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BJC Dual Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 3 Michigan

In the first of two Bryce Jordan Center duals this season, No. 1 Penn State (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) will face off against No. 3 Michigan (7-0, 2-0 Big Ten) on Friday.

This is the biggest matchup of the season so far for both teams, which are each coming off wins over No. 13 Wisconsin. Penn State walked away with a 28-11 victory against the Badgers on January 6, while Michigan took its dual by a score of 27-6 on January 15.

A Look At Michigan

The Wolverines have been a tough opponent for years, and they are most definitely on a revenge tour.

The Nittany Lions logged a 29-6 win in Ann Arbor during Michigan’s “Maize Out” last year. A few weeks later, they stole the National Championship title from the Wolverines by going 5-for-5 in the finals.

Michigan suffered three major losses this offseason in Myles Amine (285 lbs.), Logan Massa (174 lbs.), and Nick Suriano (125 lbs.). No. 23 Jack Medley, No. 30 Max Maylor, and No. 2 Mason Parris have stepped in to fill those gaps. Friday’s matchup could provide insight into the future of Michigan’s program.

Key Matchups

133 lbs. — No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 12 Dylan Ragusin

Bravo-Young and Ragusin will face off on the mat for the second season in a row. RBY won last year’s bout in an 8-1 major decision, including a four-count near fall for the Penn State star.

The two wrestlers also enter the dual with the same rankings as their last meeting. Expect a seriously competitive match, especially since they’re both benefitting from another year of experience.

157 lbs. — No. 17 Levi Haines or Terrell Barraclough vs. No. 10 Will Lewan

This could be Levi Haines’ last bout of the season if the team decides to preserve his redshirt status and could determine whether he remains a starter the rest of the way.

Barraclough, if he gets the starting nod, will make his second appearance in the BJC after last year’s sudden victory 4-2 win over Ohio State’s Isaac Wilcox. Barraclough has proven himself on the big stage, so it’ll likely come down to the last minute to see who gets on the roster.

Will Lewan currently holds a 10-3 record and is the defending fifth-place NCAA champion. Haines or Barraclough will have their work cut out for them if they want to walk away with a win.

165 lbs. — No. 16 Alex Facundo vs. No. 5 Cameron Amine

Amine is a storied figure for the Wolverines, while Facundo is assuming a starting role for the first time in his Penn State career.

Amine is trying to move up in the rankings and make a real run for the title this year after finishing last year’s NCAA Championship in fourth place. He currently holds a 7-1 record.

This matchup will be a huge test for Facundo. The redshirt freshman’s only loss this season was to No. 2 David Carr, and he will face another challenge dealing with an opponent ranked in the top five.

285 lbs. — No. 1 Greg Kerkvliet vs. No. 2 Mason Parris

In perhaps the highest-stake bout of the night, the pair will meet for the first of what could be multiple times this season.

Kerkvliet made an early exit due to injury at the conclusion of the 2022 season and took home fourth place, while Parris finished in fifth after a loss to Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz.

Kerkvliet is facing several top-flight opponents in the next two weeks, so getting a win over Parris is going to be crucial for his momentum.

These other matchups could also happen, based on current lineups:

  • 125 lbs. – Gary Steen vs. No. 23 Jack Medley
  • 141 lbs. – No. 4 Beau Bartlett vs. No. 23 Cole Mattin
  • 149 lbs. – No. 14 Shayne Van Ness  vs. No. 21 Chance Lamer 
  • 174 lbs. – No. 1 Carter Starocci vs. No. 30 Max Maylor
  • 184 lbs. – No. 1 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 9 Matt Finesilver
  • 197 lbs. – No. 4 Max Dean vs. Brendin Yatooma

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a sophomore 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 and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs at the Linc. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected]

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