PREVIEW: No. 1 Penn State Hosts No. 8 Iowa on Sunday in Sold Out Rec Hall
Nittany Lions take on Hawkeyes at 2 p.m.
<div id="Content" readability="580.192737072">Jan. 26, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
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The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (13-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will carry a No. 1 national ranking into its home dual against No. 8 Iowa (9-0-1, 2-0 Big Ten*) on Sunday, Jan. 30. Penn State is 13-0 on the year and off to the best start in school history. The 2 p.m. dual in Rec Hall has been sold out for weeks and the event has been declared a Penn State White Out. *Iowa wrestles at No. 18 Northwestern on Friday night, Jan. 28. The three-time defending national champions will ride a 71-dual unbeaten streak into the weekend's action. The match will air on the Big Ten Network in a same day tape delay at 9:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
With over 6,500 tickets already distributed, the Nittany Lions will entertain the Hawkeyes in front of the largest Rec Hall crowd since the renovation/reseating of 2005. Penn State is coming off a 2-0 weekend that saw them down No. 22 Pittsburgh in front of over 5,500 fans on Friday and then post a convincing 36-8 road win at Indiana on Sunday. The Nittany Lions won 16 of 20 bouts in the two duals, led by junior heavyweight Cameron Wade. Wade downed two ranked grapplers and was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his efforts.
Penn State is being led by a young and talented team that includes eight ranked grapplers and seven underclassmen. Senior Brad Pataky is the lone senior in Penn State's starting line-up. Pataky is ranked No. 11 at 125 and sports a 7-2 record. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro is one of two juniors in the Nittany Lion line-up. Molinaro is ranked No. 5 at 149 and is 19-2 on the year. Classmate Wade is 21-3 at heavyweight and also ranked No. 5. Sophomore All-Americans Andrew Long and Quentin Wright are the most experienced of Penn State's seven underclassmen. Long is ranked No. 5 at 133 and is 6-0 on the year while Wright is No. 6 at 184 and is 10-2. Five freshmen comprise half of the Nittany Lion line-up. Red-shirt freshman Ed Ruth is ranked No. 2 at 174 and is 23-1 on the year. Classmate David Taylor is undefeated at 25-0 and is ranked No. 3 at 157. True freshman Andrew Alton is 24-2 at 141 and ranked No. 5 at 141. Red-shirt freshman Jake Kemerer is 13-7 on the year at 165 while true freshman Nick Ruggear is 14-7 at 197.
Iowa will be riding a l71 dual unbeaten streak into its action at Northwestern on Friday night. The Hawkeyes lone blemish was a hard-fought 15-15 tie with Oklahoma State earlier this month. The Hawkeyes also have a strong line-up, led by defending national 125-pound champion Matt McDonough at 125. McDonough enters the weekend ranked No. 2. The Hawkeyes could send No. 10 Tony Ramos to the mat at 133 or go with talented junior transfer Tyler Clark. Sophomore Mark Ballweg is ranked No. 15 at 141 while freshman Derek St. John sports a No. 14 ranking at 157. Aaron Jenssen is also ranked No. 14 at 165 while freshman Ethan Lofthouse sits at No. 13 at 174. Sophomore Grant Gambrall is listed at No. 16 at 184 while senior Luke Lofthouse is ranked No. 14 at 197. In all, the dual could feature, potentially, six bouts pitting ranked wrestlers against each other.
Penn State hits the road next weekend for two Big Ten duals in Michigan. The Nittany Lions visit Michigan State on Friday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. Penn State then treks to Ann Arbor to face No. 13 Michigan on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. With the team averaging well over 5,000 per dual, tickets for Penn State's final two home duals against Illinois (Feb. 11, 7 p.m.) and Wisconsin (Feb. 18, 7 p.m.) are going fast. Fans wishing to purchase single dual meet tickets for the 2010-11 Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling season can place their orders by calling 814-865-5555 or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket pricing is $8 for adults and $5 for youth, and there will be a limit of eight tickets per order. Group sales are also available. The 2010-11 Penn State wrestling season is presented by the Family Clothesline. Updates from the Nittany Lion Open will air on WRSC AM
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