Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you know by now that Mark Hall’s redshirt was lifted.
You also know that Hall lost in his debut against Iowa’s Alex Meyer last Friday.
What you don’t know is that it wasn’t Penn State coach Cael Sanderson’s decision to remove the redshirt.
It was Hall’s choice.
“It probably started right around the Southern Scuffle and a little after,” Hall said about wrestling with the decision on Wednesday. “It was pretty stressful. I just wanted to be a part of the national championship run. Traveling with the team made it a little more easier for me. Now, I don’t have anything to worry about, all I got to do is travel and wrestle.
“I feel coach Cael, my teammates and my parents were pretty good and adamant about letting it be something that I wanted to do if I wanted to do it. They were really open. No one was going to be upset if I didn’t and no one would be upset if I did.”
As hard of a decision it was for Hall, it was equally hard for Sanderson.
“As a staff, we can say, ‘Hey, no just redshirt,’ but we also want to win as a staff,” Sanderson said. “But we also have two great kids in that weight and it’s tough. We love Geno (Morelli) and Shakur (Rasheed). They both had a lot of success this year.
“It’s up to Mark to make sure it’s the right decision at this point. He’ll be ready to do that and I’m confident that he will.”
Sanderson said scholarship numbers made the matter difficult, too. Wrestling has only 9.9 scholarships for a team made up of 10 starters and 35 total student-athletes rostered.
The numbers don’t really add up, and Sanderson feels that maybe the sport needs to do something about it.
“I think the sport of wrestling should be fighting for scholarships right now,” he said. “Most sports have five starters and 15 scholarships. We have 10 starters and less than 10 scholarships. It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.”
Hall steps into the lineup with a Southern Scuffle title under his belt, an 18-2 record, and nine pins. His only other loss came in the Michigan State Open finals to Central Michigan’s Christian Brucki.
He said he learned from his recent loss to Meyer. He felt that he rode Meyer for too long and tired himself out. He also said that the crowd played a little big of a factor.
“It’s hostile,” he said of the Carver-Hawkeye Arena atmosphere. “It kind of drained me pretty quickly but at the same time you got to be able to wrestle in things like that. Being in that type of environment, I got to wrestle a lot smarter. If that’s getting a couple of takedowns rather than just one and wasting my energy in riding him out, that’s on me.
“It’s not any different than wrestling at the Big Ten championships or NCAA tournament. You just wrestle with the crowd noise or without it.”
What’s the deal at 133?
Jered Cortez was seen with his left arm in a sling on Wednseday.
Sanderson confirmed that Cortez had surgery last week and would be out the rest of the season.
As a result, the Nittany Lions will look at George Carpenter to fill the role, but Sanderson said there was one more wrestler they could turn to.
“We have Triston Law, who got his weight down, and he’ll be looking to compete there also,” he said. “We’ll play with that over the next couple weeks and figure out who are best guy is there.”
NWCA Dual Championship series to go live
Trackwrestling.com announced on Wednesday that it was teaming up with NBC Sports Network to air the eight duals.
The championship match will air live on NBC Sports Network on Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. All eight duals will be streamed on Trackwrestling.com’s website.
Going through the ranks
At the top: Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157)
Staying put: Nick Suriano (No. 3, 125), Jimmy Gulibon (No. 12, 141), Vincenzo Joseph (No. 4, 165), Bo Nickal (No. 2, 184), Matt McCutcheon (No. 10, 197)
Moving up: Nick Nevills by one to No. 4 at 285 pounds
Making his debut: Hall (No. 7, 174)