Penn State Wrestling Dominates Penn State Football In Epic Spikeball Showdown
There’s been a lot of talk about what Micah Parsons would be like on a wrestling mat and what Bo Nickal would be like on the gridiron. On Tuesday, the pair gave fans the crossover they had been yearning for for months now, but not in either of the sports they may’ve had in mind initially.
In a match-up organized through Club Spikeball‘s GroupMe, Nickal, a three-time national champion wrestler, and former teammate Roman Bravo-Young faced off in everyone’s favorite beach/tailgate game against Parsons and fellow linebacker Jesse Luketa. Facing a team that had at least 150 pounds on them, Nickal and Bravo-Young used their speed, agility, and years of experience playing in the wrestling room to cruise to a clean sweep in a best-of-three series.
The match took shape after Parsons posted on Instagram Monday that he had just gotten a Spikeball kit and was looking for opponents. Nickal, who’s in the Club Spikeball GroupMe according to members, got word of it, and invited the club to a football vs. wrestling clash of titans.
The club posted about it on Instagram inviting students to come watch and then live-streaming what turned into the Bo Nickal Show. The match was originally planned to take place on the HUB Lawn, but was moved into the wrestling room due to heavy rain during the afternoon.
Throughout the three sets, Parsons and Luketa had no answers for Nickal’s powerful serves and Bravo-Young’s acrobatic moves in front of a crowd that featured Club Spikeball members as well as wrestler Mark Hall and former wrestler David Taylor.
Late in the first set and the wrestlers trailing 13-12, Nickal took control of the match with a series of serves that
baffled both his opponents made them look as helpless as Kollin Moore. Nickal’s tactful mastery led a 9-3 run down the stretch to steal the set. Take a look:
In the second set, Parsons and Luketa again jumped out to an early lead, but not before Nickal would once again took control, leading a fierce comeback. In the third set with the football players leading 17-12, Parsons and Luketa again suffered a meltdown. For the third set in a row, Nickal flexed his clutch gene, showed “THAT’S WHAT WE DO!,” and caught fire, leading a 9-1 run to close out the set and series.
“You played your best. There’s no shame in that,” Nickal told Parsons after the game. “Keep practicing, and we can see what happens in a couple months.”
“I had a beginner, and I’m an amateur, and we took these champs to the ropes,” Parsons said out loud following the match.
Despite Nickal’s dominance, the match made for some very entertaining Spikeball. After all, four top-tier Division I athletes going at it isn’t something you see at every tailgate when the game comes out. From Bravo-Young’s catlike agility diving across the net to Nickal’s short-range speed to Parsons and Luketa’s ball-hawk nature, there was some incredible athleticism on display.
Even after the sweep and Nickal’s encouragement though, Parsons still had trash to talk to the three-time national champion, who dominated every phase of the series.
This meeting shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. After all, Micah Parsons loves Penn State wrestling, and Penn State wrestling loves Micah Parsons. The two have had quite a love affair since before Parsons even came to Penn State. He grew up a wrestler himself and watching the team since the Ed Ruth days.
Here’s a full highlight reel:
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