‘Being able to win a national championship is very special,’ coach Sanderson says
Although signing day is still six months away, the national champion Penn State wrestling team has already nabbed the second top-ranked recruit of its 2020 class with the verbal commitment of Wyoming Seminary’s Beau Bartlett.
“I have enormous aspirations in life, and I know that this is the next step to not just meeting, but surpassing goals I never believed possible,” Bartlett wrote as he announced his decision on social media Thursday with an illustration of himself in a Penn State singlet. “It’s a long road ahead, so let’s have some fun!”
Ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds by FloWrestling, Bartlett and No. 1-ranked 120-pounder Robert Howard, of Bergen Catholic, look to add a dose of firepower to the bottom half of Penn State’s lineup — a notoriously weaker spot over the past couple years.
As a junior, Bartlett already has long resume of wrestling accolades — including his recent eighth-place finish at the U.S. Open in the men’s freestyle senior division. Bartlett pinned two-time All-American and former Nittany Lion Jordan Conaway and took out Pittsburgh’s former three-time NCAA qualifier Shelton Mack in his senior-level debut.
He’s also a three-time National Preps champion — winning each of those championships at a different weight for the Wyoming Valley prep school. Last season, Bartlett also finished fifth in both the Ironman and Beast of the East tournaments. Penn State fans might also remember when he beat short-lived Nittany Lion Gavin Teasdale in the Powerade finals in 2017 — handing the eventual four-time PIAA champ his first high school loss.
FloWrestling projects Bartlett to wrestle at 133 or 141 pounds in college. Fellow Arizona native Roman Bravo-Young, an All-American sophomore, is Penn State’s starter at 133 pounds, and two-time All-American junior Nick Lee holds down 141. Flo projects Howard at 125 or 133.
Although it’s early, 2020 has the potential to yield another top-ranked recruiting class for the Nittany Lions. No. 1 pound-for-pound wrestler A.J. Ferarri (197) and No. 5 junior Braxton Amos (197) also have Penn State on their short list of potential schools.
The Nittany Lions have yet to bear the full fruits of their most recent top-ranked class — 2018 — which brought in seven wrestlers ranked in Flo’s overall top-35. Of those recruits, just Bravo-Young wrestled last season, while Teasdale transferred out of the program, Brody Teske redshirted, and Seth Nevills, Michael Beard, Aaron Brooks and Joe Lee all took a year off between high school and college.
As Penn State said goodbye to two of the leaders of its top-ranked 2014 recruiting class in Bo Nickal and Jason Nolf in March, coach Cael Sanderson was looking toward the future.
“We’re comfortable and happy with the way things have turned out,” he said after winning his eighth national championship in the past nine years. “We were able to create a wave to roll through. And now the exciting part is creating another wave. That’s what it’s all about.”
It looks like that new wave might have just begun.