Wrestling Seeks Win Over No. 3 Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena
The top-ranked Penn State wrestling team will face No. 3 Iowa on the road at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight. The match will be aired on the Big Ten Network at 9 p.m.
Iowa and Penn State were originally not supposed to face each other this season in conference play due to the schedule rotation. Cael Sanderson and Iowa head coach Tom Brands — staged or not — took to Twitter to schedule a non-conference dual for the two teams.
Just under two weeks ago, the wrestling team held a match against Pitt in the Bryce Jordan Center, which broke the attendance record for an NCAA wrestling dual. The previous record was held by Iowa from 2008, when they faced Iowa State during Sanderson’s tenure as the Cyclones head coach before he came to Happy Valley. With such a marquee dual, it is possible that Iowa could regain its record as the nation’s top-ranked team comes to town.
Since Sanderson became the Nittany Lions’ coach after the 2008-2009 season, Iowa and Penn State have wrestled against each other four times. Iowa has had Penn State’s number in recent history, with the Nittany Lions only winning in the 2011 season.
Iowa had won the Big Ten Tournament for three consecutive years heading into 2011 when Penn State ended that streak, before adding another conference title in 2012. In 2013, Penn State took the tournament win, but Iowa claimed the division championship.
Penn State has won the national championship for three years in a row now, but Iowa had won the previous three championships. In the 2013 NCAA Championships, Penn State had five All-Americans — including four finalists — to Iowa’s four All-Americans and just one finalist. Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright won individual titles, while Derek St. John brought in one for Iowa.
Tonight’s dual will start out with a possible post-season preview with Iowa’s No. 4 Cory Clark taking on the Nittany Lions’ No. 3 Nico Megaludis at 125. Clark is a freshman, so the two have never wrestled each other. Six of Clark’s nine matches have resulted in falls, while four of Megaludis’ 10 wins have come on a fall or tech fall. Clark is undefeated, while Megaludis lost one match this season, a 6-5 decision to Cornell’s No. 2 Nahshon Garrett.
At 174, No. 1 junior Matt Brown of Penn State will face No. 6 Mike Evans of Iowa for the third time in their collegiate careers. The two have split their two previous meetings, both of which came last season. Evans defeated Brown in a 4-3 decision at last year’s dual, but Brown defeated Evans 7-3 in the finals of the Big Ten Championships.
Top-ranked Ed Ruth will wrestle in just his second match of the year, coming off of a one-month suspension, as he will face No. 2 Ethen Lofthouse in what could likely be a preview of the finals for both the Big Ten championships as well as the NCAA Championships. Ruth has defeated Lofthouse all four times the two have wrestled. In their two matches last season, Ruth won on two major decisions. Lofthouse is a two-time All-American, coming in fifth place last season, as well as finishing in all three of his seasons in third place at the Big Ten championships.
Although this isn’t officially a Big Ten dual, it could very likely be Penn State’s most competitive matchup of the season against an Iowa team that is very quickly becoming the Nittany Lions’ biggest rival on the mat.