For the first time this season, Penn State wrestling will be broadcast on national television, as the Nittany Lions’ 6 p.m. Friday dual with Arizona State is set to air on ESPN2.
“I think that’s great. Any national exposure like that is great for the sport, and I think we’re seeing more and more of that in wrestling, which I think is a good sign,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said Tuesday.
The obvious headliner Friday evening will be the rematch of the 174-pound NCAA final between Arizona State’s No. 1 Zahid Valencia and Penn State’s No. 2 Mark Hall. Penn State’s No. 1-ranked Vincenzo Joseph will also take on his former Young Guns teammate, No. 5 Josh Shields, at 165 pounds in what will likely prove to be Joseph’s toughest match so far of the season.
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When asked about the possibility of starting the dual off at 184 pounds, to save the top-two matches for last, Sanderson laughed and said: “That’s way too much thinking for me.”
However, he did acknowledge the appeal that ending with Joseph vs. Shields and Hall vs. Valencia would have for a national TV broadcast.
“They’re using that more and more with wrestling, you got a buildup and then a finale, but there’s going to be great matches up and down the lineup,” Sanderson said. “Mark Hall and Valencia is obviously a rematch of the national final, so that’s a big one, but we’re a team, so we’re not going to focus on one match.”
Penn State vs. Arizona State match info
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Rec Hall, Penn State
How to watch: On television on ESPN2, online at ESPN3
How to listen: On the radio at State College’s ESPN Radio 1450, or online on LionVision (play-by-play by Jeff Byers)