With an 8-0 record in his true freshman campaign, Nick Suriano (Penn State) was off to an excellent start. Considering two of those wins, over Connor Schram (Stanford) and Darian Cruz (Lehigh), came at the expense of former All-Americans, his ranking of third in the nation seemed well earned. Still, a Big 10 road-trip to take on a red-hot Ethan Lizak (Minnesota), who was ranked sixth after scoring bonus in every match on his way to a Southern Scuffle title, and fifth-ranked Tim Lambert (Nebraska), a senior with a 20-2 record on the year, would test even the most battle-hardened veteran.
Just as he has at every turn in his young career, Suriano passed this test with flying colors. Against Lizak, who is outstanding on top, Suriano needed to push the pace from neutral and he did so, taking the Gopher down three times to open up a 6-2 lead after the first period. While Lizak rode Suriano for the entire second period, he could not turn the Nittany Lion over, something he did to every opponent at the Southern Scuffle. A fourth Suriano takedown in the third period salted the match away. The final score was 8-6. In Lincoln on Sunday, Lambert posed a much greater challenge in neutral, but Suriano showed patience beyond his years, staying out of trouble early before scoring the only takedown of the match in the second period. Nick made it stand up as he won his 10th consecutive match, 3-2.
Congratulations to Nick Suriano on being named TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week!