Cael Sanderson's squad took the first step in the 2009-2010 season last night, competing in the Intrasquad Dual in Rec Hall in front of approximately 2400 fans. I can remember regular season dual meets that didn't draw that many fans but I digress. It was great to see Cael roaming the gym floor of Rec Hall and even better to hear his name announced as the coach of the Nittany Lions. There is a serious buzz around Penn State Wrestling, so much so you can almost feel it.
But enough about that, there was actual wrestling to report on even though it was just a glorified scrimmage that may (or may not) determine who wrestles at each weight. Sanderson believes most or all of his incoming freshman class and a couple current wrestlers will redshirt this season. So we got a chance to see a sneak peek at the future and things are looking good. While the future is bright, the present is… not so much. First the results:
174: Justin Ortega dec. David Erwin, 6-2
184: Ed Ruth maj. dec. J.R. Brown, 10-1
Exhib 184: Quentin Wright dec. David Crowell, 8-2
197: Luke Macchiaroli dec. Clay Steadman, 5-3
285: #20 Cameron Wade tech. fall Brendan Herlihy, 15-0 (7:00)
125: #8 Brad Pataky tech. fall Tom Reynolds, 16-1 (3:17)
133: Tyler Saltsman dec. Bryan Pearsall, 6-4 (SV)
141: Adam Lynch inj. def. Colby Pisani, (Pisani cramping)
149: #6 Frank Molinaro maj. dec. James English, 12-4
157: #5 Cyler Sanderson dec. David Taylor, 11-4
165: Jake Kemerer dec. #9 Dan Vallimont, 4-3
Ed Ruth, Luke Macchiaroli, and Jake Kemerer are all incoming freshman expected to redshirt which is unfortunate because they would all be wrestling at their respective weight classes. David Taylor is another of the incoming freshman, he and Quentin Wright are also expected to redshirt. While Taylor didn't win he wrestled extremely well for a true freshman wrestling against the fifth ranked wrestler in the nation. Taylor showed why he was ranked the top recruit in the nation by riding Sanderson out the entire third period. Give him a year to adjust to college wrestling and David Taylor is going to be something special.
As for the guys that remain, Ortega was a big surprise beating out David Erwin and Dan Vallimont needs to step things up. Vallimont has definitely not bought into Sanderson's offensive style of wrestling. Vallimont has always been a defensive wrestler that wins close matches even against far less talented wrestlers and Kemerer showed what happens when you let someone hang around. Jake got the winning takedown with just 5 seconds left.
David Crowell is a transfer from Pitt and won't be eligible until January and when he is he will probably have the spot at 184, until then J.R. Brown is the only option. Expect big gaping holes at 197, 133, and 141. Sanderson has said that the core team of returning ranked wrestlers could still make a run but referring to this team as a "real strong tournament team" as he has in the past is just another way of saying PSU is in bad shape in dual meets because of the holes in the lineup.
It's going to be an interesting year nonetheless, and the Sanderson era has just begun. Great things come to those that wait and for Penn State Wrestling fans, we've been waiting for greatness a long, long time; what's another year or two?