Penn State Wrestling vs. Army 2021

At 157, Penn State's Terrell Barraclough becomes the Nittany Lion's second loss of the night to Army's Markus Hartman by a 9-0 major decision. Penn State defeats Army 32-7 on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. 

With nearly one month of the season completed, the Big Ten has once again proven why it’s the deepest and most competitive conference in all of college wrestling.

According to Intermat, the conference has five programs ranked inside the top 10, and 11 programs ranked inside the top 20.

Both Iowa and Penn State, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, have their eyes set on a national title, while schools like No. 4 Michigan and No. 7 Ohio State are trying to prove they’re just as capable of making noise in the postseason.

Here’s how the top programs in the Big Ten conference have fared to start the season.

Iowa

The defending national champions have done what’s expected of them to this point in the season.

The Hawkeyes have started the 2021-22 campaign with a 3-0 record, besting Princeton, Army and Iowa State.

Although it may not appear so considering the team’s success, Iowa looks as if it has its eyes toward the postseason despite several key starters not having taken the mat this season.

No. 1 Spencer Lee, who’s coming off a year in which he earned his fourth national title at 125 and wrestled with two torn ACLs, has yet to take the mat for Iowa.

Michael Kemerer is another significant member of the Hawkeyes who has yet to officially compete this season.

Kemerer is returning for his seventh year after finishing runner-up at the NCAA Tournament a season ago.

Although multiple top Iowa wrestlers have yet to compete, as of now Iowa still looks primed to be ready to defend its title come the postseason.

Penn State

Despite a perfect 5-0 record, the Nittany Lions have had to deal with an illness that has made its way through the roster, sidelining multiple key starters throughout the lineup.

Reigning national champions Roman Bravo-Young and Aaron Brooks have all been forced to miss time, along with heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet.

As a result of the illness, Penn State has been able to showcase its depth on multiple occasions to this point in the season.

Whether it be in starting roles or wrestling in the place of injured or ill starters, wrestlers like Creighton Edsell, Donovon Ball and Baylor Shunk have all played significant roles on the team.

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While conference dual meets have yet to begin, the Nittany Lions have taken on their fair share of tough opponents.

Included in the 5-0 record are wins over No. 23 Oregon State, No. 21 Lehigh and Penn, as Penn State’s four reigning national champions Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Carter Starocci and Brooks have all been nothing short of dominant when healthy and on the mat.

Newcomer Max Dean has also made a positive impression in his short time in Happy Valley. The Cornell transfer is No. 3 at 197 and undefeated with two tech falls on the season.

Although dealing with their fair of unforeseen challenges, the Nittany Lions look primed and ready to once again challenge Iowa for the top spot in the country.

Michigan

Michigan doesn’t currently possess the pedigree that Iowa and Penn State do, but it’s eager to introduce itself to the party.

Currently ranked at No. 4, the Wolverines have been dominant in its 3-0 start to the year.

While it has all come against unranked opponents, Michigan has outscored its opposition 104-9 in three dual meets.

The leader of the Wolverines, Myles Amine, who is currently ranked at No. 2 at 184, has yet to wrestle to this point in the season.

Like the aforementioned Kemerer, Amine is returning for his seventh season. He competed last season at 197 where he finished third at the NCAA Championships but is currently listed at 184 by Intermat.

Outside of Amine, Michigan boasts two more top-10 wrestlers in No. 8 Dylan Ragusin and No. 9 Patrick Brucki.

The pair compete at 133 and 197, respectively, and have been instrumental in leading the way.

Michigan also recently landed top transfer Nick Suriano, who is expected to compete at 125, and he offers welcomed depth to the team's starting lineup.

Ohio State

Ohio State has gotten off to a strong start this season and has already shown that it can compete with the other top-ranked programs in the country.

At 3-0, the Buckeyes have already defeated two top-20 ranked opponents in No. 9 Virginia Tech and No. 20 North Carolina.

Ohio State also finished as the runner-up in the Cliff Keen Invitational behind fellow Big Ten program Nebraska.

The only Buckeye to finish first in his respective weight class was No. 10 Kaleb Romero who took first place at 184.

Sammy Sasso placed second in the tournament at 149, but he still appears to once again be leading the charge for Ohio State.

Sasso, currently ranked at No. 2 in his weight class, is 11-1 on the season with wins over No. 6 Bryce Andonian and No. 18 Zach Sherman.

While conference dual meets have yet to begin, the Buckeyes have already compiled a quality resume to this point in the season.

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