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Nittany Lions Gear Up For Weekend Duals

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - While the Penn State wrestling team is proud of the effort they have displayed so far this season, they know that now is no time to get complacent.

8483735.jpegWith a 5-0 start already under their belt, the Nittany Lions will face a new test this weekend when they wrestle against Wisconsin at home on Friday before traveling to Purdue for a dual on Sunday.

Although this is the first time they have had to face two Big Ten teams in the same weekend, the wrestlers are eager for the challenge.

"I'm excited to compete both at home and at Purdue," said redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway. "I think we'll get some good matches in."

One aspect of the weekend that will be different from previous Big Ten weekends for the Nittany Lions is the quick turnaround they will have between meets.

The wrestlers will also have to adjust to traveling between meets, something they have only done once so far this season.

"Usually we have two home matches or two away matches in a row, so this weekend isn't very typical," said senior Bryan Pearsall. "It'll be a little hectic but we'll just have to embrace it and come at it with a positive attitude."

Along with keeping a positive attitude, the Nittany Lions will also have to keep their focus up, as they know both Big Ten opponents have them circled on their schedule and will give them everything they have.

They just plan on approaching them the same way they have approached their two previous Big Ten meets this season, which both ended in shutouts.

"You definitely do have to be aware of the big matchups," said Pearsall. "We've got to wrestle every Big Ten opponent tough because even if they're having a down year, they're still our rivals."

Conaway also pointed out that the Nittany Lions will have to stay in their sharpest mindset, as they know they may have to face these wrestlers again down the road.

"These are kids we're going to be seeing again at the Big Ten Championships," said Conaway. "We have to make sure we give them our best."

Another reason Penn State will want to be at their best is that they will face a much different atmosphere on Sunday than what they've experienced at home.

Instead of wrestling while being cheered on by a sold out Rec Hall like they're accustomed to, the Nittany Lions will have to deal with Purdue's fans cheering against them, something they say doesn't bother them.

"The atmosphere will be different but the wrestling won't change," said Conaway. "It'll be an adjustment but we'll be fine."

Pearsall agreed with his teammates, and added that the crowd won't be able to do much if they have nothing to cheer about.

"If we're beating up on them they won't have too much to go crazy about," said Pearsall. "If we wrestle the way we always do and shut down their scoring opportunities the crowd won't be much of a factor."

The biggest impact that this weekend will have, according to both Pearsall and Conaway, is getting the team ready for the challenges they have down the road.

With away meets coming up against Big Ten opponents ranked in the top ten such as Illinois and Iowa, the Nittany Lions know this weekend will prepare them for the toughest tests they'll get this season.

"I'll be having tough matches this weekend so I definitely think these two meets will get me ready for some of the other matches we have coming up," said Conaway. "This should get us to the level we need to be at.

With their next five matches all against Big Ten opponents, the Nittany Lions know this weekend is start of the biggest grind of their season.

"The easy part of our schedule is definitely behind us," said Pearsall. "We're getting into the grind here so we just have to look forward to it and take it one match at a time."

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