Penn State Wrestling: A Look at the 2024-2025 Starting Lineup

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Penn State Wrestling Roster: Is This the Nittany Lions’ 2024-2025 Starting Lineup?

No matter how you slice it, Penn State Wrestling is going to have a stacked lineup going into next season.
Penn State Wrestling, Cael Sanderson,
Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson (Image via HawkCentral)
Back in early April, I slapped together a projected lineup based on the information we had at the time. And not surprisingly, many Nittany Lions sites have followed suit, and 2024-2025 projected lineups are flying around like hotcakes.
And also not surprisingly, there have been quite a few changes as Beau Bartlett, Carter Starocci, and Greg Kerkvliet have all confirmed they are coming back for one final run.

Then this past week, the fine folks over at Penn State Rivals decided to throw their hat into the proverbial crystal ball ring.


So based on everything we now know, how’d they do?

Here is our latest projected starting lineup, and analysis on each grappler’s potential impact on the Nittany Lions in 2024.

Latest Penn State Wrestling Starting Lineup Projection

125 – Luke Lilledahl

I also had Lilledahl pegged in my starting lineup. This dude is a complete hammer and his talents are too good for him not to crack next year’s starting lineup.

133 – Braeden Davis

Penn State Wrestling
Penn State’s Braeden Davis wrestles Ohio State’s Vinny Kilkeany in their 125-pound bout on Feb. 2, 2024, in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won, 28-9.
The Nittany Lions have a wealth of talent in their wrestling room and Cael Sanderson and company have landed a string of highly-rated recruiting classes. When you combine this with multi-year All-Americans and NCAA champions returning to the lineup, it’s inevitably going to lead to situations like this.
Penn State Wrestling is going to have two highly competitive guys duking it out for the starting spot at 133. Both Aaron Nagao and Braeden Davis would start for virtually every D1 program in the country.
But, hey, it’s a good problem to have. And when the dust settles on this position battle, my money is also on Davis to occupy the 133 spot next year.

141 – Beau Bartlett

Penn State Wrestling
Penn State Wrestling standout Beau Bartlett (Scott Pilutik For NittanyCentral)
Following his runner-up finish in the 2024 NCAA Championships, Beau Bartlett has one thing and only one thing left to do.
And that’s to win the whole f$%&ing thing next year.

149 – Shayne Van Ness

Another decision will need to be made at this weight.
On one hand, you have a 2023 All-American who placed third in his first full season on the mat. Unfortunately, his season was cut short last year due to an injury in November.
And on the other hand, you have a true freshman who was thrust into action up a weight class. And all he did was become the first true freshman to lose his opening round match in the NCAA Championships and then storm back and win seven straight matches to take home third.
Both Van Ness and Tyler Kasak have done some incredible things on the mat. But I also agree with Rivals on this one. Van Ness will be the guy at 149.
Kasak can redshirt next year and continue to improve behind the scenes in the wrestling room.

157 – Mitchell Mesenbrink

Penn State Wrestling
Penn State Wrestling star MItchell Messenbrink.
No disagreement from me here either.
Two years ago Mesenbrink competed at 70 kg at both the U20 Pan American Championships and the U20 World Championships. And while he wrestled at 165 this past season, Mitchell has the ability to make the cut and wrestle at a high level at 157.

165 – Levi Haines

Penn State Wrestling
Levi Haines of the Penn State Nittany Lions at 157 lbs. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Two things were readily apparent last year.
-No one in the country was beating Levi Haines this past season.
-Levi Haines wrestled his last match at 157 pounds.
So again, I completely agree that Haines will be locked and loaded next year at 165.

174 – Alex Facundo

 

With Terrell Barraclough hitting the transfer portal a couple of weeks ago, this makes the prediction at 174 a little bit easier.
I honestly thought the battle between Barraclough and Facundo could be a fun one to watch as next year’s campaign unfolded. But unless Terrell decides to stay put, the spot at 174 should be locked down by Alex Facundo and he was also my pick at this spot.

184 – Josh Barr

Cue the Captain Kirk and Bones nodding gif.

Josh Barr was nothing short of spectacular in the 2023-2024 season. He took home titles in the Journeymen Classic, Black Knight Invite, Mat-Town Open II, and Edinboro Open. He won a 13-4 major decision in his only dual meet action and he finished the year 14-0 with a bonus percentage of 73%.
His main competition at 184 is most likely true freshman Zack Ryder. And while Ryder is a stud in his own right, something tells me he’s going to redshirt this coming season.

197 – Carter Starocci

My pick at 197 came down to Lucas Cochran and true freshman Connor Mirasola.
But, that was before a four-time NCAA champion decided to come back to Happy Valley.
I for one am very curious as to what Starocci will look like bumping up two weight classes. As Carter has said before, he gains weight just by looking at food and looking at barbells.
And now that he won’t have to embrace the non-stop suck of having to cut to make 174 each dual meet, I think he’s going to transform into a beast. Not that he wasn’t before.
It will be a lethal combination when you add Carter’s experience, ability, work ethic, and quickness, to a boatload of added strength.

285 – Greg Kerkvliet

Penn State Wrestling
Greg Kerkvliet in action for Penn State Wrestling during the 2023 season.
Again, no argument from me here.
In my lineup prediction, I had this spot narrowed down between Kerkvliet and Cole Mirasola. Mainly because at the time Kerk hadn’t yet announced what he was doing for next year.
And now that everyone knows Greg is coming back, Cole can redshirt and get acclimated to the college wrestling scene at his own pace. This loosely translates into him continually getting his butt whooped in the wrestling room by Kerk Kong.
Hey, that’s about as good of a learning experience as you can get!

MORE: Five Thoughts on Penn State Legend David Taylor Taking Oklahoma State Job

A note to our readers; If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission
Chris Snyder
Follow Chris