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  • Photo: NC State athletics

    Photo: NC State athletics

    The Last Time They Met....

    NC State's Kevin Jack against Iowa's Brody Grothus (photo courtesy of NC State athletics)

    February 22nd, 2016

    #4 NC State 21 #2 Iowa 17

    Setting the Stage:

    This dual meet took place as a part of the "National Duals" series of matches, intended to be like college football bowl games and matched up some of the top non-conference schools, in a single, stand-alone dual.

    Iowa came into the match with a perfect 16-0 record. After an 18-16 win over Oklahoma State (in Kinnick Stadium) in their first outing of the season, the Hawkeyes were not seriously tested. The only other team to break into the "teens" in scoring against Iowa was South Dakota State, who Iowa defeated 28-15 (while forfeiting 197 lbs).

    This was a year where the Big Ten schedule matrix did not pair Iowa up with then-#1 Penn State. The Hawkeyes were carried by their lightweight tandem, #2 Thomas Gilman at 125 and #3 Cory Clark at 133, along with #2 Brandon Sorensen.

    NC State carried a ridiculous 22-1 dual record into Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A couple months earlier, head coach Pat Popolizio led his squad into Stillwater, for a win over his alma mater Oklahoma State. The only blemish on NC State's 2015-16 resume was a thrilling 19-14 loss to conference rival Virginia Tech a few weeks earlier. The Wolfpack were led by two-time returning NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski at heavyweight.

    The selection process for the National Duals was highly controversial since it appeared that Virginia Tech was the most likely opponent for the Hawkeyes. There was still lingering bad blood between the programs as Hawkeye head coach Tom Brands spent two years at the helm for the Hokies, before spurning them for his alma mater. That led to then-Hokie head coach Kevin Dresser publicly calling out Brands and the Iowa team.

    One way or another, NC State was selected and traveled to Iowa City as heavy underdogs, despite a #4 national ranking.

    The match:

    125 : #2 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) maj #20 Sean Fausz (NC State) 15-5

    133 - #3 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec #30 Jamal Morris (NC State) 9-3

    141 - #3 Kevin Jack (NC State) tech Brody Grothus (Iowa) 18-3

    149 - #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) maj Beau Donahue (Iowa) 13-4

    157 - #4 Tommy Gantt (NC State) maj #17 Edwin Cooper (Iowa) 13-5

    165 - #6 Max Rohskopf (NC State) dec Patrick Rhodes (Iowa) 6-3

    174 - #10 Alex Meyer (Iowa) dec Nick Hall (NC State) 4-2

    184 - #17 Pete Renda (NC State) dec #9 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) 7-3

    197 - #4 Nathan Burak (Iowa) dec #16 Michael Boykin (NC State) 9-4

    285 - #1 Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) InjDef #6 Sam Stoll (Iowa)

    The Aftermath:

    The win marked the first time an ACC school had defeated Iowa…ever. It was also the first time any team had traveled to Iowa and Oklahoma State and beaten both in the same season.

    NC State had a substandard NCAA Tournament and ended up in 11th place. Gwiazdowski fell in an epic final to Kyle Snyder, while Renda was third and Gantt eighth.

    Iowa, behind three NCAA runner's-up (Gilman, Clark, Sorensen), finished fifth with 81 points. Also on the podium were Nathan Burak (4th) and Alex Meyers and Sam Brooks (both 8th).

    November 22nd, 2019

    #5 Arizona State 19 #1 Penn State 18

    Setting the Stage:

    The fruits of Zeke Jones' recruiting labors from the Class of 2015 were starting to pay off as a veteran Sun Devil team combined with some talented freshmen joined forces for an imposing squad. Even so, Arizona State didn't really give off any hints that they were about to slay the Penn State giant. In the first event of the year, the Journeymen Duals, Arizona State only defeated Purdue by three points. They came into their dual with Penn State 4-0 after dominating a pair of non-DI opponents.

    Cael Sanderson's team headed west riding a 60-match dual winning streak that dated back to the 2015 season. Though the Nittany Lions had lost two NCAA Champions to graduation (Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal), they still had a loaded team that featured past champions like Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, and Anthony Cassar, along with budding stars Roman Bravo-Young and Nick Lee. The Arizona State trip was the second dual meet of the year for the Nittany Lions, who had shut out Navy, 45-0. Later at the Army West Point Invite, Penn State came away with four champions.

    The match:

    125 - Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) maj Brody Teske (Penn State) 19-7

    133 - #3 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) dec #11 Josh Kramer (Arizona State) 7-6

    141 - #3 Nick Lee (Penn State) tech Corey Crooks (Arizona State) 18-3

    149 - #21 Josh Maruca (Arizona State) dec Jarod Verkleeren (Penn State) 5-4

    157 - Jacori Teemer (Arizona State) dec Bo Pipher (Penn State) 9-4

    165 - #1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) dec Josh Shields (Arizona State) 7-4

    174 - #1 Mark Hall (Penn State) maj Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) 11-3

    184 - #1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) FFT

    197 - Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State) dec Kyle Conel (Penn State) 10-4

    285 - #1 Anthony Cassar (Penn State) dec Tanner Hall (Arizona State) 9-5

    The aftermath:

    Two weeks after defeating Penn State, Arizona State finished third at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. About a month later, at their next dual meet, the Sun Devils were knocked off by Ohio State 17-16. Late in February, ASU got stunned by Lehigh, 19-14. The day before the Lehigh loss, news broke of a suspension for two-time NCAA champion Zahid Valencia due to a failed drug test.

    Speaking of Lehigh, Penn State dominated their in-state rivals 23-10 in the first match post-loss. A modest six-match winning streak was then halted by Iowa in a memorable dual in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In their final Big Ten dual of the season, the Nittany Lions hosted Ohio State at the Bryce Jordan Center and grabbed a 20-16 win.

    The Arizona State match also occurred before freshman Aaron Brooks was pulled from redshirt. Once Kyle Conel went down via injury, Shakur Rasheed moved to 197 lbs and Brooks was needed to fill in at 184.

    This ended up being the season that will be famously remembered as having the 2020 NCAA Tournament canceled due to the Covid outbreak. Penn State stars Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall were not able to pursue additional titles, along with five other teammates and six ASU wrestlers that qualified.

    Since the 2010-11 season, Arizona State is one of only two non-Big Ten teams to defeat Penn State in dual competition (Oklahoma State/2014-15).

    Though this dual was only two years ago, only six starters are expected to compete today. ASU (Courtney, Teemer, A Valencia, Norfleet). PSU (Bravo-Young, Lee).

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