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BJC Dual Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 2 Iowa

Penn State (10-0, 3-0 Big Ten) will take on Iowa (12-0, 5-0 Big Ten) in its second dual at the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday.

The Nittany Lions are fresh off of their first BJC dual win over Michigan and a follow-up win against Michigan State, but the Hawkeyes present a different slew of challenges.

Nineteen ranked wrestlers and nine-ranked bouts will hit the mat in the highly anticipated dual between two powerhouse programs.

A Look At Iowa

Coming into the BJC as the second-ranked team in the country, the Hawkeyes will be Penn State’s toughest opponent yet this season.

Last season, Penn State handed Iowa its only loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena by a score of 19-13. The Nittany Lions then went on to defeat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship and again in the National Championship with a five-for-five performance in the final session.

The biggest stars in Iowa’s lineup are No. 1 Spencer Lee, No. 2 Real Woods, No. 7 Jacob Warner, and No. 3 Tony Cassioppi. These four could prove to be challenges for Penn State, as Iowa’s high-octane program is nothing to take lightly.

Key Matchups

125 lbs. – Gary Steen vs. No. 1 Spencer Lee

Rumors have been swirling about Lee potentially changing weight classes to challenge Roman Bravo-Young instead of his expected opponent Gary Steen.

Steen will have his hands full with the two-time Hodge Trophy winner in the event that the switch doesn’t occur. Lee has also pinned his last six opponents, so Steen needs a solid game plan to snap the streak.

141 lbs. – No. 4 Beau Bartlett vs. No. 2 Real Woods

Real Woods is going to get his first taste of the Bryce Jordan Center after transferring from Stanford back in April. Bartlett has never met Woods because they have been in different weight classes in past seasons.

Bartlett holds an undefeated 14-0 record, while Woods also holds a spotless 9-0 record. That said, one wrestler will walk away with their first mark in the loss column on Friday.

157 lbs. – No. 9 Levi Haines vs. No. 15 Cobe Siebrecht

Haines moved up eight spots in the InterMat Rankings after a huge win over Michigan’s Will Lewan on January 20. He didn’t see the mat against Michigan State due to the possibility of burning his redshirt status, so it could be a dual-time decision for Haines.

If Haines is to wrestle, this will be another huge bout for the true freshman. He is proving to be a key asset for the Nittany Lions, and Siebrecht could be his biggest test yet.

197 lbs. – No. 4 Max Dean vs. No. 7 Jacob Warner

Dean will face Warner once again in a rematch of last year’s 197-pound NCAA Championship bout. Dean also took the 2022 regular-season bout 8-3.

The two wrestlers haven’t quite reached their highs of last season, but their rivalry should fuel the bout. Dean is currently 12-2 on the season, while Warner is 11-2.

285 lbs. – No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet vs. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi

Kerkvliet will participate in a top-three bout for the second week in a row.

This is the second time this season that the pair will meet. The first came from the NWCA All-Star Classic in November when Kerkvliet won the bout 8-5.

The two competed last season, too, as Cassioppi won in the Big Ten semifinal during a sudden victory period.

This bout will test Kerkvliet’s ability to bounce back after his loss last week to Mason Parris, as well as whether or not he can keep up with the seniors this season.


Here are Friday’s other possible matchups, based on current lineups:

133 lbs. – No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young vs. No. 17 Brody Teske

149 lbs. – No. 13 Shayne Van Ness vs. No. 7 Max Murin

165 lbs. – No. 5 Alex Facundo vs. No. 13 Patrick Kennedy

174 lbs. – No. 1 Carter Starocci vs. No. 16 Nelson Brands

184 lbs. – No. 1 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 12 Abe Assad

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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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