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VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Nico Megaludis (1/27/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (11-0, 6-0 Big Ten) returns to Rec Hall on Sunday for a 2 p.m. bout against No. 10 Michigan (9-1, 4-0 Big Ten).

GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior Nico Megaludis this week to talk about his season to date. Megaludis is 20-1 on the season and ranked No. 4 at 125 pounds.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hoops Adding to MSG History on Saturday

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11642021.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly seven years have passed since a memorable spring evening inside Madison Square Garden for the Nittany Lion basketball team.

Penn State will return to The Garden on Saturday for the first time since knocking off Baylor in the 2009 NIT title game.

Saturday's return will be a treat for Penn State fans when the Nittany Lion men's hockey and hoops teams compete in a day-night doubleheader at MSG against Michigan (Basketball at 12 p.m.; Hockey at 7 p.m.).

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany made the hockey-hoops doubleheader announcement on Dec. 9, 2014, with Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour among the attendees inside MSG.

"Any time the Penn State nation has the opportunity to come to New York is always an exciting time. And the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden is something I think our student-athletes will really enjoy, as will our community," said Barbour.

With approximately 32,000 Penn State alums in the New York City, Saturday provides a great opportunity for the local fans to Penn State teams in action at "The World's Most Famous Arena". Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and GoPSUsports.com (Click Here).

On the hardwood, the Nittany Lions will be making their 17th appearance in the current Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968. Penn State is 10-6 all-time at MSG. The Lions have won five-straight games held in Madison Square Garden.

Penn State Men's Basketball at MSG
1971-72 - 12/27/71 - vs. Providence, L 81-65 (ECAC Holiday Classic)
1971-72 - 12/28/71 - vs. Utah, W 80-69 (ECAC Holiday Classic)
1971-72 - 12/29/71 - vs. Syracuse, L 92-77 (ECAC Holiday Classic)
1975-76 - 2/28/76 - vs. Fairfield, W 76-68
1989-90 - 3/26/90 - vs. Vanderbilt, L 75-62 (NIT)
1989-90 - 3/28/90 - vs. New Mexico, W 83-81 (OT) (NIT)
1994-95 - 3/27/95 - vs. Marquette, L 87-79 (NIT)
1994-95 - 3/29/95 - vs. Canisius, W 66-62 (NIT)
1997-98 - 3/24/98 - vs. Georgia, W 66-60 (NIT)
1997-98 - 3/26/98 - vs. Minnesota, L 79-72 (NIT)
1999-00 - 3/28/00 - vs. Notre Dame, L 73-52 (NIT)
1999-00 - 3/30/00 - vs. North Carolina State, W 74-72 (NIT)
2000-01 - 12/26/00 - vs. Princeton, W 65-52 (ECAC Holiday Classic)
2000-01 - 12/27/00 - vs. Hofstra, W 74-71 (ECAC Holiday Classic)
2008-09 - 3/31/09 - vs. Notre Dame, W 67-59 (NIT)
2008-09 - 4/2/09 - vs. Baylor, W 69-63 (NIT)

All-Time MSG Record - 10-6



11642019.jpeg Looking Back at the 2009 NIT Crown
Below is review of Penn State's 69-63 victory over Baylor en route to the program's first NIT championship during the 2008-09 season. Take a look back at a memorable Penn State night in New York City.


Lions Capture Program's First National Tournament Title in MSG

NEW YORK, April 2, 2009 - With a chorus of cheers from 36 bus loads of fans ringing down on them and a who's who of Penn State dignitaries in the stands, members of the Nittany Lion basketball team left the Madison Square Garden floor as no other had before in program history, as national tournament champions.

 

Playing the gritty, energized, relentless basketball it used all season to record a school-record win total, Penn State (27-11) posted a 69-63 victory over Baylor (24-15) in the National Invitation Tournament Championship game in New York City to complete a story book season of program firsts and claim just the second post-season tournament title in program history and first since the 1991 A-10 tournament crown.

 

"You don't know what it's going to be like when you go into it," senior Jamelle Cornley said with a wide smile and tear-swollen eyes. "The last time I cut down the nets was the state championship my freshman year of high school. To cut down some more nets in my last game is just an unbelievable feeling."

 

Cornley, who led Penn State with 18 points and seven rebounds, was named the NIT MVP despite playing the last three games of the tournament with his partially separated left shoulder tightly wrapped. One of four seniors who left the floor for the final time with a win and helped Penn State to log victories in 10 of its last 13 games, Cornley will leave an indelible mark on the Nittany Lion program for his production on the court and his emotional leadership on and off it. The 6-5, 245-pound forward who was told he was undersized by most major programs, ends his career as the Penn State's fourth all-time leading scorer (1,579) and rebounder (756).

 

Fellow seniors Stanley Pringle (10 points) and Danny Morrissey (nine points) also had big nights. Morrissey canned three big threes and epitomized the all-out effort of the Lions when he suffered a split lip and mild concussion while diving headlong for a loose ball with just over two minutes to play. The Lions third all-time three-point shooter ended his career with 221 treys.

 

"We have tough kids," said Penn State coach Ed DeChellis who was congratulated on the court by legendary Nittany Lion football coach Joe Paterno and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris. "We're going to compete. That's been our trademark all year. That play typifies what our team has been like all year."

 

Sophomore Talor Battle, who was also named to the All-tournament team, added 12 points (all in the second half), seven assists and six boards and ended the year with the Penn State single-season assist record with 189 and the Lions' fifth-best ever single season scoring mark with 635 points. Sophomore David Jackson added 10 points as the Lions shot 54 percent in the second half and out-rebounded the taller Bears 36-29, including 12 offensive boards.

After trailing 29-25 at halftime, the Nittany Lions mounted a 7-1 surge to open the second half on the way to a 32-30. The partisan Penn State crowd roared, and the Nittany Lions never looked back on the way to hoisting a trophy and cutting down the nets in "The World's Most Famous Arena".




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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As Penn State men's gymnastics carries on their regular season, the Nittany Lions enter their second home match on Saturday, January 30 against Illinois.

 

The Blue and White defeated Army to kick off its season before earning a first-place finish at the West Point Open.  Although the team suffered a step back against Minnesota, the boys are focused and determined as the season continues.

 

The 2016 men's gymnastics squad is a mix of veteran and newcomers who all are determined to keep the team focused on the goals set in front of them.

 

"I think one of the biggest goals for the team this season is to win both NCAA and Big Ten's," stated Dominic DiFulvio. "As a team, we want to win back-to-back Big Ten championships, which has never been done before during my time here at Penn State."

 

DiFulvio is a junior and leader on the team. The New York native has been on the team since his freshman year in 2014, and since joining the Blue and White he has become an all-around competitor

 

As one of the veterans, DiFulvio consistently aims to inspire the rest of his teammates to achieve their personal goals to help better the team as a whole.

 

"One thing I'm looking forward to is competing in as many meets as I can this season," said DiFulvio. "I really enjoy doing all the different type of events at competitions so I'm going to keep working towards this goal to help the team out. Each event demands a certain amount of focus and body training so I want to make sure I can perform them all and be as beneficial to my team as possible," he continued.

 

With the physical demands of the sport, several of the guys on the team are focusing on getting healthy to compete again.

 

"A challenge our team is facing right now is getting everyone healthy enough to compete, it's important we all take care of ourselves so we can continue to take on the season together," said DiFulvio. "Although some of our guys are hurt, it does allow some new faces to get in the competition and that'll help build their self-esteem while competing, which can help us in the future."

 

This season the Lions will only be hosting three meets, forcing the Blue and White to adjust to being on the road most of the regular season.

 

"Although it can be tough to always be traveling, being on the road is always a fun time with the team," said DiFulvio.  "Whenever the team travels it brings everyone closer and being close with the team makes those trips even more fun. We're all really close so whenever we're on the road like we are majority of this season the bus rides become fun and we're always playing games and talking to one another while traveling."

 

After hosting Illinois this upcoming Saturday, the Blue and White will be on the road until the team hosts Nebraska on March 11.

 

Be sure to keep an eye out on the Nittany Lions as the men's gymnastics team conquers the difficulty of being on the road in hopes to make history with back-to-back Big Ten titles. 

By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - At the annual media day to kick off the season, Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said newcomer Teniya Page would be fun to watch this year. Little did she know just how much fun it would be.

As just a true freshman, Page is leading the Lady Lions like a seasoned veteran, leading the team in points per game (16.1) and field goal percentage (.427). But while she may be excelling on the court, it doesn't mean she is exceeding any expectations set out for her, whether it's from herself or Washington.

"I'm pretty hard on the point guards and have high expectations," Washington said. "But I will say she has shown calmness and poise and composure beyond her experience. She plays with a very high basketball IQ...she hasn't had many bad games and I think that's sometimes rare for a freshman in any position but in particular as a point guard so I've been really pleased with how she's playing." 

Page also has expectations from herself that she hasn't met yet, and she is looking to improve her game to try and meet them as the end of the season looms near. 

"I wouldn't say I'm exceeding [my expectations], more like meeting them and just playing how I know I can play," Page said. "So I wouldn't necessarily say that with a whole bunch [of games] to go that I just exceeded all of them but that I just met a lot of them and I'm happy about it, but at the same time, obviously have to keep working."

As Page works to improve her game, Washington has already seen her take huge strides since the beginning of the season. As a point guard, Page has to be a leader on the court, and she will be the first to admit that she isn't usually a very vocal person. But Washington believes she is getting more and more comfortable with that role as the season progresses.

"In every game, she seems to get a little bit more comfortable in the things that I'm asking her to do that aren't really second nature for her, but I like her progress and she's certainly is adapting to the college game very well," Washington said.

Sophomore Lindsey Spann has been splitting point guard duties with Page all year, and has seen firsthand the presence that she brings to the court. Page's ability to stay calm under pressure is especially important as a point guard.

"She's a great player to play with. She seems kind of quiet sometimes but she stays very calm and composed and that's something players need to see from their point guard," Spann said. "It's amazing, she does a lot of things that a lot of freshman in Division I basketball right now can't do. She pays attention, she likes to learn, she wants to do better and be better for herself not only, but for the team." 

Page has shown what she is capable of this season, reaching double-digits points in 15 of 19 games this season. Her high was 31 points against Michigan, making her the first freshman to hit 30 points in a game since Tyra Grant had 33 in 2007.

"I think one of the things that helps her is just her athleticism," Washington said. "She's a very athletic player, and she can be very explosive in getting to the rim. When she turns the speed on, she can get wherever she wants to go on the court. And then you add to her athleticism, she's highly skilled. She's got a fantastic handle, she shoots the ball well, plus her high basketball IQ, all those things come together to make her a really dynamic player."

Page will get a chance to go up against one of the best teams in the country, when No. 5 Maryland comes to Happy Valley on Wednesday. But just like any other game, she'll be calm, cool and collected.

Busy Week Ahead for the Nittany Lions

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off a split against Ohio State last weekend, the No. 15 Penn State (16-5-3, 6-2-0 Big Ten) will face off against No. 6 Michigan (14-3-4, 5-1-2 Big Ten) this Thursday in Pegula Ice Arena and again on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions are eager to bounce back after their Saturday loss to the Buckeyes and look forward to the challenge of playing such a highly ranked opponent.

For Thursday's game fans are encouraged to wear white, a continuing tradition for when Michigan comes to Hockey Valley.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky is thrilled to know the fans are just as enthusiastic about the matchup as his team is, and is eager to see what kind of atmosphere Pegula has on Thursday. Gadowsky expects nothing but enthusiasm from the ever-passionate fan base.

"We love the fans, we love the Roar Zone and really looking forward to seeing how white our white out is," said Gadowsky.

Although there is understandable hype about the game in New York City on Saturday, Gadowsky noted that Thursday's game is not to be overlooked, as every game provides opportunities for the team to continue a push towards a postseason berth.

Thursday night's game will be the last home game in Pegula Ice Arena until Penn State's matchup against Ohio State Feb. 19 and 20.

Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the second time Penn State has played a matchup in the Big Apple.

During the 2014-15 season Penn State faced Cornell in the Frozen Apple, a 3-1 loss for the Nittany Lions. Building off their previous experience in New York City, Gadowsky and company are looking forward to their familiar, and hopefully triumphant return to the Big Apple.

"I hope that last year will be a good experience for us," said Gadowsky. "I know Michigan has played there in the past as well so I don't think any team is looking to get an advantage, but the fact that we've been through it once we understand the building, we're used to the bright lights in New York I think is only going to help us."

With the schedule slightly different than normal, Gadowsky has implemented shorter practices this week in hopes of keeping the team fresh for a home game on Thursday and then travel on Friday.

Friday morning the team will have an open skate and practice before leaving for New York City. Saturday will follow a little bit of a different schedule than normal, as a morning skate is not possible due to the double header with Penn State basketball taking on Michigan that afternoon.

Although the morning skate will be missing, Gadowsky is confident his players don't need the little bit of extra preparation time.

"We're going to skate on Friday and then leave for New York after that," said Gadowsky. "Saturday obviously there's no morning skate, personally I think those are way overrated in my mind. They're somewhat good for the goaltenders to get out and look at the angles and look at the puck in the building, but for the team I think they're a little overrated."

Historically, the Nittany Lions are 6-3-0 against the Wolverines; including a thrilling 2-1 double overtime win during the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on March 20, 2014.

The matchup between Penn State and Michigan never disappoints, and this week's contests will likely follow the same pattern. Both teams have forwards in the top 10 scoring rankings of the conference, as well as have had several Big Ten Players of the Week.

Penn State takes on Michigan at 7 p.m. Thursday in Pegula Ice Arena and again at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. 


Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State at Ohio State (1/25/16)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015-16 Nittany Lion basketball season. Tonight, Penn State is in Value City Arena where the Lions are set to meet Ohio State.

Live Blog 2015-16 Men's Hoops Gameday - Penn State at Ohio State (1/25/16)
 

Nittany Lions Seeking Second-Straight Big Ten Road Win

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Having a great road attitude is something head coach Patrick Chambers repeatedly says to the Nittany Lion basketball team.

Heading on the road is relatively straightforward. Trips include a routine of travel, scouting, practice and meals. The core members of the team and staff are together from start to finish. And the distractions are limited if the group remains focused on the task at hand.

"As Coach always says, we need to bring everyone closer together," said senior Devin Foster. "When you are on the road, everyone is against you. You have to make the (circle) tighter because you know that you are going into battle."

Approaching a road environment with a great attitude is a big piece of the battle. Walking into a different environment with confidence pays big dividends in how a team plays when the lights come on.

On the heels of a road victory at Northwestern, the Nittany Lions (11-9, 2-5) will meet Ohio State (12-8, 4-3) in Columbus on Monday (7 p.m. on BTN) in the lone matchup between the two teams this season.

Foster has been a big spark for the Nittany Lions during the past two weeks. The senior guard has averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 27 minutes of action during the last four games. He's coming off a 10-point, three-rebound effort against Wisconsin.

"I'm just trying to be what Coach calls a hunter of the ball, grabbing offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, deflections, and I just try to stick the open shot when I can," Foster said.

Hailing from just west of Columbus in Dayton, Foster will have a big cheering section in Value City Arena on Monday night when the Lions battle the Buckeyes. He said that upwards of 40 friends and family will be in attendance to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

Ohio State enters the game having lost three of its last four games, including its last two outings at Maryland (100-65) and at Purdue (75-64). The Buckeyes are 3-0 in Big Ten home games this season. Junior Marc Loving leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 14.6 points per game. He is one of four players averaging double-figures.

Ohio State's size is a big factor in its success. The Buckeyes are No. 8 in the nation with 117 total blocks this season. Ohio State is No. 3 in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense at 39.4 percent.

"They are young, but they are really, really talented," said Chambers. "They have a lot of different options, and they have a lot of length. It's Thad Matta. He's a great coach, and it's going to be a challenging game.


Freshman JaQuan Lyle comes into the week ranked No. 2 in the nation in assists by a freshman (101). Lyle recorded Ohio State's fifth triple-double with a 16-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist effort against Rutgers on Jan. 13. Fellow freshman Daniel Giddens is No. 4 nationally in blocks by a freshman with 38.


Ohio State leads the all-time series against the Nittany Lions, 31-14. The two teams have split the last two meetings, which includes a Penn State win in Columbus on Jan. 29, 2014 when D.J. Newbill drained a game-winner in overtime.

After the rare Monday night game, the Nittany Lions will have a brief break before a trip to Madison Square Garden on Saturday during the first Big Ten hoops-hockey doubleheader in Manhattan. Penn State meets Michigan at noon in basketball and 7 p.m. in hockey.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

11636990.jpegBy Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions top line was every much that and more during their two-game series against Robert Morris University. The line accounted for four of Penn State's five goals in the series and elevated them to a win and a tie in their first home series since mid-November.

"They share a real similar high hockey IQ," head coach Josh Brandwene said. "They are fantastic at finding space on the ice, their timing works really well and they both not only have the verbal communication down but also the non-verbal as well."

In Penn State's overtime win on Friday, Hannah Bramm knotted the two regulation goals for the Nittany Lions. Amy Petersen assisted on both of Bramm's goals. Since becoming a part of the top line, Bramm's production has significantly increased on the offensive side of the puck and Brandwene says that she is a seamless fit on that line. 

"She works really hard, she wins battles in the corners, she does a great job taking care of the puck in between both blue lines and the offensive spacing and chemistry are fantastic," Brandwene said.

Petersen, who has played with Laura Bowman for the majority of her Penn State career, feels that Bramm is the perfect addition to their line.

"Well Hannah has really good hockey sense, so that really makes it an easy transition for us because we know that she will be in the right spot," Petersen said. "We just read off each other and kind of know where we will be, I don't think there was much of an adjustment for any of us."

With the first line, Penn State's offensive display was impressive over the weekend. Despite the low goal output for both teams, the Nittany Lions, led by their top line, had numerous chances in both games and played arguably their most complete series of the season.

Sophomore defender Bella Sutton won the first game in overtime for Penn State after a hectic final period that saw multiple chances on both ends. Ultimately it was the Nittany Lions who came out on top, 3-2.

In game two it was much of the same from the top line as Bramm tallied once again to open the scoring with her eighth of the season. Petersen scored the other Penn State goal to give them a brief lead in the third period. The game finished in a 2-2 tie, but once again Brandwene was impressed by the Nittany Lions' overall play and especially from the top line. 

"This weekend was almost 130 minutes of out and out war between two very competitive teams," Brandwene said. "The biggest thing is that they play in both zones. They take care of their defensive responsibilities and they play well offensively too."

Bramm seemed just as comfortable in the second game as she did the first and says that she feels very confident playing with Petersen and Bowman.

"It's been a lot of fun working with them and it's really been an easy transition," Bramm said. "I think the biggest thing that has helped is I've learned to have better spacing on that line and I think overall that is the biggest thing that helps us succeed."

Penn State will be right back in Pegula next weekend with a two-game series against RIT as the Nittany Lions and the top line will look to continue their strong in-conference play.

 

Nugent Steers Lions to First Weekend Sweep of Season

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11636506.jpegBy Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Replacing Aaron Russell was never a thought coming in to this season for the Penn State men's volleyball team. But after sweeping through their weekend series against Ball State and IPFW, the Nittany Lions (4-2) may be starting to find a rhythm.

Chris Nugent, the leading attacker on this Penn State team, displayed why he is the best all around player on the Nittany Lion squad and why he may be the best bet in filling some Aaron Russell-like roles on the floor. Nugent complied 28 kills in the two matches, hitting well over .500 for the weekend.

Nugent showed his versatility with cut shots, roll shots, back row quicks and all around power at times. The junior is a six-rotation player, who leads not only with his attacking prowess but also with his power behind the service line. The well-rounded play of Nugent was in full effect on Friday and Saturday. However, no matter his stats on the court over the weekend, Nugent stayed modest and was quick to deflect the praise to his teammates.

"I never really expect to get a kill, I always hope I can get one," said Nugent. "When Taylor [Hammond] puts it up there for me to take hard swings it makes it pretty easy because I know where that ball is going to be all the time."

Even his approach to hitting seems simple when Nugent explains it. On the court it may seem complex, moving around, taking swings from back row and front row, but Nugent sees it a different way.

"I just see the ball go up in the air from Taylor (Hammond) and try and hit it past the block," said Nugent. "I don't think too much about it."

The best attribute for Nugent this season is filling a role that Russell filled so effectively all of last year, stepping up when the game starts to get tough. He is a dynamic player at all times, but brings a sense of calm to his team when they need him the most.

"I try not to do anything differently, I just try and stay confident no matter what the situation is," said Nugent. "The big thing is I try not to let the game effect how I'm playing and just try and keep hitting high hard swings."

Nugent would be the first to tell you that he was not solely responsible for the stellar effort put forth this weekend by the Nittany Lions. In game one, it was his teammate Jalen Penrose who proved to be electric with 15 kills on 25 swings. Penrose is one of, if not the most dynamic force on the Penn State team and it showed with a great performance in game one.

"I just treat every game like a new game," said Penrose. "I wanted to finish all of Taylor's good passes with good swings and was able to for the most part."

In game two, the supporting role fell on a more unassuming character in Andrew Roberts. Roberts, known more for his role as a serving specialist on the team, stepped in during the second set for a struggling Penrose and had an immediate impact on the court.

"He really helped out a lot," said Nugent. "I was able to get single blocks to hit past and they had to pay a lot more attention to Andrew because he was hitting so well so he really helped the whole team."

Roberts has been on the team for four years now and is one of the veterans who head coach Mark Pavlik leans on for leadership. He also knows the system extremely well due to the amount of time he has been a Nittany Lion.

"He's an old man," said Pavlik. "He did a great job coming in and filling a role for us. He knows the system very well and he is a reliable player so we feel confident putting him in a lot of different scenarios."

Roberts compiled nine kills on the night and hit over .400. He was consistent and really provided a rhythm for the Nittany Lions who were lacking just that in the first set.

"I wasn't really sure how it was going to go," said Roberts. "After I got that first kill I started to get into a rhythm and then I just played my game and took swings like I know how to."

Coming off their first weekend sweep of the year, Penn State has now won seven sets in a row and nine of its last 10. The Nittany Lions will have a lighter schedule next weekend as they only play one game. They will be away at St. Francis on Saturday. 

Finishing Shots the Difference for McCutcheon

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By Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The goal of every wrestler is to finish. Finish their match strong. Finish practice strong. Finish their workouts strong.

For sophomore Matt McCutcheon, finishing his shots has been a work in progress since the first day he stepped on campus. And for all of the hard work he has put in during practice, it came to fruition last weekend to the joy of McCutcheon and his coaches, as well.


Finishing was the theme during last Friday's match for McCutcheon and head coach Cael Sanderson has noticed the work McCutcheon has put in to work on finishing his shots.

"[Matt]'s been working on finishing his shots since he got here," said Sanderson. "That's been an issue as a redshirt and even last year getting in on legs, he would have a nice shot but wouldn't finish."

While Sanderson believes that the sophomore made it harder for himself than he needed to against Nebraska's TJ Dudley, he was happy with the way McCutcheon fought back to stand victorious at the end of the night.

"He did a nice job finishing when he really had to. I think he could have finished better a couple times throughout that match when he didn't have to put himself in a position where he was down like that," said Sanderson.

McCutcheon, looking back on last weekend's matches, knew he had a big weekend coming up and is excited about the increase in talent he will be facing down the stretch.

"I knew I had some good matches going in so it was an exciting weekend for me and always looking forward to wrestling the better guys," said McCutcheon. 

Despite going 2-0 on the weekend, including a thrilling, last second upset win over Dudley on Friday night, McCutcheon is still not satisfied at where he is at.

"I gotta find some things I have to improve on and work from there in practice the rest of the week," said McCutcheon.

One of the biggest areas that the sophomore has been working on has been trying to finish his shots.

"One big thing is finishing shots. That was important in my match. I let him scoot the corner on me a couple of times so I had to get back to basics when finishing a shot," said McCutcheon.

Another area McCutcheon has really focused on is riding his opponent tougher. These are the areas, McCutcheon says, if he can shore up now, they won't turn into bigger problems later in the season, which could ultimately be the difference in a win or a loss. 

After missing a couple weeks with back spasms, McCutcheon can gain confidence from these past matches, but moving forward, he still isn't satisfied with how the matches played out.

"It's definitely a confidence builder but at the same time, there were a lot of things that I did wrong in the match and things I need to learn from," said McCutcheon.

The confidence that McCutcheon is gaining isn't going unnoticed, as Sanderson see's the progress the sophomore has been making and is happy where he is at this point in the season.

"Matt's wrestling really well this year. He's confident and he's aggressive. He's looking good and looking strong, so we are real happy where he is right now."

The 184 pounder's key to figuring out his mistakes is by treating every match like a loss and examining his efforts through that perspective. By taking the good with the bad in every match, McCutcheon is able to learn and move on to the next match. The Apollo, Pa. native also has a short memory, putting each match in the past and only moving forward with the the areas where he can improve in. This is a strategy that McCutcheon believes helps him to focus more on the small details.

The Nittany Lions, holding the No. 1 rank since the start, have been wrestling well all season but McCutcheon, just like his teammates, believes that there is always room for improvement, a mindset that keeps the team hungry.

"I think that one thing with our team is that we are always looking to improve and we are supposed to be at our best by the time Nationals come around, so we have a lot of time left to keep getting better on the little things," said McCutcheon.

With three potential top 10 matchups in the upcoming weeks, McCutcheon believes that the coaching staff does a great job of keeping the team motivated through the constant message of improvement and never being satisfied.

"I think our coaching staff is great at picking out the things that each person needs to improve on," said McCutcheon. "I think that we are solid right now, but there's always room for improvement."


 

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