Monday, February 8, 2016

Penn State wrestlers focused on repeating

In year two, probably at least a year earlier than many expected, Cael Sanderson coached the Penn State wrestling team to a national championship. But as the coach said in his season-opening press conference on Monday: "Last year is last year."

Penn State wrestlers focused on repeating

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In year two, probably at least a year earlier than many expected, Cael Sanderson coached the Penn State wrestling team to a national championship.

But as the coach said in his season-opening press conference on Monday: “Last year is last year.” 

The Nittany Lions, who open their season Thursday with an intrasquad dual, enter the season as the favorite to win another national title. Though they return four wrestlers who placed in the top three in their respective classes at nationals last March in Philadelphia, Sanderson said the team doesn’t feel pressure.

“We have a great chance this year to have a very successful season,” said Sanderson, a college wrestling legend in his third year coaching Penn State. “As long as our guys continue to attack with the same attitude and passion that they have in the past, we’re gonna have a lot of fun.”

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Quentin Wright, who capped off his 21-6 season with a national championship in the 184-pound weight class last year, said the Penn State wrestlers have targets on their backs. They will compete in a tough Big Ten conference once again. Iowa enters the season No. 2 and Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio State are all ranked in the top 10.

“Everybody wants to beat the Penn State wrestlers,” said Wright, one of three Lions with a No. 1 preseason ranking his respective weight class. David Taylor and Frank Molinaro are the others. “They’re going to be shooting for us but we’re going to be shooting back.”

--Jake Kaplan

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About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 30 years, covering covering Penn State football, Villanova basketball and other college sports, along with golf and the Penn Relays. This is his seventh season on The Inquirer’s Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976-84.

Joining Joe this season is Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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