10 guys made the decision to wrestle unattached on Sunday at the Nittany Lion Open at Penn State. It is the largest one day college tournament in the USA. I was pleased these guys made the commitment to go. Competition helps the learning curve. I believe you can develop at a greater rate through competition. Preparation often becomes more focused. You learn strengths and weaknesses during competition that are sometimes missed in training. Seeing guys deal with the mental strains of competition and develop psychological skills is imperative. You are exposed to different techniques, abilities, and strains than are seen from your normal training situation.
One of the tough things about this tournament is that you have to make it to the round of 32 in order to get into the wrestle backs. This hurt some of our guys as they were only able to wrestle one bout. I would have liked to see them get more competition, but I do understand the amount of time the extra wrestle backs would have added to the already large tournament. Jake Kettler finished the day 3-3 and placed 8th. Last year we did not have a place winner at the tournament, so it was nice to have one this time around. It was good to have an excuse to stick around and watch the finals. Jake wrestled one of the last bouts of the day.
I have been asked many times why Vince Rodriguez has not been in the line-up. Although most times I believe it is best to keep things in-house, I have been letting people know we are planning on red shirting Vince this season. As a coach, it is difficult to sit your only returning national qualifier, but in this case, I think it is best for Vince and for the team long-term. I love watching Vince wrestle and I will enjoy watching him wrestle in the years to come. Having wrestled as a true freshman, at the national tournament, has helped Vince to understand what he needs to do to attain his goals. Thus, Vince will most likely red shirt this season and Zach Isenhour will be our starter at 133. Zach was our starter last year at this weight as well. Zach will still have a red shirt year we could use in the future. It is a good problem for a coach to have when he is comfortable with two guys being capable to start at the same weight.
Saturday, December 8, we host Navy at the RAC at 8pm. We have done lots to promote this dual and will continue to promote it all week. I am hopeful to have a large vocal crowd at the dual. I was teased recently by someone in the athletic department about going all in for this dual. The person was overwhelmed by all of the promotions we are trying for the match.
1. We are doing a cross-promotion with men’s basketball. If people show their basketball tickets from our game earlier in the evening versus Northern Iowa, they can get half-priced tickets to wrestling.
2. We are having a high school day. If high school teams get me their roster by Wednesday, they can attend the match for free. We already have some teams signed up.
3. We are having a pre-match social for alumni, donors, and boosters. Then, at half-time, we will honor the 1992 CAA championship team. Including honoring the 1992 CAA Coach of the Year Mike Moyer and 1992 CAA Wrestler of the Year Johnny Curtis.
4. We will also be presented a check from the Greater Washington Wrestlers Business Network at half-time. This group ran the 2012 NWCA All-Star Meet at American University. They are going to share some of the profits from the event with us.
5. We were fortunate to have someone produce and donate schedule cards to us which we will give away at the match.
6. We ordered more posters and will give them away to the fans that come early to the match.
7. Scott Casber with Take down radio will broadcast his radio show on campus on Saturday morning. Then, along with Wade Schalles and Kelly Ward, he will broadcast the dual on themat.com in the evening.
8. We are still pushing season ticket sales. As of last count, we have yet to sale as many as we did last season. If you buy the tickets now, you will still get in for a cheaper price than if you bought tickets individually for matches. You still get priority seating; dare I say season tickets would make a great stocking stuffer?
9. The pin pool has grown to nearly $50 per pin. Thanks to those brave souls who have pledged.
10. Don’t really have a number ten, but thought I should write something so it looked like I had one. Who knows, I probably forgot one of the many promotions we are doing for this week.
Hope to see you on Saturday, December 8 at 8pm.