Are you guys ready to rock and roll this evening in Carver? With No. 4 Iowa scheduled to take on No. 2 Penn State tonight at 8 p.m., expect a crazy enviornment and hopefully fireworks as this is as big of a dual as there has been in recent memory. Actually, this hype is reminiscent of the last time the Nittany Lions came to Iowa City in late 2014. Let’s hope the results are different this time around.
Iowa is, of course, coming off a disappointing performance in Stillwater, in which it lost seven of 10 bouts to the Cowboys — although two were by a combined three seconds of riding time. The Nittany Lions have been tearing their way through their dual season without much challenge and own the nation’s best wrestler not named Kyle Snyder in 149 pounder Zain Retherford.
Let’s go over five key matches in tonight’s dual, starting with 125.
125: No. 1 Thomas Gilman vs. No. 3 Nick Suriano
If the Hawkeyes fail to take this one, there’s trouble brewing on the home side. Gilman’s been a mauler this season, seemingly picking up at least one bonus point in every match he wrestles. Suriano’s no slouch, however, so it’ll be a nice litmus test to see where Gilman’s at against a top grappler in a weak 125 pound class. Anything more than three team points would be huge for the Hawkeyes.
141: No. 19 Topher Carton vs. No. 18 Jimmy Gulibon
Last time Penn State visited CHA, Tony Ramos pinned a 133-pound Gulibon and sent the place up for grabs. This time around, he’ll find himself in a swing match with Carton, who is coming off a — dare I say — great loss against top-ranked Dean Heil. Bonus points are likely going to be the difference in this dual, but this bout will provide some wiggle room for the big dogs on one side.
149: No. 3 Brandon Sorenson vs. No. 1 Zain Retherford
Putting it bluntly, it’s going to take a miracle for Sorensen to get the outcome of this one in his favor. In a rematch of last year’s NCAA Final, he’ll get a remarkably consistent Retherford capable of putting huge points on the board. Sorensen’s strong defense won’t be enough for him to win this one, he’ll actually have to get to his offense if he hopes to sneak out a W. Good luck.
157: No. 2 Michael Kemerer vs. No. 1 Jason Nolf
Speaking of litmus tests, talk about a great one for wunderkind Kemerer. Nolf’s looked like a top-five guy in all of NCAA wrestling this year, but with the way the freshman’s shot up the ladder this season, nothing would surprise me. My gut’s telling me this is going to be a closer fight than some may think.
184: No. 4 Sammy Brooks vs. No. 2 Bo Nickal
If you haven’t picked up on things by now, I *love* watching Brooks wrestle, and couldn’t be more excited about this matchup with last year’s 174 pound national runner-up. There should be fireworks from both sides in this one, as both are big point scorers and aggressive on the mat. If Brooks keeps himself in the thick of things early in the match, we’re in for crazy entertaining second and third periods. Hopefully.
How to Watch/Follow, Probable Lineups
This one’s on BTN — no paying for a month of Flo (or a full year on accident — a friend did that. Don’t do that.) to watch one dual. You can watch this on the main network, as well as your mobile device, so you should absolutely have it going on one of your screens.
Grace and Ironside have the call on 800 KXIC, per usual, and you can follow the Twitter accounts below for coverage. Again, 8 p.m., we’ll have an open thread posted this evening with results at conclusion.
No. 4 Iowa
125 / No. 1 Thomas Gilman, 16-0
133 / No. 3 Cory Clark, 8-0
141 / No. 19 Topher Carton, 16-3
149 / No. 3 Brandon Sorensen, 16-1
157 / No. 2 Michael Kemerer, 18-0
165 / No. 19 Joey Gunther, 12-3/Skyler St. John, 5-3
174 / No. 13 Alex Meyer, 13-4
184 / No. 5 Sammy Brooks, 15-1
197 / Cash Wilcke, 10-5
HWT / No. 9 Sam Stoll, 6-2
No. 2 Penn State
125 / No. 3 Nick Suriano, 11-0
133 / No. 14 Jered Cortez, 6-2/George Carpenter, 1-7
141 / No. 18 Jimmy Gulibon, 7-6
149 / No. 1 Zain Retherfod, 12-0
157 / No. 1 Jason Nolf, 12-0
165 / No. 6 Vincenzo Joseph, 10-1
174 / No. 14 Geno Morelli, 10-1/Shakur Rasheed, 5-1
184 / No. 2 Bo Nickal, 11-0
197 / No. 8 Matt McCutcheon, 9-2
HWT / No. 5 Nick Nevills, 11-0