As it turns out, the Penn State wrestling team will not be wrestling in a tournament over the holidays.
Saturday’s icy weather conditions left the Nittany Lions grounded, stuck without a flight from Baltimore to Reno, Nev., for the Tournament of Champions.
The program announced on its Twitter and Instagram accounts that the team would not be making the trip west after getting stuck at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
“Waiting at BWI baggage claim ... heading back to SC ... sorry Reno TOC and our West Coast fans, the weather has intervened and we won’t be abble (sic) to get there.”
The No. 2 Nittany Lions were slated to participate in the annual event for the first time in seven years, with other ranked teams including No. 16 Stanford, No. 5 Missouri, No. 19 Arizona State and No. 1 Oklahoma State also scheduled to be there, although there was speculation the Cowboys would not have all of their top grapplers at the tournament, after competing against No. 8 Cornell on Friday.
Penn State usually wrestles in the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn., winning the past six team titles there, but that event on Jan. 1-2 was too close to the Big Ten opener Jan. 6 at No. 13 Minnesota.
Without the trip to Reno, the Nittany Lion wrestlers can begin their holiday break early, after enduring final exams this past week.
On Tuesday, head coach Cael Sanderson said his wrestlers will go home for about a week — that was the plan before losing the Reno trip — then get ready for the Big Ten portion of the year.
He expects all of his wrestlers will still be working on their own despite the break.
“They are pretty disciplined and they know what they need to do,” Sanderson said. “Some of them will work out more than others. We’re not going to call them up every day. A lot of them go home and work out with their high school buddies who are wrestling at college.
“They also get together with some of their high school teams, too. It’s good for them to get a little break.”
Matt McCutcheon echoed the words of his coach.
“We’ll be practicing back at home wherever we can,” the 195-pound junior said.
Reno Tournament of Champions
When: Sunday, noon
Where: Reno Events Center, Reno, Nev.