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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.

Wisconsin has three wrestlers in the top five nationally for their weight classes. Eric Barnett (125) and Dean Hamiti (165) rank fifth, while Austin Gomez (149) ranks second. Combined, these wrestlers are 28-5 on the year. These should prove to be challenging matchups for Nittany Lions Gary Steen (125), Shayne Van Ness (149), and Alex Facundo (165), who are a combined 22-9 this season.

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.


ICYMI: Penn State hockey announces non-conference schedule

The first portion of the Penn State hockey schedule was released this week.



Penn State hockey
Mar 14, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Penn State's Evan Bell (7) looks to shoot against Note Dame at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

With football just days away and the summer heat still present, not many people are thinking about hockey right now. That is, except for the administrators working on scheduling the upcoming 2023-2024 Penn State hockey campaign.

There is still a lot of work to be done, as the whole Big Ten schedule has yet to be announced, but the first pieces of the Penn State schedule were released this week. It is a typical Penn State hockey non-conference schedule, full of cupcake opponents and lacking a marquee matchup. Let’s break it down.

October 7th @ Long Island

Penn State will travel to Long Island to play one of Division I hockey’s newest foes. Long Island University started its hockey program in the 2020-2021 shortened season and has yet to make much noise. Long Island played two games at Pegula Ice Arena in 2021, both of which were Penn State wins. This is an odd trip for a program like Penn State to make, as the Nittany Lions will play in a community ice rink with almost no seating capacity. Long Island is almost guaranteed a bottom-20 finish, so this is a must-win for Penn State.

October 13/14 @ Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Penn State will continue on the road with a two-game Upstate New York ECAC road trip against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The Nittany Lions made the same trip in 2017 to open the season, splitting the two games. Clarkson looks to be a contender in the ECAC this year, while St. Lawrence will likely slot in its typical spot near the bottom of the conference. A road win against Clarkson could look very nice on Penn State’s resume come March.

October 20/21 vs. AIC

Continuing the rerun of the 2017 schedule, Penn State will open the home portion of its schedule against AIC. The only time these two teams met was an October 2017 series, in which the teams split. Since then, AIC has been a consistent contender in the Atlantic Hockey Conference and even notched a few NCAA Tournament wins. Still, this is a series Penn State will want to sweep.

October 26/27 vs. Alaska-Anchorage 

This Thursday/Friday series will see Alaska-Anchorage travel to Pegula for the first time since 2016, in which it was swept by the Nittany Lions. Alaska-Anchorage is another perennial bottom-dweller, and a loss could damage Penn State’s postseason hopes. 

November 24/25 vs. Lindenwood

Even though the schedule looks like Penn State will have a month off, the Nittany Lions won’t. Big Ten play will kick off the first weekend of November and fill the gap between non-conference series. Lindenwood played its first Division I season last year, and this will be the first meeting between the two schools. Again, this is another must-win for Penn State.

January 6 vs. Army

The final non-conference game of the regular season will be against Army on January 6th at Pegula. This will mark the first time Army has come to Pegula since the building’s opening night in October 2013. Army has never been much of a threat on the ice, and there is no reason to see that changing this year, likely with another bottom-20 finish.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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ICYMI: Happy Valley United joins national NIL collective group, aims at revenue-sharing model for athletes

The association’s founding could lead to a profound change in the college athletics structure.



Penn State football, West Virginia
Sep 29, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; A general view as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) prepares to take a snape against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Penn State’s new primary collective, Happy Valley United, joined six other organizations nationwide to form a national NIL collective group known as The Collective Association (TCA). One of the main objectives of TCA will be creating a revenue-sharing model for college athletics that does not require the athletes to become university employees. The move, which could profoundly impact Penn State athletics and beyond, comes as new national guidelines from the NCAA and the federal government could affect the operation of NIL collectives moving forward.

Penn State collective is one of seven founding members of The Collective Association

Wednesday, Pete Nakos of On3 reported that Happy Valley United was one of the seven founding members of the new national NIL collective group, TCA. The collective group, spearheaded by Spyre Sports Group of Tennessee, has three guiding principles according to Nakos: become a voice for athletes and their interests, create a forum for collectives to share NIL best practices, and provide a unified voice for collectives across the country. The seven founding members and institutions are as follows:

  • Florida State – The Battle’s End
  • Georgia – Classic City Collective
  • Michigan – Champions Circle
  • Mississippi – The Grove Collective
  • Penn State – Happy Valley United
  • Tennessee – Spyre Sports Group
  • USC – House of Victory

One of TCA’s first objectives will be to open a dialogue between collectives and the NCAA. Specifically of interest here is the memo released by the NCAA in June that essentially directs universities to adhere to NCAA guidelines when they conflict with state law regarding NIL and athlete compensation. TCA also plans to advise collectives on new federal guidelines from the IRS that would strip the tax-exempt status of many collectives nationwide.

However, one of the most important steps that TCA plans to take is to release a revenue-sharing model framework allowing college athletes to be paid for their services. Under this model, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks, athletes could receive compensation without becoming university employees.

Happy Valley United provides a unified voice for Nittany Lions athletics

The formation of TCA is just the latest in a series of headlines made by Happy Valley United in recent weeks. In June, Happy Valley United was created through a merger of Penn State’s two most prominent NIL collectives, Success with Honor and Lions Legacy Club. The group now provides a cohesive message and a unified path forward for Penn State in NIL, which was previously lacking.

Happy Valley United has been extremely active in organizing events across the region in the last month. Some of the more noteworthy events include meet-and-greets with student-athletes at Arts Fest in State College this weekend and the “We Are! At the Shore” event, featuring several Penn State football players in Avalon, New Jersey, later this month.

The Penn State community has seemingly rallied behind the unified voice of Happy Valley United in the weeks following its formation. Recently, the group was mentioned in a call to action by Penn State football coach James Franklin in one of his boldest messages regarding NIL to date. “Every game week, we call for our #107kstrong. Together we are locked in, committed and show the tremendous power of the Penn State Community. We need everyone locked in on being 1-0 in the NIL race,” Franklin said in part. 

Now, Happy Valley United is extending its reach beyond Penn State, looking to become one of the more influential NIL collectives in the country.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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ICYMI: Multiple Penn State baseball standouts selected in 2023 MLB Draft

This week, multiple Penn State baseball standouts found their new professional homes in the 2023 MLB Draft.



Penn State baseball, 2023 MLB Draft
Former Sinton baseball player Blake Mitchell's MLB draft party on Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Sinton, Texas.

The 2023 MLB Draft occurred this week from July 9 to 11, with 20 rounds of players selected to the thirty organizations of professional baseball. Among them were two former Penn State baseball standouts. One was starting shortstop Jay Harry, who put together three strong seasons in Happy Valley. The other was pitcher Daniel Ouderkirk, who has also been a significant contributor for the Nittany Lions. These selections marked the fourth time since 2016 that Penn State has had multiple draft picks in the same year.

Multiple Penn State baseball standouts taken in the 2023 MLB Draft

The first of the picks was shortstop Jay Harry, who has been nothing but productive for Penn State during his career. He served as the starting shortstop since arriving in Happy Valley and put in three seasons for the Nittany Lions. Starting 145 of 146 games played, Harry has batted .304 with 169 hits. Many of these hits were doubles, as he recorded 33 two-baggers in his career.  

On Monday, Harry was selected in the 6th round by the Minnesota Twins organization. He was the first college player from Pennsylvania to be drafted this year.

The second Penn State player taken in the draft was pitcher Daniel Ouderkirk. A grad student, he put in stellar numbers in his graduate season at Penn State, with 57 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. He also held opponents to a .240 batting average. Before coming to Penn State, he pitched two seasons at West Virginia. On Tuesday, the Seattle Mariners organization drafted Ouderkirk in the 18th round.

With new coach Mike Gambino taking on the helm of the Penn State baseball program and a record of producing MLB draft picks, more players from Happy Valley are sure to continue on to the professional level.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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