Wrestling: Penn State vs. Arizona State Preview
Penn State will host the 13th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils on December 14 in Rec Hall as the Nittany Lions look to notch another win over yet another ranked team. Arizona State (1-2, 0-0 Pac 12) has lost its last two duals in nail-biting fashion, losing by only five points to both North Carolina (3-0, 0-0 ACC) and to second-ranked Ohio State (3-0, 0-0 Big 10).
Arizona State pushed Ohio State to its limit as the two teams traded the lead back and forth. Arizona State trailed by two points handing into the final match with Brady Daniel (5-5) losing by a score of 3-1. This impressive contest along with their one win against 20th-ranked South Dakota State shows that Arizona State should not be taken lightly by Penn State. ASU can scrap on the mat and will not roll over easily next Friday.
The marquee matchup of the dual comes at 174 pounds as it will be a rematch of the NCAA title match between Zahid Valencia and Mark Hall. Valencia (9-0) was given the number one spot by FloWrestling over Hall (7-0) in the preseason rankings and yet to give up that spot.
Valencia and Hall both hold one victory over each other with Valencia’s victory coming at the national championships. This two horse race between these two exceptional competitors will have the crowd at Rec Hall on the edge of their seats.
Penn State’s lineup is still dangerous from top to bottom with new starters Roman Bravo-Young and Anthony Cassar leading the charge. Both are off to hot starts though Bravo-Young is unproven to some fans as he has yet to face a ranked competitor. Cassar, on the other hand, has wins over teammate Nick Nevills who once ranked in the top five in the 285-pound weight class and recently bested Jordan Wood of Lehigh his last time on the mat.
Arizona State also brings several other ranked wrestlers outside of national champion Valencia. Fifth-ranked 125-pounder Ryan Millhof (10-0), 14th-ranked 149-pounder Josh Marcua (7-3), 20th-ranked 157-pounder Christian Pagdilao (9-2) and 12th-ranked 165-pounder Josh Shields (9-1) will prove worthy opponents in the dual. Penn State caught Lehigh on an off day in its last dual as several starters for Lehigh were inactive making this Arizona State dual Penn State’s toughest one to date.
Ryan Simpson is a senior majoring in statistics and minoring in sociology. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.