Penn State Wrestling Set To Host No. 1 Iowa In BJC Sunday

The Southeastern Conference is often touted as the best in football, and its member schools have certainly made their argument to the nation the past few seasons. But the dominance of SEC football can’t even compare to that of Big Ten wrestling.

B1G schools have won 19 of the last 24 NCAA Titles. The last eight consecutive national championships have been won by Big Ten Schools. The last seven successive years? Only Iowa and Penn State hold those titles.

Each year since Cael Sanderson’s hiring, there’s been one dual that the wrestling world anxiously awaits. The match that’s been circled on the wrestling world’s calendars for months is finally here.

No. 5 Penn State (10-2, 6-2 B1G) will meet No. 1 powerhouse Iowa (11-0, 6-0 B1G) Sunday in the Bryce Jordan Center in front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 16,000 fans. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the Nittany Lions will face off against the nation’s top team. The four-time defending national champion Lions fell to Minnesota by a point nearly two weeks ago, 17-16.

The Hawkeyes pulled off a profound victory against those exact Gophers, now No. 2, in a battle for the Governor’s Border Belt last Sunday, 23-12. This week, Iowa will head to College Park, Maryland on Friday to take on the University of Maryland before heading north to University Park on Sunday.

The series stands at 2-3 under head coach Cael Sanderson’s tutelage. Penn State wrestlers will look to even out the series but are major underdogs in a match that features five bouts between top-ten ranked wrestlers.

Bout-By-Bout

Likely starters:

  • 125: No. 8 Jordan Conaway, Jr. (19-3) vs. No. 5 Thomas Gilman, So. (20-1)
  • 133: No. 7 Jimmy Gulibon, So. (17-4) vs. No. 3 Cory Clark, So. (16-3)
  • 141: Kade Moss, Fr. (17-11) vs. No. 6 Josh Dziewa, Sr. (18-5)
  • 149: No. 18 Zack Beitz, So. (13-6) vs. No. 2 Brandon Sorensen, Fr. (25-2)
  • 157: No. 8 Dylan Alton, Sr. (8-3) OR Cody Law, Fr. (13-7) vs. No. 14 Michael Kelly, Sr. (17-4)
  • 165: Garett Hammond, Fr. 19-8 vs. No. 7 Nick Moore, Sr. (15-4)
  • 174: No. 3 Matt Brown, Sr. (19-2) vs. No 2 Mike Evans, Sr. (19-0)
  • 184: No. 14 Matt McCutcheon, Fr. (20-9) vs. No. 8 Sammy Brooks, So. (19-2)
  • 197: No. 4 Morgan McIntosh, Jr. (20-2) vs. No. 6 Nathan Burak, Jr. (13-1)
  • 285: No 6 Jimmy Lawson, Sr. (11-0) OR Jon Gingrich, Sr. (13-2) vs. No. 2 Bobby Telford, Sr. (19-1)

What to Watch For

The Hawkeyes have seven wrestlers with NCAA Championship experience, two of whom are from Pennsylvania. Seniors Josh Dziewa and Mike Evans are both southeastern PA products and will return home to a raucous BJC crowd.

As of publication, Evans is undefeated on the season, carrying a 19-0 record into the Penn State match. He’s the only remaining Hawkeye with an unblemished record and will put it all on the line Sunday against Matt Brown – a series that’s split 3-3. Brown won the most recent matchup during last season’s NCAA Championships, 6-3.

At 149, Zack Beitz and Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen have won back-to-back Big Ten wrestler of the week honors. Beitz is 9-3 in dual meets this year and has won five bouts by major decision. On the other side of the mat, Sorensen is riding an eight-bout win streak and is 7-0 in dual meets this year.

Broadcast

The match will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons, and Shane Sparks have the call from the Jordan Center. The match can also be seen on BTN2go, and heard on the radio on 1390 AM.

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About the Author

Zack Rickens

is a senior broadcast journalism student minoring in procrastination. He hails from the booming metropolis of Harrisburg and can usually be found eating Suzie Wong egg rolls. He enjoys long walks to the Phyrst and is probably ranting about sports on Twitter (@slickrick717). He can be reached at [email protected]

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