It has been two weeks since Penn State last competed — but the Nittany Lions will finally be back on the mat Sunday afternoon.
So, to prepare you for the upcoming dual against Lehigh, let’s get our wrestling coverage started off with the mailbag:
Let’s say Penn State finishes the year as the runner-up (in the NCAA title race). Is the season a failure? Is it all or nothing? — Jon, Email
Great question, Jon. I’m going to answer this in two parts. I’m sure from a fan’s perspective, if the Nittany Lions were to finish as runner-up, there would be some disappointment. It’s not hard to see why. They’re returning five defending champions, have all six of their All-Americans back and, oh yeah, they’ve won six of the last seven team titles. So, there’s an expectation to uphold there. If they have another undefeated dual record, even if they don’t win the title, fans shouldn’t label the season a failure as Penn State would have beaten teams like Lehigh and Michigan on the road — and then Minnesota, Ohio State and Iowa at home. All of those teams were ranked in the top 15 in the country to begin the season. From the perspective of someone that covers the program, I wouldn’t say the season would be a failure if they do finish as a runner-up. The Buckeyes are an extremely talented team with depth. To me, that seems like the team the Nittany Lions could lose to. It’s going to be an interesting dual on Feb. 3 when Ohio State treks into Rec Hall. Just to give you an idea of how tough the Buckeyes are, here is their projected lineup in weight class order starting at 125: Nathan Tomasello, Luke Pletcher, Joey McKenna (just won bronze at World Under-23 Championships), Ke-Shawn Hayes, Micah Jordan, Te’Shan Campbell, Bo Jordan, Myles Martin, Kollin Moore and Kyle Snyder.
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Has Penn State found a replacement for lost recruit Travis Wittlake at 184/197? — @jsk163, Twitter
The Nittany Lions don’t have a replacement for Travis Wittlake. However, they were expecting two guys to join the squad at those weights. Michael Beard, who hasn’t officially signed his National Letter of Intent, should be able to make 197 pounds as he wrestles 195 pounds at Malvern Prep. Beard could make the cut to 184 if asked, but we’ll see what the future holds.
Thoughts on the Ohio State pin chain? — @Dunkej01, Twitter
I’m not quite sure what to think of this. Obviously, it is a spinoff of the Miami football team’s turnover chain, but is it really necessary for the sport of wrestling? Personally, I don’t see the point in it. Yeah, I get it you want to celebrate pinning your opponent. Next thing you know, we are going to see technical-fall chains or riding-time chains.
Until next time!
Don’t forget; questions can be sent to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also, questions can be sent on Twitter to @ncoblercdt.