No. 1-ranked Penn State gets big-time test, passes
By Todd Irwin
UNIVERSITY PARK — Anybody who watches the top-ranked Penn State wrestling team on a regular basis is accustomed to seeing the Nittany Lions attacking and eventually routing their overmatched opponents.
The Lions outscored their first five opponents, 210-17, and won 45 of 50 bouts.
That domination wasn’t at Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon against 19th-ranked Wisconsin.
The Badgers came ready to wrestle, winning three of the first four bouts, including Tristan Moran’s 12-10 double overtime win over unbeaten and fourth-ranked Nick Lee at 141 and Cole Martin’s stunning 8-7 win over No. 9 Brady Berge at 149.
Wisconsin held a four-point lead going into the last four weights, but the 6-0 Lions swept the final four to win, 24-13. It was the Lions’ 51stconsecutive dual meet win.
“I don’t think that we wrestled great. I don’t think that’s a secret,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “We didn’t wrestle with a lot of fire, but usually that comes from feeling great. It’s my job to make sure these guys feel good on match day. Also, I think Wisconsin did a great job.
They seized the moment in a couple of those matches, taking them at the end.”
“I think they had a good strategy coming out,” 197-pounder Bo Nickal said. “They were hand-fighting hard and trying to slow us down and tying us up. At the end of the day, every single guy on our team is going to wrestle hard and have a positive attitude the whole time. That’s all the coaches ask from us, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
“I’m really happy with our effort here,” Wisconsin coach Chris Bono said. “It’s the way we train our guys. It’s the mentality that we can win anywhere. I believe we train harder than anybody in the country, and we’re not going to let any outside influence affect the way we train or the way we compete. We’re going to fight tooth and nail.”
In a dual meet in which seven of the bouts had a wrestler scoring at least 10 points, the day started with an odd one at 125. Wisconsin’s Connor Brown and Devin Schnupp combined for seven reversals, including six in the third period, and Brown left the mat with an 18-9 major decision.
At 133, Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young earned a 12-4 major decision over Jens Lantz, notching five takedowns.
Lee (16-1) held an 8-7 lead over the unranked Moran (17-5), but Moran took him down with 10 seconds left to go ahead.