Penn State Wrestling Looks Forward To Return To Bryce Jordan Center
As No. 2 Penn State wrestling gets set to take on No. 6 Ohio State this Saturday, head coach Cael Sanderson is taking a leaf out of Patrick Chambers’ book: This weekend, the Nittany Lions are going to be climbin’ at the Bryce Jordan Center.
In an arena that can house abound 16,000 fans compared to Rec Hall’s 6,500, this matchup is sure to have a bit of different atmosphere than a typical Penn State home meet. However, despite the added pressure brought on by the presence of thousands of additional spectators, Sanderson’s guys are simply looking forward to having fun.
“There’s a lot more people,” sophomore standout Roman Bravo-Young said. “But it’s just another match — we’ve been on the road and in tough environments this year, so it’s just another match.”
Coming off of his first loss of the season against Wisconsin’s No. 1 Seth Gross last weekend, Bravo-Young is focused on keeping a positive mindset and moving forward against Ohio State this weekend.
“I’m just excited,” he said, talking about the opportunity to wrestle at the Bryce Jordan Center. “My family’s coming up for it, so it’s gonna be fun to see them. It’s just gonna be entertaining.”
For some of Bravo-Young’s teammates, this will be their first opportunity to compete at the Bryce Jordan Center. One in particular is true freshman Aaron Brooks. However, if you know anything about him, he doesn’t seem too fazed by the hype.
“It’s gonna be fun,” Brooks said. “Great team, really good opponent, so I’m just really looking forward to it. I’ve never wrestled in the Bryce Jordan Center, but I hear it’s really fun.”
To help get himself in the mindset of being able to compete in front of so many fans, Brooks turned to the words of none other than Penn State wrestling legend Bo Nickal.
“Once you’re out there, you realize it’s just a wrestling match,” Brooks said. “You’ve just gotta embrace it. Bo Nickal told us, ‘A lot of guys get nervous when they enter an arena like that, like at Iowa, so when you get there, make sure you look around the crowd and take it in.'”
Although wrestling season tickets consistently sell out each year at Rec Hall, Sanderson says there isn’t a lot of discussion about making a more permanent move to the more-spacious Bryce Jordan Center.
“I think the Jordan Center, every year it becomes more and more like home,” Sanderson said, referencing the Nittany Lions’ appearances in the arena in previous years. “The first couple of years, it was like wrestling an away meet with Penn State fans.”
While it is exciting to be cheered on by thousands of more fans than Rec Hall is capable of housing, Sanderson recognizes that his team’s current home has a ton of history and tradition behind it.
“It means a lot to a lot of people to wrestle here [in Rec Hall],” he said. “So moving over there [to the Bryce Jordan Center] hasn’t been a huge discussion.”
Regardless of where the Nittany Lions choose to wrestle, they’re sure to bring with them good matches, athleticism, and fierce competition. They’re also sure to draw a sellout crowd — whether it be 6,500 or 16,000 fans.
Penn State will face off against Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 15 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Doors to the meet will open at 6:00 p.m.
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