Wrestling Preview: Penn State Clashes With No. 9 Oklahoma State On Sunday
Two collegiate wrestling powerhouses will meet this Sunday as Penn State travels southwest to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Penn State enters the match ranked No. 5 nationally with a record of 10-3 while Oklahoma State enters ranked No. 8 with a 9-2 record. Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson comes in with a great deal of experience against the Cowboys’ wrestling program, as he wrestled and coached against them for many years in his time at Iowa State.
The formidable Cowboys will make a quick turnaround to face Penn State after a meeting with Clarion on Friday. They are led by No. 1 ranked, 165-pound wrestler Alex Dieringer and No. 4 Josh Kindig at 149 pounds. Though the Cowboys lack the star power of Penn State’s previous opponent, Iowa, they bring a well-rounded lineup with eight wrestlers ranked within the top 18 nationally at their respective weight classes. This means that a great team performance from the Nittany Lions will be necessary to pull out a win.
Penn State comes in to the match after a tough loss against Iowa, which looks like the best team in the nation. Despite the loss, the Lions provided many glimpses of how great they can be, and the team seems encouraged going into Sunday’s match. They will be looking to make a statement against what many deem is a very evenly-matched opponent. The environment will be hostile, as historical powerhouse Oklahoma State carries a very passionate fan base.
Bouts to Watch
No. 18 Garrett Hammond (PSU) vs. No. 1 Alex Dieringer (OSU) – 165 lbs
The Cowboys’ Dieringer comes into the weekend with an undefeated record of 22-0, and will be a tough bout for freshman Garrett Hammond at 165 pounds. Fortunately, Hammond appears to be peaking at the right time, and is coming off a big win against Iowa’s Nick Moore. Though Dieringer beat Hammond handily via a 14-4 decision earlier this year at the Southern Scuffle tournament, an upset is not out of the question. No matter what happens, this will serve as a great measuring stick for Hammond as we inch closer to the postseason.
No. 6 Jimmy Lawson OR Jon Gingrich (PSU) vs. No. 5 Austin Marsden (OSU) – 285 lbs
PSU heavyweight Jimmy Lawson suffered a disappointing loss against Hawkeyes’ top-ranked heavyweight Bobby Telford in the final bout of Sunday’s match. Provided he remains in the starting lineup, the match could very well lie upon his shoulders once again when he enters to face the Cowboys’ Austin Marsden, who is ranked No. 5 nationally at 285 pounds. A bounce-back performance from Lawson could pay huge dividends for Penn State, even beyond the scope of this match.
Penn State overcame Oklahoma State somewhat convincingly the last time they met, in Feb. 2014, winning by a score of 23-12. Don’t expect that type of match on Sunday. This one should go to the wire, with both teams bringing their best wrestling to the mat. Look for Penn State to go up early with big wins from Conaway and Gulibon at 125 and 133, before Oklahoma State battles back in the middle of the match. Things should be close as the match comes down the final stretch, where Penn State stars Matt Brown and Morgan McIntosh should take control and lead the way to a big win.