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.
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)