Intermat Tournament Ranking: 1 (112.0)
2023 Dual Meet Record: 16-0
Conference: Big Ten
Ranked Wrestlers: 9
133 No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young
141 No. 4 Beau Bartlett
149 No. 13 Shayne Van Ness
157 No. 7 Levi Haines
165 No. 9 Alex Facundo
174 No. 1 Carter Starocci
184 No. 1 Aaron Brooks
197 No. 3 Max Dean
285 No. 2 Greg Kerkvliet
Just kidding, there’s absolutely nothing shocking about this. But maybe I had you second-guessing for a second?
Look, everything I have seen from this year’s Nittany Lion Wrestling Team and everything I have seen in the past from Cael Sanderson and his amazing coaching staff, points nowhere except in the direction of them winning their 10th NCAA title in the past 12 NCAA Championships.
But there could be several questions leading into the season ending championship for Penn Satte Wrestling.
You could question the amount of matches veterans Roman Bravo-Young and Aaron Brooks had during the year. Or the lack thereof. Between the two grapplers they saw action in 23 total matches. People might question if their bodies are ready for the grueling task of wrestling multiple matches a day over a short period of time.
The young talent on this year’s team could also be questioned. As in, when the bright and hot lights of the NCAA Championships shine down will Shayne Van Ness, Levi Haines, and Alex Facundo be able to perform at the level they need to in order to survive and advance.
You could question that.
But here’s the thing. I’m not. And I’m not going to question anything about the Penn State team because Cael Sanderson knows exactly what he is doing with each guy, and he knows exactly what they need to do to peak at the right time.
Plus, the Big Ten Championships are coming up soon. And they are the perfect dress rehearsal for RBY and Brooks and they will be great experience for Van Ness, Haines, and Facundo. Obviously, it’s paramount for each guy to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
But winning the Big Ten Championships? Who cares …
The only tournament that matters is the last one of the year.