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  • Photo: Tony DiMarco

    Photo: Tony DiMarco

    Five B1G Takeaways from Week Two (11/14/2023)

    We’re two weeks into the season and the upsets have poured in. There have been some heavy hitters in just about every conference that has taken an unexpected loss already this season. And while we’ve seen some big timers fall, we’ve also seen some serious flexing as well and the B1G Ten has definitely done its share. Here are the 5 things that caught our eye in the second week of the season.

    Penn State Brings Sell Out Crowd In Debut

    This is obviously no surprise, but the reigning champs did a lot of winning in their season debut. In Bethlehem, PA, a hotbed of great wrestling (excuse my hometown bias, but you know it’s true) the fans packed the Freedom High School gym to get an up-close look at some of the Nittany Lions new additions as well as their perennial champs. In front of that packed Lehigh Valley crowd, 11 Nittany Lions finished undefeated in their respective pools. Notable unblemished performances came from freshman U20 Champion Mitchell Mesenbrink (165) and Bernie Truax (184) who were both wrestling in the white-belted singlet for the first time. Also of note, Braeden Davis was the outlier at 125 as went undefeated as well with three wins in Pool C. One of those wins came against Gary Steen, who manned the spot last year, and went 1-2. Robert Howard also went 1-2 in his return to action after being sidelined by injury for a few years.

    Ohio State Comes Out Swinging, Tom Ryan Collects 200th Win

    In the biggest early season dual meet matchup, Ohio State walked into Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum as the underdog and came out victorious with a 24-12 win. The Hokies sported a #3 ranking as they hosted tOSU which was #7 to start the season, but when it was all said and done, the Buckeyes had a convincing win under their belt. Virginia Tech was favored in nine of the 10 bouts with higher-ranked wrestlers at all weights except for 141, but after five upsets the hosting Hokies had their first loss of the season. But it wasn’t all chaos in Cassell. Bryce Andonian and Mekhi Lewis really showed out in a pair of premier matches. Andonian took out high school teammate Paddy Gallagher with some amazing defense and Lewis showcased his stinginess as well as he held off a late attack from Carson Kharchla. The match was bookended by highlight wins from tOSU freshman Brendan McCrone who collected an 11-3 major decision win over Eddie Vantresca at 125 and Nick Feldman who claimed a last-second takedown to get the 3-2 win over Hunter Catka.

    The following day they kept their momentum rolling with a 53-0 win over Edinboro to give head coach Tom Ryan his 200th career victory. An impressive bout where every win came with bonus points, they had one major, four pins and five technical falls.

    Michigan State University Open Recap

    This year the Michigan State University Open was a slightly more watered-down version of itself, but the tournament was still very exciting. It was a week later than usual, which was probably the right move to avoid combining a big wrestling tournament with a busy football weekend, but that certainly affected the competition levels. Nonetheless, there were some fun matches and some old rivalries reignited. Regarding the B1G results in the Open class, Wisconsin had two champs with Eric Barnett at 125 and Dean Hamiti at 165 with a win over Caleb Fish of MSU. This was the B1Ggest win for me of the week. Anytime you can win in the MSU Open finals with a technical fall over a bloodround opponent, then that’s worthy of an award. Joey Zargo also made the finals for the Badgers, but fell short of the championship losing to Corbyn Munson of CMU. Michigan largely had backups competing, however, Dylan Ragusin was competing unattached at 133 where he won the championship. The Wolverines also had a finalist in Jaden Bullock at 184, ultimately falling to Kole Mulhauser wrestling unattached for Princeton. Regarding MSU, they travel next to the Black Knight Invite this Sunday, 11/19.

    Purdue Shows Growth & Growing Pains

    You’re supposed to challenge your wrestlers and put them in tough matches. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re building something. Purdue did that this weekend when they traveled to Journeymen’s WrangleMania dual meet tournament where they faced NC State and Army. They also wrestled the following day as well in the Journeymen Collegiate Classic. You’ve likely heard of the B1Ggest Upset of the Week where true freshman Joey Blaze took out Ed Scott of NC State in overtime. That’s a nice win for a guy trying to earn his spot in the lineup. 

    Outside of that win though, the NC State dual was mostly growing pains. There’s still work to be done with this young lineup comprised of some incoming freshmen and transfers, but progress is made with early season tough competition like this. It’s not getting any easier when the B1G season begins. The B1Ggest Move of the Week was a little subtle this week, and if you weren’t paying attention, you might have missed it. Stoney Buell (165) had a really impressive takedown in his win over Dalton Harkins of Army. With nearly a minute left in the first period, he dove in on a shot and transitioned to a single leg. He begins to work his way up to his feet with his head on the inside, and eventually just stands all the way up, throws Harkins over his head, and follows the leg to get the takedown as Harkins tripods up. It’s always hard to take down someone who is actively trying to not be taken down, it’s even harder to do it that way. Purdue will host its own Boilermaker Duals with the University of Indianapolis and Northern Illinois on Sunday, November 19th. 

    Iowa Will Be Just Fine

    There were some question marks coming into this year for the Hawkeyes. Turnover of some exceptional competitors usually has that effect, but even more so when you didn’t anticipate losing several guys to a suspension as well. Guys who were probably supposed to help “pass the torch” so to speak. Well, we learned this week that those suspensions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so the Hawkeyes looked to the Luther Open to see what they have. It turns out what they have is eight champions, seven of which came in the Elite Division of the tournament. Of note, Gabe Arnold won the Elite 174-pound weight class. It’s certainly nice to have a guy like that who seems ready to step into the lineup and be a force right away. Something else noteworthy was at 149 where unattached Anthony Ferrari defeated Victor Voinovich, who just recently transferred to Iowa. In an unrelated situation, it was posted today (11/13) on Twitter that Anthony Ferrari has signed to wrestle with Iowa. In general, a lot of the questions that I had before the season regarding the Hawkeyes and their lineup have been answered so far. Sometimes having too many options is more difficult to navigate than having less and the Hawkeyes have fewer options now, but it’s probably better for them in the long run. Up next they will take on the Beavers of Oregon State in Iowa City as on Sunday 11/19.

    Bonus points:

    Check out the B1G TEN vs ACC conversation to get a more in-depth look at some of the biggest duals from this weekend.

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