wrestling team hasn't won a dual meet since the 10th of January when they beat Michigan 21-18 in the National Duals. This weekend PSU travels to the state of Michigan to face the same Wolverine wrestling team and MSU. These two matches will close out the Big Ten dual meet schedule and the only remaining dual will be a matchup against Penn next Friday at Rec Hall. All three matches are critical because they are all winnable and Penn State needs some momentum going into the Big Ten Championships in three weeks (March 7th and 8th).

Unlike recently, Penn State should* be going into this weekend with a lot healthier lineup as #2 Bubby Jenkins returns and Redshirt Freshman Tim Darling adds depth to the lineup at 157 (Darling made his dual meet debut last weekend and had one of Penn State's four wins). If Jenkins wrestles it would easily be a 6-9 point swing and Darling proved his takedown ability last weekend if he can continue to improve in other aspects Penn State should be fine.

#24 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-10-2, 0-4-2 Big Ten)
Wt. Name Yr. 2008-09 Record
125 #13 Brad Pataky So. (24-6)
133 #9 Jake Strayer Sr. (15-4)
141 Frank Molinaro Fr. (17-11)
149 #2 Bubba Jenkins Jr. (19-0)
157 Tim Darling Fr. (14-5)
165 #20 Dan Vallimont Jr. (15-8)
174 #16 Quentin Wright Fr. (24-8)
184 Jack Decker Sr. (8-10)
197 J.R. Brown Fr. (3-14)
HWT Cameron Wade Fr. (12-10)

Michigan State Spartans (6-6-0, 1-4-0 Big Ten)
Wt. Name Yr. 2008-09 Record
125 Eric Olanowski Fr. (18-12 )
133 #6 Franklin Gomez Jr. (14-2)
141 Collin Dozier Fr. (13-13 )
149 David Cheza Fr. (14-17)
157 Anthony Jones So. (20-9)
165 Rex Kendle Sr. (20-9)
174 Ian Hinton Fr. (16-11)
184 Nick Palmieri Jr. (7-8)
197 Tyler Dickenson Fr. (8-16)
HWT Alan O'Donnell Jr. (16-15)

#17 Michigan Wolverines (8-6-1, 3-0-1 Big Ten)
Wt. Name Yr. 2008-09 Record
125 #17 Michael Watts Sr. (12-7)
133 Zac Stevens Fr. (13-14)
141 #5 Kellen Russell So. (18-2)
149 Mark Beaudry So. (2-6)
157 Aaron Hynes So. Mt. (14-10)
165 Justin Zeerip Fr. (6-12)
174 #1 Steve Luke Sr. (20-0)
184 #13 Anthony Biondo So. (14-8)
197 #6 Tyrel Todd Sr. (14-1)
HWT Eddie Phillips So. (11-11)

Against Sparty the only marquee matchup is #9 Jake Strayer vs. #6 Franklin Gomez at 133, but important for individual and possibly dual meet reasons are the matchups at 157 and 165. Tim Darling and Dan Vallimont both get wrestlers with decent 20-9 records and both need to get wins not only to build momentum personally but to cement the middle of the lineup in that dual meet. Bubba gets a freshman with a losing record and that's pretty much what the doctor ordered to get him back into the swing of things and test that ankle.

In the Wolverine match, Penn State really has some bad draws. Whoever fills in the black hole of death at 197 will surely get pinned and Jack Decker is in for a tough match at 184. But Quentin Wright has the toughest test getting unbeaten and top-ranked Steve Luke. Pataky must win at 125 and Bubba has to get bonus points at 149 facing a wrestler with a 2-6 record. The match could hinge on 141 where Frank Molinaro faces #5 Kellen Russell; if Frank wrestles like he has been and loses big, the bonus points could be the difference, but if he digs down and wrestles a full match and keeps it close the lack of bonus points could be in Penn State's favor.

*I have no prior knowledge of any wrestler's injury status, just a logical guess. Bubba has been walking without crutches for a couple weeks now but ankle sprains can be nagging sometimes.


wvlion said...

You say Vallimont and Darling need "to cement the middle of the lineup." The way Bubba likes the cement mixer, I think he should be added to the list.

Galen said...

Ha, good point wvlion, very good point.