No. 18 Indiana wrestling has continued to defy expectations this season as they boast a 7-2 dual record, including three ranked wins on the year. Indiana will be tasked with the biggest test in the nation on Sunday, though, at Wilkinson Hall against No. 1 Penn State.
Penn State is off to a stellar start to the season, clearing every hurdle that has been put in front of them. Most recently the Nittany Lions defeated No. 2 Iowa 23-14 and before that had an impressive 34-6 victory over No. 6 Michigan.
Penn State will be tested against No. 5 Ohio State on Friday before they head out to Bloomington to wrestle the Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions currently sit at 11-0 and have not lost a dual meet since January 2020 when Iowa defeated them 19-17.
The star-studded Nittany Lion line-up consists of six wrestlers ranked in the top three. Of those, graduate student Roman Bravo Young at 133 lbs., junior Carter Starocci at 174 lbs. and senior Aaron Brooks at 184 lbs. are all ranked No.1 in the nation in their respective weight classes.
The Hoosiers have five ranked wrestlers of their own including No. 21 junior Derek Gilcher and No. 15 redshirt junior DJ Washington.
Gilcher will face a tough opponent in standout true freshman No. 10 Levi Haines of Penn State. Haines has proven himself a title contender this season with wins over No. 8 redshirt senior Will Lewan of Michigan and No. 12 junior Cobe Siebrecht of Iowa.
The marquee matchup of the dual will occur at 174 lbs. as Washington faces Starocci. The two wrestled in January 2021 when Washington delivered a stunning upset over Starocci. This was one of only two losses Starocci has sustained in his collegiate career. The two have not wrestled since that matchup.
Starocci has won two national titles since their meeting in 2021 but it is clear from a 2022 interview with Flowrestling that Starocci still has this matchup on his mind.
“That was rough,” Starocci said. “Whatever I gotta do, I’ll catch (Washington) at some point. Whether it is on the mat or off the mat.”
Other ranked matchups will occur at 133 lbs., 149 lbs. and Heavyweight featuring Hoosier grapplers Henry Porter, Graham Rooks and Jacob Bullock, respectively.
The Hoosiers will take on No.1 Penn State at 2 p.m. Sunday in Wilkinson Hall. It will be broadcast on BTN+.