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VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Jordan Conaway (1/13/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (8-0, 3-0 Big Ten) returns to Rec Hall for the first time Dec. 6 to host No. 11 Nebraska (9-1, 3-1 Big Ten).

GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior Jordan Conaway to talk about the start to his season and the team's progress as the Lions continue to build towards March. Conaway is 15-2 overall and 8-0 in duals.




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

VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Bo Nickal (1/5/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (6-0) returns to action on Friday with a trip to Purdue. The Lions then travel to Indiana on Sunday to cap off a two-dual weekend.

Penn State heads to Indiana following a dominant performance at the Southern Scuffle. Led by five individual titles, the Lions captured the Southern Scuffle team crown for the sixth-straight season. Redshirt freshman Bo Nickal (174 pounds) was one of Penn State's individual champions. Nickal moved to 17-0 with his efforts at the Southern Scuffle and is now ranked No. 1 in the nation.

GoPSUsports.com caught up with Nickal. Take a look here.




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

Middle of the Lineup Boosts Nittany Lions

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11560347.jpegBy Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sunday's dual against Wisconsin provided the fans at the Bryce Jordan Center some possible foreshadowing of what they can expect not just for the rest of this season, but for years to come.

The middle of the Nittany Lion lineup, which featured Kade Moss subbing in for an injured Jimmy Gulibon followed by Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf gave the fans excitement and multiple times brought the crowd of over 12,000 to their feet in applause.

Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson was pleased with the way his team performed against the 15th-ranked Badgers and thinks the middle of the lineup can set the tone for the team.

"I think overall, we wrestled pretty well. I think we want to score a few more points in a couple of those matches and be a little more aggressive, but overall, our guys wrestled pretty well and some of these guys wrestled really well," said Sanderson. "The guys that are very consistent, Zain, Nolf they are definitely setting an example."

Stepping in for the injured Gulibon was Moss, a sophomore, who was the starter last season at 141 and made his 2015-16 dual debut on the big stage at the BJC.

"Kade [Moss] did a nice job. He wrestled smart and got a takedown at the end of the period in a scramble position," said Sanderson. "Kade's a solid wrestler. He's a guy that we feel good putting him out there."

Moss, who went 17-17 last season, posted a 4-1 victory over the Badgers' Luke Rowh. Moss, who notched his fourth career Big Ten dual victory, kept the Penn State momentum flowing and did not allow Wisconsin to get back in the match.

Retherford entered Sunday on a two-pin win streak and it did not take long to extend that streak to three. The sophomore, who had four total pins in his freshman season, has already registered four pins this year and the biggest difference for that, Retherford thinks, is his mindset.

"I think my freshman year, I was more concerned about riding guys," said Retherford. "Now I want to turn guys, so I am focusing more now on turning than just riding and getting that extra point has been a big difference."

The Benton, Pa., native made the transition from 141 to 149 this season, but he doesn't feel like it's much of an adjustment at this point and is still cutting weight at a similar rate to when he was wrestling at 141.

Retherford was also awarded the Ridge Riley Award for most outstanding wrestler of the match, something that he is excited to win.

A redshirt freshman, Nolf followed Retherford's pin with a fall of his own, which essentially sealed the match and brought the raucous crowd to their feet. Nolf, who tallied his sixth pin of the season, relies on his early takedowns to tire his opponent out, which opens up the opportunity for a pin.

"I just want to score a lot of points, so if I wasn't turning him on top, then I felt that he still had a little energy, so I cut him to take the energy out of him that comes with my snaps and fakes," said Nolf. "I think he tried to hang to get a break sometimes, and then I just snap him off, which makes it a lot easier to get to his legs. I think that definitely helps him get tired."

The lineup that features Retherford and Nolf wrestling back-to-back is tough for opponents to handle and Sanderson believes the duo can shift matches with their styles.

"It gets a little hairy there when you get Zain [Retherford] and [Jason] Nolf back-to-back. We have a pretty good lineup right now," said Sanderson. "We hope it will be a momentum changer in the future. Those are two guys that are really going to represent what we want Penn State wrestling to be."

The two aren't just competitive on the mat against opponents, but also in practice against each other. The two, who according to Nolf were only supposed to wrestle against each other for five minutes at practice a couple of weeks ago, ending up battling for almost 20 minutes before a winner could be determined. This competitive nature between the two helps to get each other wrestling at their best and get ready for match day.

"Nolf is competitive. It's a competitive environment and we both want to do our best," said Retherford. "Every match, we are looking to pin guys, so it's a lot of fun."

"The pace of practice with all of the guys that we have, especially when I wrestle Zain [Retherford] in practice, it gets interesting because we both just want to win so bad," said Nolf. "I like the pace." 

VIDEO: Wrestling Highlights and Interviews vs. Wisconsin (12/13/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (5-0, 1-0) toppled Wisconsin, 36-7, inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday afternoon.

Take a look at pins from Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf, along with post-match interviews following the victory in the Big Ten opener.




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

Nittany Lions Primed for BJC Dual

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11553695.jpegBy Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Brighter lights and bigger crowds will welcome the Penn State wrestlers as just for the third time ever, the Nittany Lions will head across campus as they host the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers in the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday.

While a venue like this is not out of the ordinary, it is certainly a different feeling than wrestling at Rec Hall. After the first BJC match against Pittsburgh back in 2013, head coach Cael Sanderson had to work out some of the kinks and now, by year three, thinks all the necessary adjustments have been made in order to have the event run smoother than ever.

"After the first year, there were some issues seeing the clocks and the riding time," said Sanderson. "There were certain parts of the arena that they couldn't see some of the necessities there. I think last year, we made adjustments."

Sanderson is excited about the atmosphere in the building, citing how a majority of the matches against the Panthers came down to the end, which really energized the crowd.

Coming into this weekend where Sanderson will have a few freshmen in the starting lineup, the seventh year coach hasn't changed anything in practice this week and says how the team is used to atmospheres like the one they are going to face on Sunday.

"We haven't talked too much about it. It's much different for us," said Sanderson. "It is our home turf, but for some of these guys, it's their first time wrestling over there, but some of our freshmen have only wrestled [at Rec Hall] once here too so they don't know any different."

For veterans like red-shirt senior Nico Megaludis, Sunday's match is a great precursor for the bigger tournaments later in the season, as the environment and atmosphere is similar to the one that will be at the Jordan Center Sunday.

"BJC is awesome. You have 15,000 people and it's kind of like the National tournament setting, so you get out there on the big stage and I always think that's pretty cool," said Megaludis. "We always have good teams there, so it's always a big match and pretty cool to wrestle in front of people who get to come who don't have the chance to go to Rec Hall."

Megaludis also likes the event because it allows fans who don't have the ability to come to Rec Hall due to the limited seating capacity a chance to watch the team wrestle in person. Megaludis, who will have some family and friends in attendance Sunday, is not concerned that the stage will be too big for some of the freshmen that are experiencing this environment for the first time.

"You see our freshmen. They are all mature and they expect to win," said Megaludis. "I don't think anything phases them. They are pretty mature freshman."

For freshman Bo Nickal, this Sunday's match wont be the first time he has experienced a wrestling match in the BJC. Last year, Nickal had a front row seat during his redshirt season and praises the atmosphere as one of the coolest he's ever seen.

"It was awesome. It was the coolest thing ever," said Nickal. "The lights were going and it was one of the coolest atmospheres I have ever seen for a wrestling match or any sporting event."

Going into this weekend, Nickal is taking this match like he would any other one and going about his normal routine. The Allen, Texas native cites how hosting matches at venues like these is a testimate to the fans and the passion they bring to each match.

"It's definitely awesome to have such a knowledgeable fan base. It's cool to see the different generations of people that are Penn State wresting fans," said Nickal. "Definitely the support and the understanding that comes from them is huge for us with home matches and it's something that I love to compete in front of a crowd and it's awesome to hear them cheer."

Back in high school, Nickal talked about how wrestling was that as popular and would get minimal crowds for a home match. He estimated the biggest crowd he ever wrestled in front of was about 2,000 people at the state tournament. One of the biggest attractions in coming to Penn State was the overall fan base and how excited they were about the program.

Looking towards the match against Wisconsin, a different venue can unsettle some wrestlers who like to stay in a strict routine. For Nickal, being at the match last year and seeing some of the subtle differences compared to a match at Rec Hall allows him to know what to expect and not be surprised by any of the extra fanfare.

"I feel like it's definitely good to have some knowledge prior to the actual event happening of how things are going to work, so that definitely plays to my advantage," said Nickal. "I noticed last year when there would be a big takedown or a big turn, the lights were flashing and I thought that was really cool, but it's good to be aware of that prior to the actual event and I think that's going to help a lot."

Fans may purchase singles to Penn State's two BJC Duals (Wisconsin on 12/13 and Ohio State on 2/5) online at www.GoPSUsports.com/accountmanager or by calling 1-800-NITTANY. BJC Dual public tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for youth (12-and-under). Group tickets for the BJC Duals are now available as well, allowing fans to purchase 20 or more tickets at only $8 per ticket.

VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Zain Retherford (12/8/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (4-0) returns to action on Sunday inside the Bryce Jordan Center for the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions will wrestle on the stage in the BJC twice this season. GoPSUsports.com talked with sophomore Zain Retherford about the season thus far the opportunity to wrestle in front a big crowd.

BJC Dual public tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for youth (12-and-under). Group tickets for the BJC Duals are now available as well, allowing fans to purchase 20 or more tickets at only $8 per ticket. Group tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY.





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

NLO Provides Chance to Wrestle Unfamiliar Opponents

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11546330.jpegBy Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For wrestlers that aren't in the starting lineup, practice can become a grind when competing against the same teammates day in and day out without a match day to look forward to.

For a trio of Penn State veterans, the Nittany Lion Open provided an opportunity to wrestle against someone that's not in a Penn State singlet.

Zack Beitz, Kade Moss and Cody Law were all starters at one point last season. This season has been an adjustment for the three wrestlers, as Sunday was their first chance this season to wrestle against another opponent.


"It feels bizarre," said Law. "My teammates are very good so wrestling guys who aren't them is nice."

"It's fun. It's a lot of fun coming out and actually wrestling different competition instead of just wrestling the guys in the wrestling room, so it's nice to wrestle someone else," said Beitz.

Making the adjustment from the starting role to a reserve can be tough, but Moss did not change his mindset and prepares like he is a starter at all times.

"As far as training and everything goes, it's all the same. It's about being prepared all the time so we don't have to get prepared when the time comes, so I'm always ready to go and step in and help the team," said Moss. "In the room, I'm doing the best I can to go hard everyday and push myself and push my teammates and win a national title as a team."

Moss went 17-17 in his first season last year as he wrestled at 141. Although the goal of every wrestler is to win, Moss was hoping to walk out of the Nittany Lion Open knowing he wrestled to the best of his ability.

"I'm always working on things and seeing what works best for me, but obviously success for me today is just knowing that I gave it everything I had," said Moss. "So regardless of where I end up, I can walk off knowing I wrestled as hard as I could."

Moss finished the tournament with a 6-1 record on the day, including registering four pins and a technical fall. The sophomore finished fifth overall at 141.

For Law, his goal of the day was to win the 165-weight class. The sophomore finished fifth after tallying two tech falls and a major decision. While winning was the ultimate, Law was just trying to wrestle the best he could for the full seven minutes and was happy how he started the day, registering 45 points through his first two matches.

Echoing both Moss and Law, Beitz, who qualified for Nationals last season, prepares each day like a starter and approaches each match the same way. That mindset hasn't changed since he stepped on campus and similar to the other two wrestlers, the junior was using Sunday's tournament to wrestle the best he could and let the results take care of themselves.

"I want to take one match at a time and I just want to wrestle the best match that I can so just making sure I go out there and wrestling my best match," said Beitz.

Overall, 302 wrestlers participated in this year's Nittany Lion Open as Penn State had 26 wrestlers competing, some of whom wrestled unattached. In the end, Nittany Lion wrestlers captured seven of the 10 championships.

Most importantly, the Open provided an opportunity to experience a tournament setting early on in the season, which helps prepare the team for the bigger tournaments later on in the season.

"It's good to get these matches in and go through a long tournament," said Moss. "It's a marathon and it's good to feel that before a big tournament's like the Southern Scuffle, Big Ten's and Nationals."

VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Cael Sanderson (12/1/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (4-0) returns to action on Sunday at the Nittany Lion Open following a pair of victories on the West Coast. GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach Cael Sanderson to look back at the victories in California, in addition to what's ahead for the team, including the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin in the Bryce Jordan Center on Dec. 13.





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

Happy Thanksgiving from Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.

As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unwavering support you give every team on campus.  Penn State's teams would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.

As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them throughout the athletic season.

McIntosh Excited to Return to California

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11502942.jpegBy Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Returning back to his or her home state to compete is always an exciting moment for any athlete. For the first time since high school, redshirt senior Morgan McIntosh is heading back to California for a competition as the No.1-ranked Nittany Lions take on CSU Bakersfield and Stanford this weekend.

McIntosh hails from Santa Ana and is looking forward to this trip to the West Coast. This trip has been in the works for years as when recruiting McIntosh to come to Penn State, head coach Cael Sanderson told the senior that they would hope to visit California and wrestle at some point in his career.

"It's awesome and I'm really grateful that the coaches were able to put it together," said McIntosh. "I'm happy that he was finally able to put it together and work together with the Bakersfield and Stanford coaches to put this together."

These two matches also give McIntosh's family and friends a rare chance to watch him wrestle, some of whom haven't seen him wrestle in years. While the trip is a nice homecoming for the Santa Ana native, it is also a chance to show everyone back home what he's learned during his years as a Nittany Lion.

"I've had a great experience here and I would never take anything back. I love it here, but I also love California too so it's nice to be able to take what I've learned here and bring it to California," said McIntosh.

This also is a great opportunity for other members of the team to go out west, as many of the wrestlers have never been to California. McIntosh cited how everyone is excited to get out there and see what California is like.

"I know everyone is excited to get out to California," said McIntosh. "I know a lot of the guys have never been to California, so that will be a little bit of a different experience for them."

One concern about the trip is the long distance travel. Traveling across the country can pose challenges for wrestlers trying to keep with their routine, but McIntosh explains how this trip is no different than any other one.

"They have all been wrestling for a long time and they know what it's like to travel long distance and have to wrestle the next day, so they are prepared for it; but also everyone on the team is excited to see what California has got," said McIntosh.

Aside from seeing his friends and family, the senior is also excited to reunite with a lot of his friends that wrestle at Bakersfield. The No. 1-ranked 197-pounder has a lot of close friends that he's known his entire wrestling career and can't wait to catch up with them.

"The Hammond's are a close family friend that I've known for a long time, so that will be cool to see them and wrestle against my friends team," said McIntosh. "They are really pumped for this match too."

The Nittany Lions will take on CSU Bakersfield Friday night and compete against Stanford on Sunday before returning back to State College.  

@GOPSUSPORTS

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