Penn State Wrestling

Cael Sanderson, Nittany Lions not concerned about time off

It’s been almost 30 days since Penn State has been on the mat competitively.

Mother Nature kept the Nittany Lions from reaching the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 18, so Penn State’s last match was Dec. 11 against Binghamton.

“To me it doesn’t matter, I have the best competition in the room anyways,” Nick Suriano said. “It’s actually good. We got some more time to prepare to keep our bodies healthy.”

Penn State also didn’t participate in the Southern Scuffle, snapping its streak of six straight years winning the event. Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said earlier in the year it wasn’t fair to have his team wrestle in such a tough tournament so close to the start of the Big Ten portion of the schedule.

Penn State’s opens its Big Ten slate at Minnesota at 8 p.m. Friday and at Nebraska at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“You do the best you can with the circumstances that you have,” Sanderson said. “It’s not really a big deal in the scheme of things. You make a negative into a positive. We have two great tests this weekend. We’re excited about that.”

Things will change for the Nittany Lions during the final two months of the regular season.

They are set to have 10 matches in seven weeks — nine against Big Ten foes and another in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Dual Championship series. Seven of those 10 opponents will be ranked when Penn State faces them.

The stretch includes matches against teams like Iowa, Rutgers and Ohio State. It doesn’t help that only four of those 10 matches will be in Rec Hall.

Sanderson isn’t fazed by it, though.

“We enjoy being on the road,” he said. “It’s fun for our team. We get to spend more time together. We love Rec Hall and (Bryce) Jordan Center, but it’s also fun to go wrestle at other places and take on that challenge.”

Nate Cobler: 814-231-4609, @ncoblercdt