original photo courtesy of Richard Immel
This week’s College Wrestler of the Week, Anthony Cassar of Penn State, earns the honor after capturing his first career Big Ten Championship at 285 lbs. Cassar is a fifth-year senior that is competing in the postseason for the first time for Penn State. In past years, he has either been injured or was not the starter, due to the depth of the Nittany Lion lineup. Anthony started his Big Ten tournament off with a major decision of Purdue’s Jacob Aven and then cruised by #16 David Jensen (Nebraska) 8-2. In the semifinals, Cassar majored #17 Conan Jennings (Northwestern), who was fresh off of downing eight-ranked Mason Parris (Michigan). It was the finals where Cassar truly earned Wrestler of the Week honors, as he upset top-ranked, undefeated freshman Gable Steveson (Minnesota). Late in the third period, Steveson held a 3-2 lead and appeared to be on his way to his own first conference title. Cassar would put a stop to that by earning a takedown with approximately 20 seconds left in the match. The takedown was the first that Steveson had surrendered all season. Cassar was able to prevent the Gopher from escaping during the last 20 seconds to win the match and the Big Ten title with a 4-3 score.
Anthony will go into the NCAA Championships with a 25-1 record and is now on a 14-match winning streak. His one loss came in the finals of the Southern Scuffle on January 1st. The wrestler that defeated Cassar, Derek White (Oklahoma State), along with Steveson and the Nittany Lion is expected to be the top three seeds at 285 lbs. On Wednesday we will find out exactly where they fall in the bracket.