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Pearsall Strives to Continue Impressive Stretch

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - When Bryan Pearsall is asked about how far he has come during his time with the Penn State wrestling team, the senior can't help but smile.

For someone who has worked his way from a 3-23 freshman season to now being among the team's top lower weight wrestlers, the journey has been a long but rewarding one.

8404079.jpeg"It's hard to look back to when I was wondering if I'd ever get mat time and then to look at where I am now," said Pearsall. "I definitely took some bumps but I'm thankful that I stayed here."

After finishing his junior campaign on an impressive run that included a seventh place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Pearsall has carried that momentum into this season.

Not only has he brought stability to the 141 weight, he has also been a force on the mat, opening the season with an 8-2 record, while going 3-0 in dual meets.

For Pearsall, the hot start has been a welcome change from his previous seasons.

"I generally have a slow start to the season and it takes me until about Christmas to get warmed up," said Pearsall. "I came in this year with my weight lower and more focused on wrestling strong right off the bat."

Along with keeping his weight down and working on his technique, Pearsall has credited his early success to the motivation he gained after his season last year ended just short of a birth in the NCAA Championships.

While he was obviously disappointed, Pearsall believes the experience gave him the desire necessary to reach his full potential this season.

"I really felt that if I had qualified for nationals last year that I would have improved even more," said Pearsall.  "It was really that disappointment that motivated me in the offseason since I knew I only had one year left."

Pearsall also has been able to find motivation and inspiration from the teammates he practices with every day.

With five returning All-Americans joining him in the lineup, he doesn't have to look far to see what it takes to wrestle at the highest level.

"I look at those guys and I know they're at the place where I want to be," said Pearsall. "I always try to pick on the things that they do so I can improve myself and get to where they're at."

While Pearsall has often tried to learn from his teammates, it is certainly not a one-way street.

Many of his most accomplished teammates not only look up to him but also find motivation from the improvements he has made over the course of his career.

"Seeing how much Bryan has progressed through the years is really inspirational to me," said junior and returning national champion Ed Ruth. "The guy works so hard and is such a grinder."

Pearsall's style of grinding has taken notice with both his teammates and his coaches, who love the way he has been able to wear down his opponents and score points late in matches.

"You like to try and score early but sometimes you have to adapt and keep wrestling hard the whole time," said Pearsall. "I usually find that if I fall behind early I can come back and score late in the third."

Although he acknowledges the vast improvements he has already made, Pearsall doesn't believe he has stopped progressing.

In fact, he doesn't believe his career as a Nittany Lion will be complete until he too can say that he is an All-American.

"Anything less than being an All-American will be a major disappointment," said Pearsall. "If I keep working hard and keep improving I feel that it's a goal I can definitely attain."

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