Penn State strug­gles for win over pesky Badgers

Centre Daily Times - - Front Page - BY NATE COBLER [email protected]­tredaily.com

UNI­VER­SITY PARK

Rec Hall’s aura and the fans’ pres­sure on Penn State’s op­po­nents usu­ally causes teams to col­lapse af­ter the Nit­tany Li­ons get their first win in a dual.

On Sun­day, that wasn’t the case.

Wis­con­sin kept bat­tling, and forced Penn State to its clos­est dual win, 24-13, since the Ohio State match last sea­son, which the Nit­tany Li­ons won 19-18.

“I think they’re in good shape. I think they just wres­tled hard,” Penn State coach Cael San­der­son said of the Badgers. “We’re a team that prides our­selves on our con­di­tion­ing, be­ing ready to go, win­ning close matches and kind of dom­i­nat­ing the en­thu­si­asm fac­tor. We didn’t do that to­day.”

Ac­cord­ing to Badgers’ coach Chris Bono, Sun­day’s dual per­for­mance was all about how he trains his team. He feels that no one trains harder than his team. They in­still a men­tal­ity of win­ning no mat­ter what.

“We are not go­ing to let any out­side in­flu­ence af­fect the way we train or com­pete,” Bono said. “Crowd this, crowd that, No. 1 team, we are go­ing to fight tooth and nail. Our motto is we are go­ing to live with the re­sult. We got two months un­til the

cham­pi­onship sea­son starts, and that’s what I’m ex­cited about.”

Oddly enough, Sun­day’s win for the Nit­tany Li­ons was the first dual they didn’t record a pin since that same Ohio State dual. They also trailed at the break, thanks to Wis­con­sin col­lect­ing three of the first five wins.

Two of those wins for the Badgers came against ranked Penn State wrestlers.

Wis­con­sin’s Con­nor Brown earned an 18-9 ma­jor de­ci­sion to kick things off at 125 pounds. The Nit­tany Li­ons’ Devin Sch­nupp fought un­til the end with the pair com­bin­ing for seven re­ver­sals — six alone in the third pe­riod.

Penn State’s Ro­man Bravo-Young came out and did what he’s done all year long, score bonus points. The true fresh­man rat­tled off five take­downs in a 12-4 ma­jor de­ci­sion to tie the dual back up at 4-4.

The Badgers didn’t go away. Un­ranked Tris­tan Mo­ran earned a 12-10 ul­ti­mate-tiebreaker No. 2 win over No. 4 Nick Lee at 141 pounds. The lengthy Mo­ran used his ad­van­tage to score nu­mer­ous take­downs on Lee, who kept shoot­ing in. Even San­der­son noted that when Lee was in on the shots, he froze up and Mo­ran took ad­van­tage.

At 149 pounds, Wis­con­sin’s un­ranked Cole Martin used a late take­down in the third pe­riod to best Brady Berge 8-7. The Badgers’ lead was 10-4 af­ter four bouts. Bono wasn’t sur­prised about the start.

“I thought we could win a lot of matches. I think we could get a cou­ple of more,” Bono said. “They’ve got guys that have been there. I don’t have guys that have been there yet. They got guys that are na­tional champs and All-Amer­i­cans. They’ve got a lit­tle bit of aura over their pro­gram. We are build­ing that. Once we get that, we start hold­ing ev­ery­body ac­count­able, and our kids are hold­ing ev­ery­body ac­count­able, we are go­ing to be a pro­gram that is where Penn State is.”

Penn State’s Ja­son Nolf had to step onto the mat for the first time this year with his team trail­ing. The red­shirt se­nior re­sponded to the tune of 11 take­downs in a 25-10 tech­ni­cal fall in 6:27. The Nit­tany Li­ons trailed 10-9 at the break.

Out of the break, Penn State went with­out Vincezno Joseph for the se­cond con­sec­u­tive dual. The 165pound tilt was go­ing to be good matchup, too, against Wis­con­sin’s No. 3 Evan Wick. It’s not known why Joseph didn’t wrestle, but San­der­son said af­ter the match that Joseph just didn’t feel well.

In­stead, Wick took on Ma­son Manville, who was mak­ing his Rec Hall de­but. Wick wasn’t able to do much, and man­aged just a 6-1 win.

Mark Hall fi­nally gave the Nit­tany Li­ons’ the lead af­ter his 174-pound match against Pa­trick Spray. Hall was dom­i­nant with six take­downs and three sets of near-fall points. How­ever, Hall seemed a lit­tle pres­sured as he went for a late throw of Spray and got it, but was just un­able to fin­ish it off with a pin. In­stead, he earned a 24-5 tech­ni­cal fall in 6:13 and Penn State led 14-13.

Shakur Rasheed locked up a cra­dle sev­eral times but just wasn’t able to get the roll over for the pin in a 5-0 win. Bo Nickal looked frus­trated in his 14-4 ma­jor de­ci­sion win over Beau Breske at 197 pounds.

Nickal took Breske down three times in the third pe­riod and tried to get a pin all three times, but Breske wasn’t hav­ing it. Nickal said he is used to peo­ple slow­ing his of­fense down, and the Badgers did that ex­actly.

“They came out and were hand fight­ing hard try­ing to slow us down,” Nickal said, “try­ing to tie us up and stuff. They’re strat­egy to slow us down was a good one.”

An­thony Cas­sar fin­ished things off by tal­ly­ing five take­downs on No. 9 Trent Hill­ger. Cas­sar had three alone in the se­cond pe­riod on his way to an 11-5 win.

San­der­son knows his team didn’t wrestle well on Sun­day. How­ever, he made sure not to take any­thing away from just how pre­pared Bono had his team for this match.

“I don’t think we wres­tled great. I don’t think that’s a se­cret,” San­der­son said. “There is go­ing to be matches we don’t wrestle well. I don’t even want to say we don’t wrestle well be­cause I think Coach Bono had his guys ready to go. It’s not tak­ing any­thing away from them. They were here and ready to com­pete, and they did. They bat­tled and it was a great match.

“Our fans are used to some­thing dif­fer­ent, but it’s just a re­al­ity check. Noth­ing is given. You’ve got to earn it to­day. It doesn’t mat­ter what hap­pened yes­ter­day or last year.”

STEVE MANUEL For the CDT

Penn State’s Ro­man Bravo-Young, 133 pounds, trips up Wis­con­sin’s Jens Lantz on Sun­day at Rec Hall. Bravo-Young de­feated Lantz, 12-4.

STEVE MANUEL For the CDT

Penn State’s Ja­son Nolf, 157 pounds, takes down Wis­con­sin’s Devin Bahr on Sun­day at Rec Hall. Nolf de­feated Bahr, 25-10. Penn State de­feated Wis­con­sin 24-13.

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