Penn State Wrestling

Nittany Lions set to open Big Ten with Minnesota, Nebraska

Penn State freshman Nick Suriano will make his Big Ten debut on Friday against Minnesota. The Nittany Lions also face Nebraska on Sunday.
Penn State freshman Nick Suriano will make his Big Ten debut on Friday against Minnesota. The Nittany Lions also face Nebraska on Sunday. Centre Daily Times, file

Let the games begin.

Penn State wrestling has 2016 behind it.

The Nittany Lions now have the Big Ten portion of their schedule ahead of them.

“I think it’s always fun,” coach Cael Sanderson said on Tuesday. “You always want to see who the best is in the Big Ten. Dual meets are a big deal. It’s our time to step up and compete.”

Penn State hits the mats for the first time since Dec. 11 on Friday at Minnesota. It will then travel to Lincoln, Neb. for a dual with Nebraska on Sunday.

Friday’s match also marks the first time some Nittany Lion wrestlers will experience Big Ten wrestling. It will be a pair of Nicks getting their first taste but for different reasons.

For Nick Suriano, a true freshman, it will be his debut. For Nick Nevills, it will be the start of his first season wrestling a full conference schedule. He wrestled against Michigan State at the end of last season after returning from an injury.

“Just really excited, really ready to wrestle,” Nevills said. “I’m just looking forward to compete.”

Suriano, who is ranked No. 3 in the country, has a tough weekend ahead of him. However, he is ready for the task at hand.

“In my mind is to fight every second and believe in myself and chase my dreams and goals,” the true freshman said. “When adversity hits, just push through it. I’m prepared. I wrestle tough guys in this room every day. I grew up wrestling the best competition.

“I’m looking for a fight. I’m looking for a challenge. I’m not ducking or shying from any opponent. I’m just going out there to wrestle.”

He will face redshirt sophomore Ethan Lizak. Lizak returned to the Golden Gopher lineup at the Southern Scuffle and did so with an impact.

Lizak dominated his way to the 125-pound title with four major decisions and a technical fall. He also gave up just nine points in the entire tournament. Lizak faced Lehigh’s Darian Cruz in the quarterfinals and topped him 8-0. Suriano topped Cruz in early December 7-0 inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

On Sunday, Suriano gets senior Tim Lambert. Lambert is 20-2 on the season and is coming off a second-place finish to Iowa’s Thomas Gilman at the Midland Championships. It will be the first time the Nittany Lion wrestler competes against either of them.

“I’ve seen them wrestle before but they are just opponents,” Suriano said. “I’m going into each match the same way, to dominate. These guys are older than me. I know what they are. The competition in here (Penn State’s wrestling room) is the highest level you can get. I’m training with guys better.”

Minnesota holds the upper hand on Penn State as it has won the last three matches between the teams and has a 15-6-1 overall record in the matchup.

Sanderson knows how talented the Golden Gophers’ lineup is.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us,” Sanderson said. “They have some great young, talented kids and experienced veterans. You go up and down their lineup they are good at every weight. It’s a good team. It’s going to be fun.”

Minnesota’s lineup will need a replacement Friday as 149-pound starter Fredy Stroker announced Thursday on Twitter that he is transferring from the school. Stroker is a four-time Fargo All-American and was one of the nation’s top recruits.

Nate Cobler: 814-231-4609, @ncoblercdt

No. 2 Penn State (4-0) at No. 13 Minnesota (3-1)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Sports Pavilion, Minneapolis, Minn.

Radio: WRSC 1390

Nittany Lions

vs.

Golden Gophers

No. 3 Nick Suriano (7-0)

vs.

No. 6 Ethan Lizak (17-1)

No. 13 Jered Cortez (6-2)

OR George Carpenter (1-4)

vs.

No. 16 Mitch McKee (14-9)

No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon (5-4)

OR Kade Moss (5-2)

vs.

No. 9 Tommy Thorn (9-2)

No. 1 Zain Retherford (8-0)

vs.

Carson Brolsma (12-9)

No. 1 Jason Nolf (8-0)

vs.

No. 9 Jake Short (16-6)

No. 5 Vincenzo Joseph (6-1)

vs.

No. 14 Nick Wanzek (18-6)

Geno Morelli (6-1)

OR No. 14 Shakur Rasheed (5-1)

vs.

Brandon Krone (7-5)

OR Chris Pfarr (13-6)

No. 2 Bo Nickal (7-0)

vs.

Bobby Steveson (9-9)

No. 11 Matt McCutcheon (7-0)

vs.

No. 2 Brett Pfarr (16-1)

No. 5 Nick Nevills (7-0)

vs.

No. 8 Michael Kroells (18-5)

No. 2 Penn State (4-0) at No. 7 Nebraska (7-0)

When: 3 p.m., Sunday

Where: Devaney Center, Lincoln, Neb.

Radio: WRSC 1390

Nittany Lions

vs.

Cornhuskers

No. 3 Nick Suriano (7-0)

vs.

No. 5 Tim Lambert (20-2)

No. 13 Jered Cortez (6-2)

OR George Carpenter (1-4)

vs.

No. 3 Eric Montoya (16-0)

No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon (5-4)

OR Kade Moss (5-2)

vs.

No. 13 Colton McCrystal (19-6)

No. 1 Zain Retherford (8-0)

vs.

Collin Purinton (10-6)

No. 1 Jason Nolf (8-0)

vs.

No. 3 Tyler Berger (20-1)

No. 5 Vincenzo Joseph (6-1)

vs.

Dustin Williams (12-6)

Geno Morelli (6-1)

OR No. 14 Shakur Rasheed (5-1)

vs.

Micah Barnes (14-8)

No. 2 Bo Nickal (7-0)

vs.

No. 3 T.J. Dudley (19-0)

No. 11 Matt McCutcheon (7-0)

vs.

No. 7 Aaron Studebaker (18-3)

No. 5 Nick Nevills (7-0)

vs.

No. 15 Collin Jensen (20-5)

  Comments