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Wright Reflects on Career Milestone

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Quentin Wright took a look at Penn State's wrestling schedule at the beginning of the season, he couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed.

8494663.jpegWith 84 career victories under his belt, the three time All-American and 2011 national champion had hoped his 100th career victory would come at home, but the schedule seemed to indicate that it would likely come on the road.

Luckily for Wright, his calculations were slightly off.

"I was trying to calculate it earlier in the year and I didn't think I'd be able to get it in front of the home crowd," said Wright. "It wasn't until I got to the 99th that I realized my next match was actually a home meet."

With the Rec Hall crowd chanting his name, Wright took the mat against Wisconsin's Jackson Hein on Friday night and wasted little time earning what's only the most recent accomplishment in his storied career as a Nittany Lion.

After scoring a takedown early in the first period, Wright put Hein on his back to earn a pin in just 1:24.

"The opportunity was there," said Wright. "I just took advantage of it but it was fun."

Afterwards, the sold out crowd not only gave Wright a standing ovation, they refused to leave until he came back out for an encore.

The bond that Wright shares with the Nittany Lion faithful is certainly a special one. A product of nearby Bald Eagle Area High School, Wright grew up around Penn State wrestling and has been feeling the love of the fans ever since his first career victory over Hofstra's Alton Lucas in 2008.

While Wright has grown from an inexperienced 174 pounder to one of the nation's top 197 pounders and one of the most decorated wrestlers in Penn State history in the five years since, he has never lost his affection for the fans that have been with him his entire wrestling life.

"It's awesome getting this win in front of the home crowd because they've been watching and following me for years," said Wright. "It's great to achieve moments with people you consider your family."

According to Wright, the achievement would not have felt nearly as special in the immediate aftermath had it occurred on the road.

Having the opportunity to stand in the middle of the mat and wave to the fans as well as shake their hands and receive their congratulations afterwards is what will make this win stand apart from the previous 99 in Wright's mind.

"If this happened on the road it would just be another match where I wrestle my best and pick up a W," said Wright. "That's the same way I treated it going into it tonight but afterwards I could immediately celebrate with everybody's who's known me since I was young."

Despite the significance of the milestone, both Wright and head coach Cael Sanderson maintained that it is only a small piece of both Wright's season and his career.

Sanderson, who has coached Wright since his second year as a Nittany Lion, stated that while he is proud of his wrestler's accomplishment, it will not be what ends up defining him.

"For a national champion like him, I think 100 wins was kind of a given," said Sanderson. "He means a lot to this team and it's exciting to celebrate but at the same time it's just one of the steps along the way."

Wright, who remains undefeated on the season, agreed with his coach that his mind is now focused on bigger things, such as winning his second national title and becoming the sixth four-time All-American in Penn State history.

"This is my last year so I want to go out big," said Wright. "There is no other opportunity so you have to make sure you're satisfied and don't leave anything behind."

Once his career as a Nittany Lion is complete, Wright believes he will reflect more on the specific moments of his career, including his 100th victory.

"It's a small piece right now but after I graduate, I can look back on it and it will start to grow," said Wright. "I'm in the zone right now, but once I get a chance to reflect, it's going to be a nice achievement."

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