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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Five B1G Takeaways from November (11/29/2023)

    We are a month into the season and we’ve had so much incredible action already. Let’s take a look at the top 5 takeaways from the month of November as we get ready to turn the page to the second month of the season.

    Ohio State Starts Season Strong

    The Buckeyes have had a great start to the 2023-24 season. With four dual meets under their belt, they’ve come out on top in each and have only lost four dual meet matches going 36-4. After getting their first win on the road to kick off the season against Virginia Tech, who was favored in the matchup, they won the next three without relinquishing a match beating Edinboro 53-0, Columbia 49-0, and Hofstra 51-0. They also brought home 4 titles from the season-opening Clarion Open resulting in a Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honor for Freshman Rocco Welsh. In the midst of all the winning, Coach Tom Ryan went over the 200-win mark for his career. Now they will look to carry that momentum into the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational this weekend.

    Penn State Flexes to Open Season

    The Nittany Lions haven’t had a dual meet just yet, but they’ve been showing out. Specifically, as they played host for the All-Star Classic, they put on a show winning four of the five matches where they were represented in the classic with the biggest performance coming in the finale as Greg Kerkvliet beat Wyatt Hendrickson by 18-2 technical fall in their rematch of the 2023 NCAA Championship semifinals. Not to be outdone, the pair of three-time NCAA Champs – Carter Starocci (174) and Aaron Brooks (197) – each claimed major decision wins. Starocci shutout #2 Mekhi Lewis with an emphatic 11-0 result and Brooks followed two bouts later with an 11-2 major over #3 Tanner Sloan. Shayne Van Ness got the Nittany Lions rolling with an action-packed 5-1 win over #3 Kyle Parco at 149.

    Before the Classic they claimed a number of titles at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic and the Army Black Knight Invite. Certainly, all of this is expected by the reigning and defending champs, and with their dual meet season about to get started this weekend when they host Lehigh, we will get our first glimpse of their full lineup with their newest additions.

    Maryland Takes Hard-Fought Loss to Pitt

    The Terrapins hosted Pittsburgh in College Park Maryland last week where they dropped a close dual to the 18th-ranked Panthers. Despite getting “upset” wins at 133 and 141 from Braxton Brown and Kal Miller, respectively, they weren’t able to keep it together with most of the upper weights. Coach Clemsen said, “Felt like we let one slip away. To win big matches you have to secure bonus point opportunities and not give them up on the other side. Credit to Pitt, they did a better job there”. The dual came down to the wire, and in a battle of ranked heavyweights, Pitt got the 4-3 win to seal the dual. Duals provide the best drama. Win or lose, this was an awesome one to watch. Maryland will be splitting their team up this weekend, as several head to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, while others will head to the George Mason Open. Coach Clemsen had this to say about the upcoming weekend: “All but 2 or 3 healthy bodies are competing this weekend. Really excited for that. To get better you have to test yourself and see where you are and then get back in the lab and work. We will keep doing that until someone comes up with a better way.”

    Purdue Has Seen Some Highs and Lows Already

    Matt Ramos pulled a Lloyd Christmas and totally redeemed himself with an NWCA All-Star Classic win over top-ranked Anthony Noto of Lock Haven. Noto is a proven commodity at the weight, and though this was an exhibition, it’s still a nice win for a guy whose season hasn’t started the way he probably envisioned. Other impressive moments from the Boilermakers have been Joey Blaze, who has looked solid, and is now ranked in the top 15 at 157 as a true freshman. As a whole, this team looks to be coming together. They are 3-1 on the season, with wins over Army and Northern Illinois, and their lone loss being to the Wolfpack of NC State. These guys have shown growth and it’s still early in the season. Their young contingent of wrestlers will be traveling to Las Vegas this weekend looking to see where they stack up against the nation's best. 

    Iowa’s New Look Lineup Living Up to Hawkeye Standard

    Brands and Co. did it again. For the 19th consecutive year, they won the CyHawk dual and this time in dramatic fashion on the road in front of a sold-out crowd in Ames, IA. There are a lot of things that have been said about a number of things like the officiating, reaction time, riding time, and time on the clock, that could have had an impact on the results of the dual. But what is lost in the shuffle, and should get more recognition, is that they had the confidence and wherewithal to bump Gabe Arnold up to 184 for the dual. They had the insight to know that they needed six wins to get this done, and the pieces to make those decisions to get it done. Arnold has been everything we expected, and then some. The only questions I have regarding Arnold at this point are: why does he wear his knee pad backward? Should I be doing that? Should we all be doing that? These are questions we need answers to. Up next they travel to Philadelphia where they take on the Quakers of Penn on Friday at 6pm EST on ESPN+.

    Bonus Points:

    To get ready for CKLV, check out the conversation with our conference correspondents Ryan Holmes, Austin Sommer, Kevin Claunch, and Robbie Wendell as they chat about the potential field and who they are excited to see.

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