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Penn State Wrestling Uses Holiday Break To Recharge As Season Surges On

Penn State wrestling is off to a dominant 3-0 start in its season with its most recent victory coming after polishing off Army West Point 32-7.

Following the victory over the Black Knights, the Nittany Lions had the chance to rest up over the fall break. However, some wrestlers wound up seeking a relaxing staycation in Happy Valley. Senior and 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young didn’t make it to his hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

“I didn’t get to go back home, but I’m excited to get home for Christmas time. It’s good to get a little reset sometimes with college, school, and practice every day,” Bravo-Young said on Monday. “It gets old, and it’s the same routine, so it’s good to get a little reset.”

When maintaining a locker room with a sense of prestige as large as Penn State’s, relationships are important. Head coach Cael Sanderson believes spending time with family is an important aspect of life.

“There are things more important than wrestling, and we love wrestling. But family is one of those things which spending time with them when you can is an important thing,” Sanderson said.

For the wrestling team that is always on a busy schedule, the break is one of the only extended periods that the team gets during the season. Sanderson believes fall breaks can give his team a typical, daily feel to their lives while also resetting their minds and bodies before competition picks back up.

Maintaining the standard can be tough during the holidays, though. Sanderson says he trusts his wrestlers to manage their weight and stay in shape.

“We have confidence in our guys, and we have a lot of trust in our wrestlers and that they’re going to take care of themselves over the break, but we value them having time with their families,” Sanderson said.

While managing weight over break, Bravo-Young’s ideal Thanksgiving meal doesn’t seem to include turkey.

“I’m a big ham guy,” Bravo-Young said. “My grandma gets some Golden Corral buns, and then we get some pistachio pudding. You can’t go wrong with that.”

Now that the break is over, Penn State will face a stretch of four dual matches in December, beginning with a trip to Philadelphia at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 3 to face Penn.

The Nittany Lions have been on fire this season, and their overall record for individuals is 75-28. Additionally, 19 of the team’s victories this season have come in the fashion of major decisions.

Bravo-Young is off to a hot start thanks to a 3-0 record complete with a pin and a tech fall. He’s already the top-ranked 133-pound wrestler in the country, too. But thanks to extra rest and the pressure to live it up in his final season, Bravo-Young says he’s hoping to keep his bouts entertaining, too.

“It’s funny. I don’t even practice it,” Bravo-Young said while referencing a leapfrog-style takedown. “It just happens during a match. You don’t practice that stuff. I don’t think Cael and Cody [Sanderson] want me jumping around and getting hurt in practice. It’s just kind of an in-the-moment thing, and if it happens and it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, I get hurt. That’s kind of my mindset.”

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected]

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