2022 Penn State vs Lehigh

#1 Penn State vs #19 Lehigh - Preview & Predictions

#1 Penn State vs #19 Lehigh - Preview & Predictions

A full preview with predictions for the dual between #1 Penn State and #19 Lehigh on December 4.

Nov 30, 2022 by Jon Kozak
#1 Penn State vs #19 Lehigh - Preview & Predictions

The defending NCAA champion Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to Bethlehem Pennsylvania to take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Sunday, December 4. Take a look at the article below for the expected lineups from each squad and a full breakdown of every potential match.

Expected Matchups:

125: Gary Steen, Penn State vs Carter Bailey, Lehigh

133: #1 Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State vs #13 Connor McGonagle, Lehigh

141: #7 Beau Bartlett, Penn State vs Malyke Hines, Lehigh

149: #17 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State vs HM Manzona Bryant, Lehigh

157: HM Terrell Barraclough, Penn State vs #8 Josh Humphreys, Lehigh

165: HM Alex Facundo, Penn State vs #24 Brian Meyer, Lehigh

174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State vs Jake Logan, Lehigh

184: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State vs #18 Tate Samuelson, Lehigh

197: #1 Max Dean, Penn State vs #8 Michael Beard, Lehigh

285: #2 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State vs HM Nathan Taylor, Lehigh

The above potential lineups feature 16 total ranked wrestlers with ranked head-to-head matchups at 7 of the 10 weights. Time to break down each match and make some predictions!

125: Gary Steen, Penn State vs Carter Bailey, Lehigh

Gary Steen is manning the 125-pound starting spot for the Nittany Lions with Robert Howard out for the year with an injury. Steen is currently 3-2 on the year with his only losses coming against ranked wrestlers #20 Ethan Berginc and #17 Anthony Noto. Carter Bailey has had a slightly better year with a win over #15 Joey Prata but has also recently lost to Pitt's Colton Camacho. I give a slight edge to Bailey in this matchup based on the Prata win and an overtime loss to #11 Trevor Mastrogiovanni.

Prediction: Bailey by decision

Team score predictions: Penn State 0, Lehigh 3

133: #1 Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State vs #13 Connor McGonagle, Lehigh

As the two-time defending champion, Roman Bravo-Young is a big favorite in the potential match against Connor McGonagle. While McGonagle is off to a good start with notable wins over #22 Jason Shaner, Wyatt Henson, and #14 Micky Phillippi, it will be surprising if RBY doesn’t get a bonus point win on Sunday. 

Prediction: RBY by major

Team score predictions: Penn State 4, Lehigh 3

Highlights of RBY's win over Daton Fix in the 2022 NCAA Finals:

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141: #7 Beau Bartlett, Penn State vs Malyke Hines, Lehigh

Obviously, every match is important to elite college wrestlers but this one is especially interesting for both Bartlett and Hines. In last year’s dual against Lehigh, Bartlett took a surprising loss to Manzona Bryant up at 149 pounds. Bartlett might not be able to avenge the loss, but will be looking for his first win against a Lehigh opponent in his college career.

Not only does Lehigh need Hines to perform against Bartlett, Hines needs a big win to get back on track after a slow start to the season. After qualifying for the NCAA tournament twice at 133, Hines has struggled in his move up to 141. So far this season Hines is 1-3 on the year with losses to Mosha Schwartz, HM Cleveland Belton, and HM Carter Young. 

Prediction: Bartlett by decision

Team score predictions: Penn State 7, Lehigh 3

149: #17 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State vs HM Manzona Bryant, Lehigh

The dual might not hinge on this matchup but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an exciting bout to pay attention to on Sunday. Shayne Van Ness is currently undefeated in his college career with Nittany Lion fans expecting big things from him. However, as mentioned above, Bryant took out Beau Bartlett with a 6-5 decision and will be a tough out for the freshman. On top of that win, Bryant also notably defeated Max Murin last season.

One of the key factors in the match on Sunday will likely come down to pace. Shayne Van Ness is known for wrestling at an incredibly high pace from start to finish and that could give Bryant some problems. In Bryant’s match against Oklahoma State’s Victor Voinovich, he got out to an 8-0 lead in the first before Voinovich ran him down to win 11-10. If Bryant has trouble with his conditioning against Van Ness, look for the young Nittany Lion to capitalize for the win.

Prediction: Van Ness by decision

Team score predictions: Penn State 10, Lehigh 3

Shayne Van Ness' recent win over national qualifier Johnny Lovett:

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157: HM Terrell Barraclough, Penn State vs #8 Josh Humphreys, Lehigh

Josh Humphreys is one of the nation’s best top wrestlers and capable of wracking up bonus points against anyone in the country. On the other hand, Barraclough has only given up bonus points twice in his college career and is putting together a solid year with wins over national qualifiers Corbyn Munson and Ashton Eyler. This match will be a great litmus test for Barraclough and will tell Nittany Lion fans what they can expect from him this season.

Prediction: Humphreys by major

Team score predictions: Penn State 10, Lehigh 7

Josh Humphrey's win on the opening weekend of the season over Isaiah Crosby:

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165: HM Alex Facundo, Penn State vs #24 Brian Meyer, Lehigh

Alex Facundo was recruited to be Penn State’s next big star as the #2 ranked wrestler in the class of 2021. While he had a solid redshirt year going 12-3, he suffered losses to Thomas Bullard, Caleb Fish, and John Martin Best. The match against Brian Meyer will be an opportunity for him to record a significant win against a ranked opponent.

Though Meyer had significant wins last year over All-Americans Anthony Valencia and Jake Wentzel, he’s struggled to start the season. This year Meyer’s record is 1-4 with losses to #16 Matthew Olguin, #17 Wyatt Sheets, #14 Gerrit Nijenhuis, and #23 Holden Heller. The match against Facundo is Meyer’s opportunity to get back on track with a win against a quality opponent.

Prediction: Facundo by decision

Team score predictions: Penn State 13, Lehigh 7

Brian Meyer's win over NCAA runner-up Jake Wentzel:

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174: #1 Carter Starocci, Penn State vs Jake Logan, Lehigh

Two-time national champion Carter Starocci will be a big favorite against 2021 national qualifier Jake Logan. In fact, they wrestled last season where Starocci won a controlling 13-3 major decision. Expect a similar bout on Sunday with Starocci pushing for bonus points.

Prediction: Starocci by major

Team score predictions: Penn State 17, Lehigh 7

184: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State vs #18 Tate Samuelson, Lehigh

4-time national qualifier Tate Samuelson transferred from Wyoming to Lehigh and is looking to end his senior season on the podium at NCAAs. He’ll certainly have his work cut out for him this weekend against two-time defending national Aaron Brooks. Brooks last wrestled Samuelson back in the 2018-2019 season when Samuelson was a true freshman and Brooks was a high school senior. Brooks won that match 8-4 and has made considerable progress since then. 

Prediction: Brooks by major

Team score predictions: Penn State 21, Lehigh 7

Aaron Brooks' recent win over Parker Keckeisen at the NWCA All-Star Classic:

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197: #1 Max Dean, Penn State vs #8 Michael Beard, Lehigh

197 is 100% the main event of the dual with former Penn State wrestler Michael Beard set to take on defending national champion Max Dean. While most wrestling fans are aware, it’s worth mentioning that Dean transferred to Penn State from Cornell and beat Michael Beard to earn the starting spot at 197 pounds last season. Will this be a revenge match for Beard or will Dean once again prove he’s superior?

From the results so far this season, Max Dean looks to have the edge. Dean is 5-0 on the year winning all of his matches by either pin or tech fall. On the other side of things, Beard is coming off a 10-4 loss to Pitt's Nino Bonaccorsi. That’s not a bad loss considering Bonaccorsi was the NCAA runner-up in 2021, but Beard will certainly have to wrestle better against Dean if he hopes to come out victorious on Sunday. 

Prediction: Dean by decision

Team score predictions: Penn State 24, Lehigh 7

Hear Max Dean share his thoughts heading into his final year of college career:

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285: #2 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State vs HM Nathan Taylor, Lehigh

Greg Kerkvliet is coming off his All-Star Classic win over Anthony Cassioppi and will be a big favoritte against Nathan Taylor. Taylor is 2-2 on the year with a notable win over Oklahoma’s Josh Heindselman. However, Taylor was also recently majored by true freshman Dayton Pitzer less than two weeks ago. Considering that result, expect Kerkvliet to push for bonus points against Taylor and win in a dominant fashion. 

Prediction: Kerkvliet by major 

Team score predictions: Penn State 28, Lehigh 7

Kerkvliet's win over Cassioppi at the NWCA All-Star Classic:

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I’m predicting Penn State wins 8 of the 10 matches but the dual could certainly be closer. 141, 149, 165, and 197 are all matches Lehigh wrestlers are capable of winning and it wouldn’t be incredibly shocking if they come out on top of any one of those matches. Wrestling in front of a home crowd on Sunday, we should expect the Mountain Hawks to bring their “A-Game” against the defending champs.