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Wright Looks Forward to Iowa Showdown

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the course of his decorated career at Penn State, national champion and three-time All-American Quentin Wright has become accustomed to wrestling in front of loud, passionate fans.

8382945.jpegThis weekend however, Wright will experience an atmosphere a little different than what he is used.

Instead of competing in front of the Nittany Lion faithful in a sold out Rec Hall, the senior will step inside Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a dual meet for the first time in his career.

"I'm really excited to compete there," said Wright. "It's going to be awesome being inside such a big arena and I'm looking forward to it."

While Wright has wrestled in Carver-Hawkeye for the Olympic Trials, he has yet to compete there in a dual meet against the Hawkeyes.

This Friday's meet expects to be a slightly different experience, as the arena, which holds a capacity of 15,400 people, will be filled with Iowa's exuberant fans.

Although six of the Nittany Lions eight dual meets this season have come at home in Rec Hall, Wright doesn't believe that the hostile environment will affect the team.

"We used to wrestling in front of loud crowds making a lot of noise," said Wright. "The only difference is its not going to be for us this time."

Head coach Cael Sanderson, who has had many experiences both coaching and competing inside Carver-Hawkeye, shared his wrestler's excitement and agreed with him that his team will be prepared.

"Outside of Rec Hall there's no better place to wrestle than Carver-Hawkeye," said Sanderson. "We're fortunate enough to have that kind of atmosphere at every one of our matches so I don't think it'll be that big of a deal."

Another reason that both Wright and Sanderson are excited to travel to Iowa is that it will be the team's first real big test of the season.

The Nittany Lions lowest margin of victory this season has been 23, and their highest has been 52, but they will likely be in for a much closer battle against the third-ranked team in the nation.

Despite this, Wright stated that he is looking forward to the challenge, as it has been a while since his team has faced another squad of the same caliber.

"It's always good to have tough competition swinging at you like this," said Wright. "It's fun when someone can battle you as hard as you battle them and it's a good opportunity to grow."

If Friday's match does go down to the wire, it is very possible that Wright could be the wrestler who ends up deciding the meet at the 197 weight.

That's perfectly fine by him, as the former national champion believes he is at his best when under intense pressure.

"Being in a situation like that is an opportunity to shine," said Wright. "That's where you want to be if your one of the upper weight guys."

With Penn State entering Friday's meet undefeated on the season, there's nothing Wright would like more than to keep the Nittany Lions winning streak alive against one of their rivals.

He knows that in order to do that, he and his teammates will have to be at their very best, as they were last year when they defeated Iowa 22-12 at home.

"Everybody has to continue to wrestle the way we have been but we need to focus on winning our individual matches a little more," said Wright. "The matches will be a little bit tougher and the team race might be closer so we have to stay focused."

Since this will be his last time competing against Iowa in a dual meet, the senior plans on giving his opponent his ultimate effort.

"I'm going to leave it all out on the mat," said Wright. "In a meet like this you can't leave anything behind."

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