149 pound redshirt freshman Brady Berge made an impressive dual debut with a 25-10 tech fall in the Bucknell meet. It was redshirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren who got the nod, and a 5-3 decision, in the Lehigh meet. Then it was back to Berge against Arizona state, and a 5-4 victory for Brady. Berge went 6-1 at the Southern Scuffle and Verk went 2-2. It was then Berge who scored a 19-7 major against Northwestern, followed by a 8-7 loss against Wisconsin; while Verk went 4-0 the same weekend, winning the Hitchcock Memorial, at Millersville University. In the next dual, Berge then scored a 7-4 decision against Nebraska.
Since the Nebraska dual, we have not seen Brady Berge take the mat. Verkleeren scored an 8-3 decision in the Purdue dual, followed by a 6-4 decision against Indiana.
In regard to the Indiana/Purdue meets, on January 29, Coach Sanderson said ““We just wanted to give (Berge) a weekend off; there’s nothing wrong with him at all.” Then, by Friday, it was redshirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren who took the mat against Michigan’s Malik Amine. We now know that the call to Verk came pretty late on Friday, and he spent most of the day shedding pounds to make weight. Despite the Friday weight shed, Jarod hit a superduck for the highlight reels and a textbook Granby. However, it appeared the last minute weight cut left Jarod gassed in the third, and he ended up dropping a 7-5 decision to Amine.
Speculation began early as to whether it would be Berge or Verkleeren who would face Ohio State’s #3, Micah Jordan. For the fourth time in the last four duals, it was once again Verk who got the call. This time, it appeared Jarod managed the weight loss well, and wrestled the third ranked Jordan to–what would have been–a tie if it were not for a questionable push out call late in the third. Instead, the push out stall call gave Jordan a point and caused Verk to release him and he ended up losing 10-8.
So the speculation begins again. With only two duals (against fairly week opponents) until we head into the B1G and NCAA tournaments; will Verkleeren continue to carry the torch at 149, or will we see Berge return to that mat?