Brandon Pelter, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a memorable finish last weekend to beat Ohio State, the top-ranked Nittany Lions look to bring the same focus and mentality into a second straight top 10 showdown against Iowa this weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center.
"I thought our effort was great last week but you can always wrestle better," Sanderson said. "I thought we had a good effort out of all of our guys but this is a big match - BJC, Iowa always has a great team and they're an intense team. They're coming in here to wrestle great so we've got to be ready. I think our team was relaxed last week and we are relaxed this week as well but we'll find out Saturday night."
Turning the Page to
The Nittany Lions have now shifted their focus to the Iowa Hawkeyes (11-2) in another highly anticipated matchup. For Penn State, moving onto the next opponent shouldn't be a problem, but it will need to make the most of its opportunities.
"They knew the schedule long before these matches come up," Sanderson said. "Ohio State's a big match, Iowa is a big match and they've known that and then Buffalo and we're into the Big Ten Tournament. You only get one chance at each match so you want to make the most of it."
For senior Zain Retherford, Penn State's mentality is key to its success both on the mat and when it comes to the bigger picture.
"I think we went into last weekend really not having anything to lose so I think carrying that forward and always being reminded that we want to win anything that we go into," Retherford said. "We're competitors and at the end of the day I'm happy with how we compete and how we approach the sport and how we approach life that way. That's the bigger picture, always keeping that in the back of your mind but still going out to win."
While Shakur Rasheed and Anthony Cassar continue to dazzle fans on the mat, Sanderson says it will once again be a match day as to who gets the start.
Carson Kuhn made his Penn State debut against one of the country's best, Nathan Tomasello. Although Kuhn was on the losing end of an intense battle, the senior was excited to make his Rec Hall debut.
"I've wrestled on a lot of cool stages, but nothing like Rec Hall," Kuhn said. "It's completely different. I think the fans are very educated, you can tell through the way that they react to the calls that the refs make to the moves that wrestlers are doing. It's just awesome to have that many people, with that much support, with knowledge about the sport."
Bo Nickal and Myles Martin met at 184 pounds and Nickal capped off a 10-2 major decision with two near fall points with just two seconds left, adding a crucial bonus point for Penn State.
"I just saw him lying on his belly," Nickal said. "Our coaches teach us to wrestle seven minutes so that's what I was focused on doing. I didn't really know that I was going to get the bonus point until I looked up at the scoreboard, but I was happy I was able to do that for the team."
On Monday USA Wrestling announced Rec Hall would be the second host site in the inaugural Final X series. The event will kick off Saturday June 16 at 6 p.m., helping decide the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Senior World Team rosters for both the men's and women's teams.
"I think the reason we have that is because of our fan base," Sanderson said. "They want to put the event somewhere that they know it's going to be successful. We have some great guys, some Nittany Lion Wrestling Club guys and some college kids that will be competitive but the main reason is because of our fans and our support so hats off to them. They're the ones that got that event placed here, but we're excited about it."
The other two events will take place June 9 and June 23. The locations and details will be announced at a later time.