In the past couple of years, Penn State has had a weight class where the starter isn’t figured out until the end of the season.
Two years ago, it was at 285 pounds. The Nittany Lions flipped back and forth between Jimmy Lawson and Bald Eagle Area graduate Jon Gingrich.
Last season, it was 165 pounds. Penn State switched between Geno Morelli and Shakur Rasheed.
This year, due to injury to starter Jered Cortez, the spot at 133 pounds remains up in the air.
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“That’s something that will continue to play out,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said on Tuesday.
George Carpenter stepped into the role in Cortez’s absence.
Carpenter made his Nittany Lions’ dual debut against Binghamton in December. He rattled off a 17-2 technical fall in dominating fashion.
Since that win though, the Chapell Hill, N.C., native has taken his lumps.
Carpenter suffered a tough 2-1 decision against Minnesota where he showed off strong riding skills. He got technical falled by then-No. 3 Eric Montoya of Nebraska and then-No. 3 Cory Clark of Iowa. Against Rutgers, Carpenter suffered a seven-point loss.
In Sunday’s match against Northwestern, he battled to the end of his bout but fell 4-3.
“We know what we are going to get with George,” Sanderson said. “He is going to keep hustling. He is going to fight for seven minutes.”
The Nittany Lions gave redshirt freshman Triston Law a shot at 133 pounds against Wisconsin last Friday. Law, who went to District 6’s Forest Hills High School, was making his first start in a Penn State singlet.
He didn’t fare as well as Carpenter did. Law was on the losing end of a 17-2 technical fall to Eli Stickley.
Sanderson feels he has room to grow.
“I think Triston has a lot of potential,” Sanderson said. “He just has to get to where he can wrestle seven minutes after weigh in. His first period against Wisconsin he did some really, really great things on his feet — great offensively and defensively.”
On a roll
With the win over Northwestern on Sunday, Penn State has won 27 straight dual meets.
Zain Retherford didn’t wrestle in the match as the Wildcats had no one to go at the weight. Retherford received a forfeit win. It was the 50th consecutive win of his career.
Sanderson isn’t concerned about winning streaks.
“We’re not worried about his streak,” he said. “Even our dual meet streak, who cares? We want to win every match, but the past is the past. We’ll focus on our next match regardless of where we are at.”
Going through the ranks
At the top: Zain Retherford (149) and Jason Nolf (157).
Moving up: Nick Suriano by one to No. 2 (125), Jimmy Gulibon by one to No. 11 (141), Matt McCutcheon by one to No. 9 (197) and Nick Nevills by one to No. 3 (285).
Staying put: Vincenzo Joseph (No. 4, 165), Mark Hall (No. 7, 174) and Bo Nickal (No. 2, 184).