Penn State Wrestling

Injuries not slowing down Nittany Lions

Penn State’s Matt McCutcheon was able to return from back spasms on Sunday and beat Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen 14-1 at 184 pounds.
Penn State’s Matt McCutcheon was able to return from back spasms on Sunday and beat Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen 14-1 at 184 pounds. adrey@centredaily.com

Clash of Clans, you might not be familiar with it.

It is a strategy mobile device game that anyone can play around the world. Players build their own communities and train troops in order to attack other players for gold.

For Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, it’s a team-building tool. He and, what he estimated, 20 wrestlers are in a clan together and compete.

“We have a bunch of our guys in a clan,” Sanderson said inside an empty wrestling room on Tuesday. “It’s fun. We do wars on the road and stuff. It kind of keeps everyone in line.”

Players are able to upgrade their troops and kings and queens. For Sanderson, he ran into an issue Tuesday.

“They put me in a war,” he explained about the game, “although my king is upgrading currently, so it’s a real battle. I don’t get him in my attack so I’m trying to deal with that.”

One thing the Nittany Lions have a good upgrade on is assistant athletic trainer Dan Monthly.

Monthly is in charge of the wrestling team training duties. However, he isn’t just wrestling. He also takes care of the Nittany Lions’ men’s and women’s golf teams.

“Dan Monthly is a great trainer,” Sanderson said, “and really knows how to bring kids back as quickly as possible. He’s also looking out for the kids. If they aren’t ready, they aren’t ready.”

Monthly has had a busy past couple of days trying to get Jimmy Gulibon and McCutcheon back into Penn State’s lineup. Monthly was successful in getting McCutcheon back from back spasms in time for the Nittany Lions’ 36-7 win over Wisconsin on Sunday inside the Bryce Jordan Center. McCutcheon was a 14-1 winner.

“He got in right away,” Sanderson said of McCutcheon’s quick progress. “He took care of business and wanted to wrestle. He had that urgency to get back, and I’m sure he wanted to wrestle in the BJC match and he did it.”

Gulibon is still working his way back from an ankle sprain, while Jan Johnson is still working his way back from a minor knee procedure.

Penn State has been lucky. It hasn’t been hit by the injury bug too hard during the season. But before the season they lost Nick Nevills to a torn pectoral.

Sanderson knows that no matter what, teams are going to suffer injuries at some point.

“It’s just a part of college athletics and wrestling,” he said. “For the most part, injuries should be preventable. Wrestling is a feel sport where I’m not getting blindsided. I have one opponent in front me. A lot of times you put yourself in a bad position or make a bad decision. Little things happen obviously, (but) they can be out of your control.”

Welcome to the ranks

Geno Morelli made such a splash on Sunday it put him into the Intermat’s rankings.

The rankings, which were released on Tuesday, has Morelli No. 19 at 165 pounds. He almost came away with an upset win over No. 2 Isaac Jordan on Sunday. He got a takedown with 28 seconds left in the match to lead 4-3 but gave up a takedown with what Sanderson thought was 1.2 seconds in a 5-4 loss.

“Once I got that takedown,” Morelli explained, “I wasn’t exactly sure how much time was left. I got a little flustered and he was coming at me pretty hard. He just got me. It was disappointing but I’ll learn from it.”

To go along with Morelli, Penn State has eight other wrestlers ranked.

Of those eight, five are in the top five at their weight classes. Morgan McIntosh (197) and Zain Retherford (149) are at the top. Jason Nolf (157) comes in at No. 3 with Nico Megaludis (125) at No. 4 and Bo Nickal (174) finishes off at No. 5.

Jordan Conaway (133) and Gulibon (141) are just on the outside at No. 6, and McCutcheon comes in at No. 13 at 184.

But McCutcheon doesn’t care about rankings.

“I don’t really pay attention,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you where I’m ranked at right now. At the end of the year, rankings don’t really mean anything.”

Nate Cobler: 814-231-4609, @ncoblercdt

USA Today/NWCA Top 25 Poll

Team

Pts.

Pvs.

1. Penn State

300

1

2. Iowa

288

2

3. N.C. State

267

5

4. Missouri

263

8

5. Virginia Tech

251

6

6. Ohio State

240

3

7. Oklahoma State

234

9

8. Oklahoma

204

7

9. Rutgers

201

11

10. Nebraska

200

4

11. Illinois

173

12

12. Michigan

172

10

13. Lehigh

166

13

14. Cornell

139

14

15. North Carolina

130

16

16. Virginia

101

18

17. Central Michigan

98

20

18. Iowa State

89

19

19. Purdue

63

24

20. Pittsburgh

60

NR

21. Ohio

51

21

22. Indiana

45

NR

23. Minnesota

43

17

24. Old Dominion

34

22

25. West Virginia

29

25

Others Receiving votes: Oregon State 22, Wisconsin 20, Stanford 8, Chattanooga 5, Kent State 2, Eastern Michigan 1, South Dakota State 1

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