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Newest Additions To Penn State Wrestling Wowed By Rec Hall Atmosphere Following First Home Dual

The first dual matchup for the Penn State wrestling team brought the energy back to Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon. The Nittany Lions defeated the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 30-10 to open up Penn State’s home slate for the 2023-2024 campaign.

Five Nittany Lions made their Rec Hall debut in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,623 folks, which marked the 67th straight sellout of Rec Hall for a dual.

“I feel that being a combat athlete, you want to make sure that the arena or the place that you’re wrestling isn’t really affecting your wrestling, even if it is for you,” Mitchell Mesenbrink said. “After the match, I was kind of overwhelmed… I started smiling because it was like, I’ve never been here. I’ve always wanted to wrestle for Penn State.”

No. 16 Mesenbrink dominated his matchup against Lehigh’s No. 32 Jake Logan, winning by tech fall with a score of 17-2. The 165-pounder solidified himself as the starter for the Nittany Lions as his biggest competition, teammate Alex Facundo, opted for an Olympic redshirt this season.

“It was cool to see the atmosphere and be in it,” Mesenbrink continued. “I’m just really grateful to be here, and it’s just going to be really fun.”

Bernie Truax, currently ranked No. 2, defeated Lehigh’s Jack Wilt by tech fall with a score of 19-4. The seasoned wrestler out of Cal Poly has been impressive in the beginning stages of the season for the Nittany Lions.

“The energy in there is so different compared to the other places I have wrestled at,” Truax said. “It was a lot of fun to go out there and compete. It’s unreal. It’s amazing.”

Truax was a part of the All-Star Classic on November 21 when he represented himself rather than the Penn State team against Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa.

“I feel like with the All-Star Classic, it’s not so much the teams altogether,” Truax said. “So when we had the whole team together, going into the locker room and having the talk, having the teammates right there along you right before you wrestle and having your teammates wrestle before you, there’s just a different type of energy that comes with it, and it’s exciting.”

The top-ranked Nittany Lions will host Hofstra at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 10, in Rec Hall in their next bout.

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About the Author

Cooper Cazares

Cooper is a sophomore majoring in digital and print journalism from Virginia Beach, Va. He can be found with a long face on most Sunday afternoons for he is unfortunately a lifelong Washington Commanders fan. When he isn't watching sports, Cooper is usually tearing up at "Rudy" or taking a well deserved nap. To reach him, follow him on instagram (@cooper_cax) or on twitter (@CooperCazares). You can also email him at [email protected].

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