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Penn State Wrestling: Wisconsin Preview

Penn State kicks off it 2023 Big Ten schedule tonight against the 11th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.



Penn State's Aaron Brooks, right, has his hand raised after scoring a decision against Michigan's Myles Amine at 184 pounds in the finals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Syndication The Des Moines Register

Penn State wrestling heads to No. 11 Wisconsin on Friday to open its Big Ten Conference schedule against the Badgers. The dual meet is pivotal for the Nittany Lions, who are looking to open conference action on a positive note. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare for Friday’s showdown.

Dual details

Time: 9 PM EST on Friday, January 6, 2023.

TV: Airing live on the Big Ten Network.

Online: No streaming available.

Penn State’s dominance continues

The Nittany Lions are off to a hot start as they look to defend yet another team national championship. Cael Sanderson’s squad is currently 7-0 and is ranked No. 1 in most national polls.

Penn State is coming off a strong showing at the 2022 Collegiate Duals in December. The Lions dominated Central Michigan 50-3 in their first action, tying a school record of seven pins. A 37-3 rout of No. 24 North Carolina followed this performance. In the Dual Finale, Penn State secured a decisive 22-12 win over fifth-ranked Iowa State. 

Names to know for the Nittany Lions

Once again, the Penn State wrestling team touts a talented roster that will contend for individual national championships in several different weight classes. 

The headliners for the Nittany Lions are seniors Roman Bravo-Young and Max Dean. Bravo-Young, who wrestles at 133, is currently ranked first in the nation at his weight class according to InterMat Wrestling College Rankings. He is 6-0 with one pin on the season. Dean is currently ranked No. 4 nationally at 197. Dean is 9-2 on the year, but all his wins have come via pins.

Penn State also has four wrestlers ranked in the top five nationally for their weight classes. Sophomores Carter Starocci and Greg Kerkvliet rank No.1 at 174 and 285, respectively. Beau Bartlett, another promising sophomore, ranks fourth at 141. Junior Aaron Brooks also claims the top spot at 184. Combined, these wrestlers are 28-1 on the season.

What to expect from Wisconsin

Wisconsin comes into this dual with a 6-1 record, falling just outside the top ten in team rankings. The Badgers have several top-ranked wrestlers of their own.

The most interesting potential matchup of the dual comes in the 285-weight class. Kerkvliet could face Trent Hillger, who is 9-2 on the year and ranked 11th nationally. However, the Badgers have also wrestled freshman Peter Christensen, who is currently 4-1 with a top-four finish at the Solider Salute tournament at Iowa.

This should be an excellent early road test for Penn State heading into conference action. But it would not be surprising to see the Nittany Lions roll again despite some early challenges. 

Team Stats – Penn State and Wisconsin official team sites.

Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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