Ending months of speculation, former Penn State wrestler Gavin Teasdale went on the PA Power Wrestling podcast on Tuesday to talk about why he left the Nittany Lions and where he his now — the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling room.
The four-time Pennsylvania state champ out of Jefferson-Morgan High School who had initially verbally committed to Iowa with friend and Young Guns training partner Spencer Lee in 2016, eventually flipped his commitment to Penn State.
While Lee, a Franklin Regional product, went on to win two individual national championships at Iowa his freshman and sophomore years, Teasdale, who’s a year younger, struggled to find his footing at Penn State.
Expected to start right away for the Nittany Lions at 125 pounds, Teasdale never took the mat in a blue and white singlet. In November, he announced on Twitter that he’d be leaving school for health issues, but planned to return in January. Although he did return, Teasdale never wrestled, and coach Cael Sanderson announced his intent to transfer on Jan. 22.
“You have so much on your plate and you’re going into college, it’s so much more than just being a student,” Teasdale told the Pennsylvania wrestling media site. “That’s the thing I had to realize; I wasn’t just a regular student up there on that campus. I had to realize that I have to be going to classes, I have to be managing my weight ... .“
Problems started in high school: The problems, Teasdale said, started between his sophomore and junior years of high school. He said he stopped caring, got into some issues off the mat, and wasn’t in the right state of mind. Not being in that “right state of mind” is what he said contributed to the lone two losses of his high school career — one being to 2020 Penn State commit Beau Bartlett, of Wyoming Seminary at the Powerade finals in 2017.
After he graduated and came to Penn State, Teasdale said his problems followed him. Just about three hours from his home, Teasdale said State College may not have been far enough away to leave his issues behind him.
“I think the main reason I went up there to Penn State in the first place because it’s close, it’s home, it’s family it’s an atmosphere you know,” he said. “And you know, an atmosphere you know can hurt you. Your biggest atmosphere, the place you can feel the most comfortable can be your biggest enemy.”
Things are different in Iowa: Now in Iowa City, Teasdale says things are different — his head’s more clear, he’s doing things right and feels more like he belongs. It shouldn’t be too difficult for Teasdale to feel at home in the Iowa room, alongside Lee, another former Young Guns teammate in Central Cambria product Max Murin, and fellow Pennsylvanians Michael Kemerer, Caleb Young and Austin DeSanto.
Teasdale told PA Power Wrestling podcast hosts Jeff Upson and Eric Knopsnyder that he plans to enroll in classes at Iowa this fall and wrestle right away in the 2019-20 season. His weight, however, is still yet to be determined.
His walking around weight is between 140-45 pounds, Teasdale said, but he said his diet is still not where he wants it to be. Trying to manage his weight and cut enough to make 125 pounds was part of his problems at Penn State, he said.
To crack the starting lineup at Iowa this season, Teasdale will likely have to beat out DeSanto or Murin at 133 or 141 pounds. DeSanto placed fifth this past season as a sophomore.
As for the Nittany Lions, 125 pounds still remains a question mark, two years after Nick Surinao’s transfer to Rutgers. Junior Devin Schnupp has held down the spot ever since, finishing both years with losing records. Four-time Iowa state champ Brody Teske was expected to be an option, but redshirted all last year. Lehigh transfer Matt Parker is another lightweight option for Penn State this coming season.
Both the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions are widely regarded as national title contenders for 2019-20.
“We care a lot about Gavin, and wish him all the best,” Sanderson said in January.