2022-2023 Season, an early look

zzs006

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Mar 27, 2017
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So far Decatur beat Demilio and Kharchala loses 2-1 to Hepner after getting rode the entire 3rd period
Decatur is the most frustrating wrestler. On his feet he is super dynamic and almost RBY quick but in typical tOSU fashion he sucks on bottom. The frustration comes when he gets “hurt” every single match and I mean EVERY match. Of course it’s really him just taking a lunger because he’s always in horrible shape. I would love if he got it figured out because he has undeniable talent. I’m still surprised he beat D’Emilio though. Probably just familiarity. I wonder if it actually carries any weight in who starts?
 

BruceK-PSU83

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Gold Member
May 29, 2001
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Decatur is the most frustrating wrestler. On his feet he is super dynamic and almost RBY quick but in typical tOSU fashion he sucks on bottom. The frustration comes when he gets “hurt” every single match and I mean EVERY match. Of course it’s really him just taking a lunger because he’s always in horrible shape. I would love if he got it figured out because he has undeniable talent. I’m still surprised he beat D’Emilio though. Probably just familiarity. I wonder if it actually carries any weight in who starts?
Gotta believe Decatur will be better at 141. What you state about his conditioning is true, but he also clearly struggled with the cut to 133. Only mildly surprised that he beat D'Emilio.
 
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RoarLions1

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May 11, 2012
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Penn State Nittany Lions

Known Entities, likely All-Americans:
133: Roman Bravo-Young – A four-time NCAA qualifier with an 8th place finish (2019) to go with his two individual National Championships (2021 & 2022). Likely to lead the team in takedowns, RBY is among the most fun-to-watch guys in all of college wrestling. His cap is 1st obviously, but 133 is not without its challengers. Daton Fix has wrestled him close twice, with one move in each bout the difference. Fix is a junior, so waiting another year for his championship would be fine with me. A newcomer to 133 is Vito Arujau, moving up from 125. No folkstyle history here, but they did wrestle in folkstyle. It happened in 2018, so it is meaningless for this season, but I will mention the result – handily won by Arujau.
174: Carter Starocci – Watching this young man improve during his RSFR season was enjoyable, and he ended up winning a first individual National Championship. He followed that up with another in 2022, albeit hard-fought in the finals in a TB-2 riding time win. His opponent in that match, Mehki Lewis returns in what could again be a barn-burner of a final if it happens. Interestingly, they face each other Nov. 22 at the All-Star Classic. Cap is an obvious one, and it’s hard to imagine Starocci out of the top-2.
184: Aaron Brooks – Like Starocci, Brooks has two consecutive individual National Championships, missing out on three when the 2020 Championships in Minnesota were cancelled. He is the class at 184, even more so since Myles Amine has graduated. I believe the gap here (between the current #1, Brooks, and the #2 guy) is greater than that at 174, though Keckeisen is super solid. Again, these guys will face off at the All-Star Classic so we’ll get a read, albeit an early one, though Brooks owns a 2-0 advantage. Brooks’ cap is an obvious one.
197: Max Dean – The third wrestler in Penn State’s dynamic upper weights, Dean is a 3-time NCAA qualifier with 8th, 2nd and 1st to his credit. His first two AA finishes were at Cornell while his 2022 Championship was with the Lions. Dean’s cap is 1st, but he does wrestle close matches. Among his five bout wins in Detroit were two 1-point wins and a 2-point win. Interestingly, his style is one that makes me feel like he’s in control, even in tight bouts – and I cannot say that about many wrestlers. I believe Dean is now settled in at 197, unlike last season when he moved up from 184, so that too bodes well. The top spot is his cap, but there are a bevy of talented and hungry guys that are good enough to challenge Dean, more guys than I see at 174 or 184. There’s Warner, Buchanan, Truax, Deprez (a very close 4-3 bout for Dean at NCAA’s!), even former Penn Stater Michael Beard.
285: Greg Kerkvliet – A two-time NCAA qualifier, with 7th and 4th place finishes, I believe we have not yet seen the best of this Lion wrestler – not even close. I suspect he’ll be bigger and stronger this coming season. The top of the medal stand is his cap, and there are only a couple guys (Schultz, Parris, Cassioppi) in his company, as I believe they have separated themselves from the pack. His two wins last season against Parris were impressive, and he has yet to beat Schultz or Cassioppi (another All-Star Classic match-up, so they could wrestle four times this season!).

Next Level:
125: Robert Howard – An NCAA qualifier in 2021 and round-of-16 finisher, Howard was unable to go last season, not wrestling a single bout. Tough luck has followed him during his time at Penn State, and all fans are hopeful that the talented wrestler can reach his potential, starting in 2022-23. At this point in time, I’m making no prediction.
141: Beau Bartlett – Bartlett is back at 141 after two years at 149. A team player, 141 is a more natural weight AND moving down makes the team stronger. One could see the talent in the past, but in my eyes he was just a smidgeon undersized. Never really horsed around while wrestling lots of close matches at 149, the slight strength deficit cost him at NCAA’s losing two 2-point bouts. The good news, this won’t be the case at 141. Reviewing the weight class, there’s no one he can’t beat in my opinion, though I cannot in good faith make his cap 1st place. Lower half of the AA’s, say 5th would be my guess, or he could finish outside the money. I’ll give him a 51% chance of an AA finish. Not ranked currently as high as he’ll end the season, I believe a slow move up the ladder is going to happen.

The Rest:
149: Shayne Van Ness – Who is this guy? I think we’ll find out soon…and be delighted! Only wrestling two bouts last season, the former #1 recruit has had a bit of misfortune in his recent collegiate experirnce. Without seeing much more than his high school bouts, I’m going to resist hyperbole, and let the young man work his way into what I’m hopeful is a solid ranking and a great first season as starter. I feel 149 is a stacked weight class, so again, no predictions just yet except to say he’s certainly AA-caliber.

157: Terrell Barraclough – The Penn State sophomore has yet to make the NCAA’s, but does have a distinctive style and the talent to keep all matches close. Last season Barraclough lost his first bout by Major Decision, but by season’s end he wrestled Lewan, Saldate, Young and Robb only separated by one takedown in each bout. He’s solid, but so far unspectacular. While qualifying for NCAA’s would be likely, an AA finish is doubtful. Which leads me to a possibility that is available to the coaches – they could decide to remove Levi Haines from redshirt. The 12th overall ranked recruit in 2022, Haines already has made a mark, wrestling in eight bouts in two college tournaments as a high school senior last season, winning all eight. Granted it wasn’t as grueling as wrestling top guys nearly every week, but if the coaches decide to “pull the shirt”, fine with me. If they decide not to, fine as well. Solid chance to AA if it happens.
165: Alex Facundo – 10-3 in his redshirt season last year, Facundo is the #2 ranked recruit from the class of 2021. Last season’s result were mixed, losing to Best (TB), Fish (by 2) and Bullard (by 1), with no notable wins. To me, he looked a bit out-strengthed (made up word) at times, a gap that should be eliminated with a year of strength & conditioning, and time in the room. I could also see the potential for Facundo to be a heavy bonus point scorer in time, though not so much in 2022-23. 165 is a tough weigh class, so I’ll keep an AA finish probability at 10% (and hope I’m wrong). Frankly, I did the same with Patrick Kennedy of Iowa.

The Team: Gone are 25.5 points of Penn State’s 131.5 total from this past March’s National Championship Tournament. The good news is that 106 total points return, and Penn State’s line-up, overall, could be an improved one from last season. Assuming good health (really I’m rooting for this for all teams) this will be a tough team to beat. Up-and-down the line-up will be a competitive wrestler. Minus Bonus Points, I calculate close to 130 points as an absolute top-end score, unrealistic frankly at this time. A low-end total for Placement and Advancement could be in the 103-107 range, so something north of that by 8-10 points seems about right.

All that said, I feel a need to qualify my comments. It appears, on paper that a healthy PSU team could waltz to the National Championship. I’ll never go that far. It’s a long season and lots can happen. The wrestlers must put in the time and energy, or bad things can happen. Plus, the favorite always has a target on them, something this team relishes, tbh. Here’s for an exciting season!
 

Cali_Nittany

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,136
11,234
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The PRC
Penn State Nittany Lions

Known Entities, likely All-Americans:
133: Roman Bravo-Young – A four-time NCAA qualifier with an 8th place finish (2019) to go with his two individual National Championships (2021 & 2022). Likely to lead the team in takedowns, RBY is among the most fun-to-watch guys in all of college wrestling. His cap is 1st obviously, but 133 is not without its challengers. Daton Fix has wrestled him close twice, with one move in each bout the difference. Fix is a junior, so waiting another year for his championship would be fine with me. A newcomer to 133 is Vito Arujau, moving up from 125. No folkstyle history here, but they did wrestle in folkstyle. It happened in 2018, so it is meaningless for this season, but I will mention the result – handily won by Arujau.
174: Carter Starocci – Watching this young man improve during his RSFR season was enjoyable, and he ended up winning a first individual National Championship. He followed that up with another in 2022, albeit hard-fought in the finals in a TB-2 riding time win. His opponent in that match, Mehki Lewis returns in what could again be a barn-burner of a final if it happens. Interestingly, they face each other Nov. 22 at the All-Star Classic. Cap is an obvious one, and it’s hard to imagine Starocci out of the top-2.
184: Aaron Brooks – Like Starocci, Brooks has two consecutive individual National Championships, missing out on three when the 2020 Championships in Minnesota were cancelled. He is the class at 184, even more so since Myles Amine has graduated. I believe the gap here (between the current #1, Brooks, and the #2 guy) is greater than that at 174, though Keckeisen is super solid. Again, these guys will face off at the All-Star Classic so we’ll get a read, albeit an early one, though Brooks owns a 2-0 advantage. Brooks’ cap is an obvious one.
197: Max Dean – The third wrestler in Penn State’s dynamic upper weights, Dean is a 3-time NCAA qualifier with 8th, 2nd and 1st to his credit. His first two AA finishes were at Cornell while his 2022 Championship was with the Lions. Dean’s cap is 1st, but he does wrestle close matches. Among his five bout wins in Detroit were two 1-point wins and a 2-point win. Interestingly, his style is one that makes me feel like he’s in control, even in tight bouts – and I cannot say that about many wrestlers. I believe Dean is now settled in at 197, unlike last season when he moved up from 184, so that too bodes well. The top spot is his cap, but there are a bevy of talented and hungry guys that are good enough to challenge Dean, more guys than I see at 174 or 184. There’s Warner, Buchanan, Truax, Deprez (a very close 4-3 bout for Dean at NCAA’s!), even former Penn Stater Michael Beard.
285: Greg Kerkvliet – A two-time NCAA qualifier, with 7th and 4th place finishes, I believe we have not yet seen the best of this Lion wrestler – not even close. I suspect he’ll be bigger and stronger this coming season. The top of the medal stand is his cap, and there are only a couple guys (Schultz, Parris, Cassioppi) in his company, as I believe they have separated themselves from the pack. His two wins last season against Parris were impressive, and he has yet to beat Schultz or Cassioppi (another All-Star Classic match-up, so they could wrestle four times this season!).

Next Level:
125: Robert Howard – An NCAA qualifier in 2021 and round-of-16 finisher, Howard was unable to go last season, not wrestling a single bout. Tough luck has followed him during his time at Penn State, and all fans are hopeful that the talented wrestler can reach his potential, starting in 2022-23. At this point in time, I’m making no prediction.
141: Beau Bartlett – Bartlett is back at 141 after two years at 149. A team player, 141 is a more natural weight AND moving down makes the team stronger. One could see the talent in the past, but in my eyes he was just a smidgeon undersized. Never really horsed around while wrestling lots of close matches at 149, the slight strength deficit cost him at NCAA’s losing two 2-point bouts. The good news, this won’t be the case at 141. Reviewing the weight class, there’s no one he can’t beat in my opinion, though I cannot in good faith make his cap 1st place. Lower half of the AA’s, say 5th would be my guess, or he could finish outside the money. I’ll give him a 51% chance of an AA finish. Not ranked currently as high as he’ll end the season, I believe a slow move up the ladder is going to happen.

The Rest:
149: Shayne Van Ness – Who is this guy? I think we’ll find out soon…and be delighted! Only wrestling two bouts last season, the former #1 recruit has had a bit of misfortune in his recent collegiate experirnce. Without seeing much more than his high school bouts, I’m going to resist hyperbole, and let the young man work his way into what I’m hopeful is a solid ranking and a great first season as starter. I feel 149 is a stacked weight class, so again, no predictions just yet except to say he’s certainly AA-caliber.

157: Terrell Barraclough – The Penn State sophomore has yet to make the NCAA’s, but does have a distinctive style and the talent to keep all matches close. Last season Barraclough lost his first bout by Major Decision, but by season’s end he wrestled Lewan, Saldate, Young and Robb only separated by one takedown in each bout. He’s solid, but so far unspectacular. While qualifying for NCAA’s would be likely, an AA finish is doubtful. Which leads me to a possibility that is available to the coaches – they could decide to remove Levi Haines from redshirt. The 12th overall ranked recruit in 2022, Haines already has made a mark, wrestling in eight bouts in two college tournaments as a high school senior last season, winning all eight. Granted it wasn’t as grueling as wrestling top guys nearly every week, but if the coaches decide to “pull the shirt”, fine with me. If they decide not to, fine as well. Solid chance to AA if it happens.
165: Alex Facundo – 10-3 in his redshirt season last year, Facundo is the #2 ranked recruit from the class of 2021. Last season’s result were mixed, losing to Best (TB), Fish (by 2) and Bullard (by 1), with no notable wins. To me, he looked a bit out-strengthed (made up word) at times, a gap that should be eliminated with a year of strength & conditioning, and time in the room. I could also see the potential for Facundo to be a heavy bonus point scorer in time, though not so much in 2022-23. 165 is a tough weigh class, so I’ll keep an AA finish probability at 10% (and hope I’m wrong). Frankly, I did the same with Patrick Kennedy of Iowa.

The Team: Gone are 25.5 points of Penn State’s 131.5 total from this past March’s National Championship Tournament. The good news is that 106 total points return, and Penn State’s line-up, overall, could be an improved one from last season. Assuming good health (really I’m rooting for this for all teams) this will be a tough team to beat. Up-and-down the line-up will be a competitive wrestler. Minus Bonus Points, I calculate close to 130 points as an absolute top-end score, unrealistic frankly at this time. A low-end total for Placement and Advancement could be in the 103-107 range, so something north of that by 8-10 points seems about right.

All that said, I feel a need to qualify my comments. It appears, on paper that a healthy PSU team could waltz to the National Championship. I’ll never go that far. It’s a long season and lots can happen. The wrestlers must put in the time and energy, or bad things can happen. Plus, the favorite always has a target on them, something this team relishes, tbh. Here’s for an exciting season!

Thanks for posting these previews!

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creamery freak

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2014
2,057
4,645
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Penn State Nittany Lions

Known Entities, likely All-Americans:
133: Roman Bravo-Young – A four-time NCAA qualifier with an 8th place finish (2019) to go with his two individual National Championships (2021 & 2022). Likely to lead the team in takedowns, RBY is among the most fun-to-watch guys in all of college wrestling. His cap is 1st obviously, but 133 is not without its challengers. Daton Fix has wrestled him close twice, with one move in each bout the difference. Fix is a junior, so waiting another year for his championship would be fine with me. A newcomer to 133 is Vito Arujau, moving up from 125. No folkstyle history here, but they did wrestle in folkstyle. It happened in 2018, so it is meaningless for this season, but I will mention the result – handily won by Arujau.
174: Carter Starocci – Watching this young man improve during his RSFR season was enjoyable, and he ended up winning a first individual National Championship. He followed that up with another in 2022, albeit hard-fought in the finals in a TB-2 riding time win. His opponent in that match, Mehki Lewis returns in what could again be a barn-burner of a final if it happens. Interestingly, they face each other Nov. 22 at the All-Star Classic. Cap is an obvious one, and it’s hard to imagine Starocci out of the top-2.
184: Aaron Brooks – Like Starocci, Brooks has two consecutive individual National Championships, missing out on three when the 2020 Championships in Minnesota were cancelled. He is the class at 184, even more so since Myles Amine has graduated. I believe the gap here (between the current #1, Brooks, and the #2 guy) is greater than that at 174, though Keckeisen is super solid. Again, these guys will face off at the All-Star Classic so we’ll get a read, albeit an early one, though Brooks owns a 2-0 advantage. Brooks’ cap is an obvious one.
197: Max Dean – The third wrestler in Penn State’s dynamic upper weights, Dean is a 3-time NCAA qualifier with 8th, 2nd and 1st to his credit. His first two AA finishes were at Cornell while his 2022 Championship was with the Lions. Dean’s cap is 1st, but he does wrestle close matches. Among his five bout wins in Detroit were two 1-point wins and a 2-point win. Interestingly, his style is one that makes me feel like he’s in control, even in tight bouts – and I cannot say that about many wrestlers. I believe Dean is now settled in at 197, unlike last season when he moved up from 184, so that too bodes well. The top spot is his cap, but there are a bevy of talented and hungry guys that are good enough to challenge Dean, more guys than I see at 174 or 184. There’s Warner, Buchanan, Truax, Deprez (a very close 4-3 bout for Dean at NCAA’s!), even former Penn Stater Michael Beard.
285: Greg Kerkvliet – A two-time NCAA qualifier, with 7th and 4th place finishes, I believe we have not yet seen the best of this Lion wrestler – not even close. I suspect he’ll be bigger and stronger this coming season. The top of the medal stand is his cap, and there are only a couple guys (Schultz, Parris, Cassioppi) in his company, as I believe they have separated themselves from the pack. His two wins last season against Parris were impressive, and he has yet to beat Schultz or Cassioppi (another All-Star Classic match-up, so they could wrestle four times this season!).

Next Level:
125: Robert Howard – An NCAA qualifier in 2021 and round-of-16 finisher, Howard was unable to go last season, not wrestling a single bout. Tough luck has followed him during his time at Penn State, and all fans are hopeful that the talented wrestler can reach his potential, starting in 2022-23. At this point in time, I’m making no prediction.
141: Beau Bartlett – Bartlett is back at 141 after two years at 149. A team player, 141 is a more natural weight AND moving down makes the team stronger. One could see the talent in the past, but in my eyes he was just a smidgeon undersized. Never really horsed around while wrestling lots of close matches at 149, the slight strength deficit cost him at NCAA’s losing two 2-point bouts. The good news, this won’t be the case at 141. Reviewing the weight class, there’s no one he can’t beat in my opinion, though I cannot in good faith make his cap 1st place. Lower half of the AA’s, say 5th would be my guess, or he could finish outside the money. I’ll give him a 51% chance of an AA finish. Not ranked currently as high as he’ll end the season, I believe a slow move up the ladder is going to happen.

The Rest:
149: Shayne Van Ness – Who is this guy? I think we’ll find out soon…and be delighted! Only wrestling two bouts last season, the former #1 recruit has had a bit of misfortune in his recent collegiate experirnce. Without seeing much more than his high school bouts, I’m going to resist hyperbole, and let the young man work his way into what I’m hopeful is a solid ranking and a great first season as starter. I feel 149 is a stacked weight class, so again, no predictions just yet except to say he’s certainly AA-caliber.

157: Terrell Barraclough – The Penn State sophomore has yet to make the NCAA’s, but does have a distinctive style and the talent to keep all matches close. Last season Barraclough lost his first bout by Major Decision, but by season’s end he wrestled Lewan, Saldate, Young and Robb only separated by one takedown in each bout. He’s solid, but so far unspectacular. While qualifying for NCAA’s would be likely, an AA finish is doubtful. Which leads me to a possibility that is available to the coaches – they could decide to remove Levi Haines from redshirt. The 12th overall ranked recruit in 2022, Haines already has made a mark, wrestling in eight bouts in two college tournaments as a high school senior last season, winning all eight. Granted it wasn’t as grueling as wrestling top guys nearly every week, but if the coaches decide to “pull the shirt”, fine with me. If they decide not to, fine as well. Solid chance to AA if it happens.
165: Alex Facundo – 10-3 in his redshirt season last year, Facundo is the #2 ranked recruit from the class of 2021. Last season’s result were mixed, losing to Best (TB), Fish (by 2) and Bullard (by 1), with no notable wins. To me, he looked a bit out-strengthed (made up word) at times, a gap that should be eliminated with a year of strength & conditioning, and time in the room. I could also see the potential for Facundo to be a heavy bonus point scorer in time, though not so much in 2022-23. 165 is a tough weigh class, so I’ll keep an AA finish probability at 10% (and hope I’m wrong). Frankly, I did the same with Patrick Kennedy of Iowa.

The Team: Gone are 25.5 points of Penn State’s 131.5 total from this past March’s National Championship Tournament. The good news is that 106 total points return, and Penn State’s line-up, overall, could be an improved one from last season. Assuming good health (really I’m rooting for this for all teams) this will be a tough team to beat. Up-and-down the line-up will be a competitive wrestler. Minus Bonus Points, I calculate close to 130 points as an absolute top-end score, unrealistic frankly at this time. A low-end total for Placement and Advancement could be in the 103-107 range, so something north of that by 8-10 points seems about right.

All that said, I feel a need to qualify my comments. It appears, on paper that a healthy PSU team could waltz to the National Championship. I’ll never go that far. It’s a long season and lots can happen. The wrestlers must put in the time and energy, or bad things can happen. Plus, the favorite always has a target on them, something this team relishes, tbh. Here’s for an exciting season!
Good stuff as always Roar! 👍
 
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The Japanese Whizzer

Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2018
687
1,279
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Penn State Nittany Lions

Known Entities, likely All-Americans:
133: Roman Bravo-Young – A four-time NCAA qualifier with an 8th place finish (2019) to go with his two individual National Championships (2021 & 2022). Likely to lead the team in takedowns, RBY is among the most fun-to-watch guys in all of college wrestling. His cap is 1st obviously, but 133 is not without its challengers. Daton Fix has wrestled him close twice, with one move in each bout the difference. Fix is a junior, so waiting another year for his championship would be fine with me. A newcomer to 133 is Vito Arujau, moving up from 125. No folkstyle history here, but they did wrestle in folkstyle. It happened in 2018, so it is meaningless for this season, but I will mention the result – handily won by Arujau.
174: Carter Starocci – Watching this young man improve during his RSFR season was enjoyable, and he ended up winning a first individual National Championship. He followed that up with another in 2022, albeit hard-fought in the finals in a TB-2 riding time win. His opponent in that match, Mehki Lewis returns in what could again be a barn-burner of a final if it happens. Interestingly, they face each other Nov. 22 at the All-Star Classic. Cap is an obvious one, and it’s hard to imagine Starocci out of the top-2.
184: Aaron Brooks – Like Starocci, Brooks has two consecutive individual National Championships, missing out on three when the 2020 Championships in Minnesota were cancelled. He is the class at 184, even more so since Myles Amine has graduated. I believe the gap here (between the current #1, Brooks, and the #2 guy) is greater than that at 174, though Keckeisen is super solid. Again, these guys will face off at the All-Star Classic so we’ll get a read, albeit an early one, though Brooks owns a 2-0 advantage. Brooks’ cap is an obvious one.
197: Max Dean – The third wrestler in Penn State’s dynamic upper weights, Dean is a 3-time NCAA qualifier with 8th, 2nd and 1st to his credit. His first two AA finishes were at Cornell while his 2022 Championship was with the Lions. Dean’s cap is 1st, but he does wrestle close matches. Among his five bout wins in Detroit were two 1-point wins and a 2-point win. Interestingly, his style is one that makes me feel like he’s in control, even in tight bouts – and I cannot say that about many wrestlers. I believe Dean is now settled in at 197, unlike last season when he moved up from 184, so that too bodes well. The top spot is his cap, but there are a bevy of talented and hungry guys that are good enough to challenge Dean, more guys than I see at 174 or 184. There’s Warner, Buchanan, Truax, Deprez (a very close 4-3 bout for Dean at NCAA’s!), even former Penn Stater Michael Beard.
285: Greg Kerkvliet – A two-time NCAA qualifier, with 7th and 4th place finishes, I believe we have not yet seen the best of this Lion wrestler – not even close. I suspect he’ll be bigger and stronger this coming season. The top of the medal stand is his cap, and there are only a couple guys (Schultz, Parris, Cassioppi) in his company, as I believe they have separated themselves from the pack. His two wins last season against Parris were impressive, and he has yet to beat Schultz or Cassioppi (another All-Star Classic match-up, so they could wrestle four times this season!).

Next Level:
125: Robert Howard – An NCAA qualifier in 2021 and round-of-16 finisher, Howard was unable to go last season, not wrestling a single bout. Tough luck has followed him during his time at Penn State, and all fans are hopeful that the talented wrestler can reach his potential, starting in 2022-23. At this point in time, I’m making no prediction.
141: Beau Bartlett – Bartlett is back at 141 after two years at 149. A team player, 141 is a more natural weight AND moving down makes the team stronger. One could see the talent in the past, but in my eyes he was just a smidgeon undersized. Never really horsed around while wrestling lots of close matches at 149, the slight strength deficit cost him at NCAA’s losing two 2-point bouts. The good news, this won’t be the case at 141. Reviewing the weight class, there’s no one he can’t beat in my opinion, though I cannot in good faith make his cap 1st place. Lower half of the AA’s, say 5th would be my guess, or he could finish outside the money. I’ll give him a 51% chance of an AA finish. Not ranked currently as high as he’ll end the season, I believe a slow move up the ladder is going to happen.

The Rest:
149: Shayne Van Ness – Who is this guy? I think we’ll find out soon…and be delighted! Only wrestling two bouts last season, the former #1 recruit has had a bit of misfortune in his recent collegiate experirnce. Without seeing much more than his high school bouts, I’m going to resist hyperbole, and let the young man work his way into what I’m hopeful is a solid ranking and a great first season as starter. I feel 149 is a stacked weight class, so again, no predictions just yet except to say he’s certainly AA-caliber.

157: Terrell Barraclough – The Penn State sophomore has yet to make the NCAA’s, but does have a distinctive style and the talent to keep all matches close. Last season Barraclough lost his first bout by Major Decision, but by season’s end he wrestled Lewan, Saldate, Young and Robb only separated by one takedown in each bout. He’s solid, but so far unspectacular. While qualifying for NCAA’s would be likely, an AA finish is doubtful. Which leads me to a possibility that is available to the coaches – they could decide to remove Levi Haines from redshirt. The 12th overall ranked recruit in 2022, Haines already has made a mark, wrestling in eight bouts in two college tournaments as a high school senior last season, winning all eight. Granted it wasn’t as grueling as wrestling top guys nearly every week, but if the coaches decide to “pull the shirt”, fine with me. If they decide not to, fine as well. Solid chance to AA if it happens.
165: Alex Facundo – 10-3 in his redshirt season last year, Facundo is the #2 ranked recruit from the class of 2021. Last season’s result were mixed, losing to Best (TB), Fish (by 2) and Bullard (by 1), with no notable wins. To me, he looked a bit out-strengthed (made up word) at times, a gap that should be eliminated with a year of strength & conditioning, and time in the room. I could also see the potential for Facundo to be a heavy bonus point scorer in time, though not so much in 2022-23. 165 is a tough weigh class, so I’ll keep an AA finish probability at 10% (and hope I’m wrong). Frankly, I did the same with Patrick Kennedy of Iowa.

The Team: Gone are 25.5 points of Penn State’s 131.5 total from this past March’s National Championship Tournament. The good news is that 106 total points return, and Penn State’s line-up, overall, could be an improved one from last season. Assuming good health (really I’m rooting for this for all teams) this will be a tough team to beat. Up-and-down the line-up will be a competitive wrestler. Minus Bonus Points, I calculate close to 130 points as an absolute top-end score, unrealistic frankly at this time. A low-end total for Placement and Advancement could be in the 103-107 range, so something north of that by 8-10 points seems about right.

All that said, I feel a need to qualify my comments. It appears, on paper that a healthy PSU team could waltz to the National Championship. I’ll never go that far. It’s a long season and lots can happen. The wrestlers must put in the time and energy, or bad things can happen. Plus, the favorite always has a target on them, something this team relishes, tbh. Here’s for an exciting season!
So 8 scoring wrestlers then?