Penn State 125-pounder Brody Teske wants four things this wrestling season:
To have fun.
To become the best version of himself.
Grow a good mustache.
Grow a good mullet.
Penn State wrestling fans probably don’t give much of hoot about the mustache or the mullet. But they would be happy if Teske, a redshirt freshman from Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The four-time Iowa high school champion went 6-2 in open action a year ago, including going 2-1 in the Southern Scuffle. The Lions are going for their fifth national title in a row and ninth of the past 10.
Since Nico Megaludis won the weight at nationals in 2016, the lead-off spot has been somewhat of a problem for the Lions. Nick Soriano had a blockbuster year in 2017 but was injured near the end of the season and then high-tailed it back to his native New Jersey and Rutgers, where he won the national title in 2018 at 133.
Fill in Devin Scnupp filled in for two years, going 7-31 and never qualifying for nationals.
So it’s easy to see why Nittany Lion fans might be a bit nervous about 125 heading into the season, which tips-off with a dual with Navy at 2 p.m. Sunday in sold-out Rec Hall.
Teske, who went 175-1 in high school, is ready, he says.
He was a bit undersized last season. “Three-hundred sixty-five days can’t hurt. I’m trying to improve from top to bottom, just overall. A full summer of wrestling here has a made me better.
“I just want to take care of Brody Teske and everything will fall into place,” Teske said.
Penn State fans are looking for a hero from another school on Sunday.
Nope, we’re talking about graduate 197-pounder Kyle Conel, who has moved from Kent State to PSU for his final year of college wrestling.
PSU fans know Conel, who pulled one of the biggest upsets in recent NCAA history when he decked Ohio State’s Kollin Moore, in the quarters and then defeated him for third. The two wins helped the Lions win the NCAA championship in Cleveland.
Conel didn’t wrestle last season because of injuries.
“I’m ready to go. I’ve been doing everything in practice that the rest of the team does, “ he said.
Conel has big shoes to fill, taking over for three-time NCAA champion Bo Nickal, who recently won the U-23 World Championship in Budapest.
John Huckaby has covered amateur wrestling for more than 40 years. He can be reached at email@example.com