Despite Team Success, 157 Pounds Remains Unclear For Penn State Wrestling

Fresh off another huge 19-13 victory over No. 2 Iowa last Friday, No. 1 Penn State wrestling was able to pull through on six out of 10 bouts to earn its second top-10 win in as many weeks.

Despite the team’s overall success, the Nittany Lions have struggled this year to find a successful and healthy starter at 157 pounds. In the last five duals, the class lineup has been unable to get a win.

With No. 1 Nick Lee at 147 pounds and No. 14 Brady Berge at 165 pounds, the coaches are still looking for that middle piece to add to an already-stacked roster.

This season, the squad has Terrell Barraclough, Joe Lee, Luke Gardner, Aurelius Dunbar, Joey Blumer, and Tony Negron all listed on the roster under the 157-pound weight class. Barraclough and Negron are the most familiar regarding official matches, but with a combined total record of 7-12, these two fall to the bottom of the rankings.

“Terrell is close, and we’ve seen Tony is also close. It’s getting over the edge there,” said head coach Cael Sanderson. “We believe they are both capable of winning at the highest level. It is just a matter of doing it at this point.”

Negron’s only win of the season came against Luca Cordio from Maryland, while Barraclough saw all six wins in unofficial matches. Neither of the two has found a win over ranked opponents so far this season.

Looking ahead, Sanderson has pondered about 157-pounders like Luke Gardner and Joe Lee. Both of these wrestlers also have official bouts under their belts, but only Lee has made an appearance in the 2022 season.

Unfortunately, Gardner’s return this season seems unclear for now. The fifth-year senior has not yet set his intentions on moving forward with the program.

“He is playing with that idea, and there is no concrete answer as to what he is thinking,” Sanderson said.

The same was asked of Sanderson regarding Lee, who’s death with some injuries so far this year.

“Joe was banged up early in the season and then went to the [Southern Scuffle], and we think he just didn’t really go as he hoped. It just hasn’t really been there,” Sanderson said.

Lee suffered a decision loss against Cornell’s No. 26 Colton Yapoujian in December. Since then, he went 2-3 at the Southern Scuffle tournament at the start of the year.

Nearing the end of the regular season, Penn State is still searching for a crucial point in its lineup going into the Big Ten and NCAA championships. That roster hole will remain uncertain once again leading up to another huge dual against No. 8 Ohio State in the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, February 4.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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