February 14, 2021
Ann Arbor, MI
No. 3 Penn State 18, No. 2 Michigan 13
If Sanderson’s first win as head coach of Penn State Wrestling makes the list of top 25 dual meets, then clearly his 200th win was going to make it, right? And look, it would have been easy for me to cherry-pick this one and simply say just that.
At the end of the day, this was an entertaining dual meet and one in which an inexperienced Penn State went on the road and defeated the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. You can read a detailed write-up of the results, my grades, and the MVP of the match, but here’s a quick summary.
In each of the Nittany Lions’ first three dual meets, they had to, unfortunately, spot the opposing team six points as they didn’t have any able bodies to go at 125. Robert Howard changed that narrative as he made his Penn State debut. He proceeded to take care of business and win his match via a decision, thus providing Penn State with a 9 point swing.
All three of the top Nittany Lion wrestlers (Roman Bravo Young, Nick Lee, Aaron Brooks) won by decision, however, none of them were able to grab any much-needed bonus points.
Remember when Carter Starocci wasn’t exactly a household name yet in the Penn State wrestling world? Seems like a loooong time ago, right?
Well as he did in the 2021 season, he once again stepped up to the plate in a difficult match against No. 2 Logan Massa at 174. The most thrilling match of the day resulted in Starocci coming away with a 7-1 decision in TB2 against Massa.
Starocci and Howard won the dual for Penn State in the end. If you flip any one of those matches then PSU loses.
It was a dual meet filled with incredible matches, fantastic wrestling, and an outcome that wasn’t really expected. The youngsters for Penn State wrestled their tails off and maybe, just maybe, this dual gave them the confidence they needed to compete against the nation’s best later in the season.