On & Off-The-Mat Takeaways From Penn State Wrestling’s BJC Dual
Penn State wrestling finally made it back to the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend for the first time in nearly two years.
Attendees of the Friday night dual couldn’t have asked for much more, as the Nittany Lions had a dominating performance in the 32-7 victory over No. 8 Ohio State.
Apart from all the exciting wins that Cael Sanderson’s squad was able to accomplish on the mat, the scene and atmosphere at the BJC set the tone for success. Here are some of our staff’s top takeaways from the weekend spectacle.
White Singlets Signal Special Occasion
The classic look for this storied wrestling program is a simple blue singlet with its writing and striping in white. However, expanding your home arena’s capacity from a max of 6,502 to nearly 16,000 people calls for something unique.
These singlets are so different but so similar at the same time. These have the same pattern and format as the classic blue-based singlets, but these were the perfect compliment to the BJC’s “White Out.”
‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ Entrance
Most of the entrances we saw Friday consisted of fast jogs up to the mat with great “pump up” music. The case was different with Penn State’s 197-pound wrestler, Max Dean.
Dean marched out to the tune of the Beatles’ 1969 classic, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”. It was spine-tingling, and the audience loved it.
A slow-paced walk with Dean’s hand-picked song set the tone perfectly for his victory over Ohio State’s Gavin Hoffman.
One of the “hottest” parts of the evening was the fire that blasted to the arena’s second deck when Penn State earned a win or the public address announcer introduced a wrestler.
The heat literally warmed the entire arena at every opportunity. A little bit of sweat dripped from everyone’s forehead, primarily because of the heat, but maybe due to a bit of an adrenaline rush.
If you had hoped to see a pin (or two) in this dual, you were certainly in luck.
Roman Bravo-Young continued his dominant season but gave the home crowd something extra when he pinned Ohio State’s Dylan Koontz in the 133-pound bout.
Penn State had another No. 1 ranked wrestler come in with the night’s second pin when Aaron Brooks took down Rocky Jordan early in the second period. This pin put more points on the board, but fans at the Bryce Jordan Center were even more pumped up from the big momentum swing.
Penn State Honors History
Midway through the dual, the Nittany Lions’ 2012 team took the mat to reunite a decade after winning the program’s fourth national title (at the time!).
Among the recognized stars were 2012 national champions Frank Molinaro (149 pounds), David Taylor (165 pounds), and Ed Ruth (174 pounds).
The 15,991 people in attendance at the Bryce Jordan Center, almost all of whom were completely decked out in white, provided an aesthetic that’s tough to replicate at any other NCAA wrestling match.
Nittany Lion fans are no stranger to showing up, wearing white, and cheering on their favorite teams. However, this dual was a testament to one of the most successful Penn State programs, and perhaps one of the most successful programs in college athletics.
Penn State has arguably had tougher opponents than Friday night’s No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes. Still, at this venue, the student section sat mat-side with shakers, devoured chicken baskets, and screamed in unison for takedowns to be awarded. It was a true paradise for Penn State and wrestling fans alike.
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