The biggest dual meet of the year lived up to the hype...and then some. Top-ranked Iowa held off number two Penn State 19-17 in a match that featured three #1 ranked wrestlers and nine combatants that entered Friday undefeated. As is normally the case with duals, a few unexpected surprises happened, along with some unheralded wrestlers that managed to help the team out by avoiding their opponents to earn bonus points. After the 133 lb match, Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, while the roof seemed ready to be blown off after the 174 and 285 lb matches. After sitting back for a few days and seeing everything unfold, we’ve gathered five takeaways from the super dual between Iowa and Penn State.
1) A New Contender Emerges at 133 lbs
All year we focused on the “big three” at 133 lbs with Seth Gross (Wisconsin), Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern), and Austin DeSanto (Iowa). And for good reason. Gross is a past national champion that was a finalist for the 2018 Hodge Trophy. Rivera has made it to the NCAA podium in both of his first two years of collegiate competition and last year downed Spencer Lee (Iowa), not once, but twice. DeSanto, also an All-American, is a maniac on his feet and handed Gross a loss during their early-season dual. One of the guys left out of the title talk at 133 lbs has been Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young. An All-American in 2019, as a true freshman, Bravo-Young has been excellent this season but didn’t see any top contenders through mid-December. Then he posted a pair of solid wins against 2020’s true freshmen Ridge Lovett (Nebraska) and Sammy Alvarez (Rutgers). While both were capable opponents, neither win indicated that he’d be rest upset the apple cart and put himself amongst the trio at the top of the weight class.
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