PREVIEW NOTES: Nittany Lion Wrestling Gearing Up for 2013-14 Campaign
Oct. 29, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will prepare for the start of the 2013-14 season with an exhibition classic and two open tournaments. Head coach Cael Sanderson will send two wrestlers to the 2013 NWCA All-Star Classic on the campus of George Mason University. The event in Fairfax, Va., is set for Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in GMU's Patriot Center.
Two of Penn State's four returning NCAA finalists will take part in the exhibition event. Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165; and junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174; will both wrestle at the event. The first Nittany Lion to compete at the event will be No. 1 Taylor. A three-time All-American, three-time finalist and `12 NCAA champion, the 2012 Hodge Trophy winner will take on Iowa State's Michael Moreno, who is ranked No. 4. Taylor is 100-3 through three seasons at Penn State. Moreno, who was a sixth-place All-American last year, was 31-10 as a sophomore a season ago.
Brown, an NCAA finalist and All-American in his first year as a starter in `12-13, went 29-5 last year and is 56-7 through two seasons at Penn State. Brown's second place finish a year ago at 174 has him ranked No. 3 heading into this year behind No. 2 Chris Perry of Oklahoma State (who defeated Brown 2-1 in a tie-breaker in the NCAA finals) and No. 1 Andrew Howe of Oklahoma. Brown will meet Howe in this year's NWCA event at 174. Howe red-shirted a year ago after transferring to OU from Wisconsin. He is a three-time Big Ten Champion and three-time All-American, placing second as a freshman, winning as a sophomore and taking third as a junior.
The Nittany Lions will send some wrestlers to the Clarion Knight Point Open on Sunday, Nov. 3, starting at 9 a.m. A number of Lions will travel unattached to the event. Next weekend, a strong contingent of Penn Staters will head to the Binghamton Bearcat Open on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. Most of the group will wrestle unattached as Sanderson's squad prepares for the season opener the following weekend.
In addition to prepping for the season's opening bell, wrestling fans from all over the region now have the chance to purchase hard-to-find tickets to see Penn State wrestle. With the full season of Rec Hall wrestling once again sold out in advance of the year's start, the general public has two great opportunities to see the Nittany Lions in action this season. A limited number of standing room only (SRO) tickets for seven Rec Hall duals as well as single dual tickets for Penn State's match-up with Pittsburgh in the Bryce Jordan Center will be made available to the public beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
Tickets to the Dec. 8 event against Pitt in the BJC will be $10 for adults and $5 for youth with a group rate of $4 per ticket for groups of 15 or more. SRO tickets for Penn State's seven duals in Rec Hall are also $10 for adults and $5 for youth (there are no group packages for the SRO sale). Penn State's seven Rec Hall dates include Lock Haven (Nov. 24), Ohio State (Dec. 21), Purdue (Jan. 12), Northwestern (Jan. 19), Illinois (Jan. 24), Oklahoma State (Feb. 16) and Clarion (Feb. 23).
Fans can purchase tickets beginning on Oct. 29 by visiting the Athletic Department Ticket Office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Tickets to the Bryce Jordan Center dual may also be purchased online through Ticketmaster at www.GoPSUsports.com. Fans will be notified which Rec Hall duals have SRO availability at that time.
Penn State opens up the 2013-14 season at Rider on Sat., Nov. 16, and at Lehigh on Sun., Nov. 17. The dual at Rider will be televised live on The Comcast Sports Network. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
THIS WEEK (and next!)
ON THE AIR
PENN STATE'S RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS, QUALIFIERS & RANKED WRESTLERS
149 #8 Andrew Alton Jr. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 2X NQ, 0-0
157 #6 Dylan Alton Jr. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 2X NQ, `12 AA, 0-0
165 #1 David Taylor Sr. St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham 3X AA, ` 12 NC 0-0
174 #3 Matt Brown Jr. West Valley City, Utah/Cyprus `13 AA, 0-0
184 #1 Ed Ruth Sr. Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township 3X AA, 2X NC, 0-0
197 #4 Morgan McIntosh So. Santa Ana, Calif./Calvary Chapel `12 NQ, 0-0
285 #10 Jimmy Lawson Jr. Tom's River, N.J./Manchester Township `13 NQ, 0-0
Individual rankings are Intermat as of 10/13 -- Pre-season
Cael Sanderson is in his fifth season as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team. The veteran head coach now has three straight NCAA and three straight Big Ten titles in hand. He has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three straight times and was named the 2013 National Coach of the Year after guiding Penn State to yet another NCAA title in Des Moines.
THE PENN STATE YEARS...
In 2010-11, Sanderson guided the Nittany Lions to its first-ever Southern Scuffle Co-Championship and its first Virginia Duals Championship since 1991. In guiding Penn State to a 6-1-1 conference mark, Sanderson equaled the most Big Ten dual meet wins in Penn State history in just his second year at the helm of the Nittany Lions (Penn State won six Big Ten duals in 1998). Sanderson led Penn State to the school's first ever Big Ten Championship on March 5-6 and was named 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Saving the best for last, he led the Nittany Lions to the 2011 NCAA National Championship in Philadelphia on March 17-19, Penn State's first since 1953 and Sanderson's first as a collegiate head coach.
In 2011-12, Sanderson led Penn State to a school record 7-1 Big Ten dual record and a share of the 2012 Big Ten dual meet championship. Sanderson then made it two in a row by leading Penn State to the 2012 Big Ten Championship at Purdue on March 3-4 and was named 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, earning the honor for the second straight season. Two weeks later, Sanderson led Penn State to a second straight NCAA crown, helping Penn State to become just the fourth team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles.
Last year, Penn State went 13-1 overall in dual meets this year and won its third straight Southern Scuffle title in early January. The Nittany Lions followed that up with a third straight Big Ten Championship on March 9-10 at Illinois and a third straight NCAA National Title in Des Moines on March 21-23. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third straight season (sharing this year's honor as a co-CotY) and 2013 National Coach of the Year (the second time he has earned that honor).
In this, his fifth season as Penn State's coach, Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to three-straight conference titles, three straight national titles, collected 19 All-Americans, five national champions, three Gorriaran winners, one NCAA tourney OW and one Hodge Trophy winner. He and his coaching staff have a perfect 13-0 record in Big Ten championship finals. Coach Sanderson now sports a 100-19-2 dual meet mark in this, his seventh year as a head coach. He is 56-9-2 and in his fifth year at Penn State.