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Penn State Wrestling Ready To Roll Heading Into Big Ten Championships

With yet another undefeated season under its belt, Penn State wrestling is taking its success to the Big Ten Championships to try to earn even more hardware.

The Nittany Lions posted an impressive 16-0 record throughout the 2022-2023 regular season. Key victories over teams like Michigan and Iowa gave Penn State plenty of momentum during a grueling season.

That being said, the Nittany Lions haven’t secured a Big Ten Championship win since 2019, when names like Jason Nolf, Mark Hall, Bo Nickal, and Anthony Cassar took home individual titles.

Despite this, head coach Cael Sanderson feels that the team is under no added pressure this weekend, expecting his wrestling to go out and perform like he knows they can.

“We don’t talk a lot about winning and losing,” Sanderson said. “Little kids want to win… That’s just something you are born with.”

“I think when you take a step back, we got a pretty dang good team,” Sanderson added. “You still have to go compete because there are a lot of other really good teams, so nothing going to be taken for granted.”

Sanderson shared this mentality with many of his wrestlers, all preaching that this weekend, while even facing some of the best wrestlers in the country, is just another day at the office.

“These guys are really good, and you always want to test yourself against the best competition,” said junior heavyweight Greg Kerkvliet. “I have nothing really left to prove, I mean, I know who I am… It’s just fun to go out there and compete.”

While older wrestlers like Kervliet are taking a “been there done that” mood into the weekend, others, along with Sanderson, are making sure to keep a positive mood during times others may find stressful.

“It’s just a standard that we all set to do our best every day,” Sanderson said. “You either practice your best every day, and as coaches, we do our best every day… Everyone has to be consistent.”

One wrestler in particular, junior Beau Bartlett, is especially looking forward to the weekend with his teammates.

“It’s really exciting, something to wrap up the season. I think every match counts but this is especially fun right here,” Bartlett said. “I just love wrestling, especially wrestling here at Penn State just because of the support and because I’ve just always thrived in environments with positive energy. This [Big Ten Championship] is just really exciting for me, I can’t wait.”

You can watch the Nittany Lions in action in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5. The action will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Brendan Wagner

Brendan is a Junior majoring in print and media journalism. Born in Pittsburgh, he now lives in Mooresville, North Carolina. As a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan, you can find him on Twitter, @brchwags, often complaining about the Pittsburgh Steelers and probably Russell Wilson.

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