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2011-12 NCAA PREVIEW


Close race expected as PSU looks to repeat


By Jason Bryant and Craig Sesker USA Wrestler will again preview the upcoming college wrestling season, with views from both Jason Bryant and Craig Sesker. Here’s a breakdown of what fans can look to keep an eye out for this sea- son.


On the team-race side of things, it appears that Penn State, Iowa, Oklahoma State and Minnesota are the front-runners for an NCAA Championship. Penn State is fresh off its first NCAA


team title in over a half century, while Iowa and Oklahoma State will look to reclaim the title and continue the conver- sation regarding who the best college wrestling program of all-time really is. Penn State returns NCAA champion Quentin Wright and All-Americans Frank Molinaro, David Taylor and Ed Ruth. Cameron Wade should be in the mix for All-American honors after bowing out of the 2011 NCAA Championships with a knee injury. Brad Pataky and Andrew Long are gone, giving Penn State some holes to fill down low. Andrew Alton was in the Round of 12 last year and could redshirt, while twin brother Dylan is ready to be thrust into the lineup. Iowa returns All-Americans Matt McDonough, Montell Marion, Derek St. John and Grant Gambrall. With Tony Ramos emerging as a threat last year at 133 and Ethen Lofthouse back after a strong season, the Hawkeyes will be tough to beat this year. Oklahoma State returns NCAA champi-


on Jordan Oliver and All-American Jamal Parks and are bolstered by the incoming transfer of Cayle Byers from George Mason and the return of Alan Gelogaev and Chris Perry to the lineup. Not to be ignored, Minnesota returns All-Americans Zach Sanders, Kevin Steinhaus, Sonny Yohn and Tony Nelson. The Gophers have probably the top 1-2-3 punch from 184-up. It will be fun to watch how it plays out. 125 pounds: The weight clears out a bit with the graduation of three-time All-


6 USA Wrestler


Penn State’s Quentin Wright is looking to repeat as NCAA champion at 184 pounds. Wright led the Nittany Lions to the title in 2011. Tony Rotundo photo.


Americans Anthony Robles and Brandon Precin. McDonough, a runner-up to Robles last year, will try to reclaim an NCAA title after winning it as a redshirt freshman. The top competition at this weight could be Big Ten rival Sanders, but McDonough is head and shoulders above the field coming in this season. Previous All-Americans Ryan Mango (Stanford), Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) and Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) will give chase.


Bryant Pick: McDonough


Sesker Pick: McDonough 133 pounds: Weight management was


the question on everyone’s minds last year when Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver returned to the 133-pound weight class. He must have done something right as Oliver blew through the season, winning the NCAA championship. Oliver will be a heavy favorite to repeat. He’ll be chased by two-time All-American Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan and Illinois’ All-American B.J. Futrell. Cashe Quiroga


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