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Penn State Wrestling Eager To Continue Hot Start Amid Lineup Changes

Penn State wrestling plans to continue to run on all cylinders after winning the majority of its matches at last week’s Journeyman Collegiate Classic.

Despite wrestlers getting their first taste of competition since the early half of the year, 11 Nittany Lions finished the weekend undefeated, including Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Shayne Van Ness.

Now, with one dominant performance behind it, the team is focusing on the Army Black Knight Invite this Sunday. With familiar faces wrestling for the second weekend in a row and Minnesota transfer Aaron Nagao making his Penn State debut, the Nittany Lions are preparing for the heightened competition.

“[There’s] a lot of big matchups and a lot of great opportunities coming off the summer. Seeing where our guys are against some of the best guys in the country is exciting,” head coach Cael Sanderson said. “We’re focused on our guys and making sure they’re prepared, but it’s great matchups up and down the lineup.”

While Sanderson aims to once again lead his team to victory, senior Carter Starocci is confident that he’ll have another lights-out showing no matter who he faces.

“I like wrestling guys more than once just to keep letting them know I’m going to keep getting better and keep beating you guys…just keep sending messages,” Starocci said. “I look at it as another way to get better. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”

However, there’s one Penn State wrestler that won’t don the blue and white this weekend, or for the rest of the season, as 165-pound wrestler Alex Facundo will activate his Olympic redshirt.

“In official terms, it’s called the athletic activity waiver,” Sanderson said. “An Olympic redshirt is what he’s looking to do. He had a great summer and was just floating around here in case we needed him, but that [redshirt] is the plan right now.”

Since the arrival of Cal-Baptist transfer Mitchell Mesenbrink, Facundo’s place in the Nittany Lions’ lineup has been in question, however, Facundo’s redshirt will open the door for Mesenbrink to cement his name in the 165-pound slot in the lineup.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action when they travel to West Point, New York, to participate in the Army Black Night Invite on Sunday. The round-robin action will start at 9 a.m. and can be streamed on FloWrestling.

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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 Matt Canada

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