Kennard-Dale wrestling standout Chance Marsteller, top, made his decision to attend Penn State on Wednesday night, when Nittany Lions head coach Cael
Kennard-Dale wrestling standout Chance Marsteller, top, made his decision to attend Penn State on Wednesday night, when Nittany Lions head coach Cael Sanderson stopped by the Marstellers home in Fawn Grove. (File photo)

Wrestling phenom Chance Marsteller has verbally committed to wrestle at Penn State University after he graduates from Kennard-Dale High School next year.

Marsteller could not be reached for comment for this story, but his parents confirmed the verbal commitment during a phone conversation Thursday night.

"He's giddy about it," Suzanne Marsteller said. "He's excited. He's super-excited about this. He's got some of his best friends up there."

Marsteller made the decision to join the Nittany Lions just four days after college coaches were allowed to begin contacting potential recruits on July 1. Several coaches from across the country had contacted Marsteller this week, but Arizona State coach Shawn Charles and Penn State coach Cael Sanderson were the only two coaches to make a face-to-face visit with Marsteller. His college choice eventually came down to Penn State or Oklahoma State, according to Suzanne Marsteller.

Chance Marsteller owns a 125-0 career record and has earned three PIAA state titles.
Chance Marsteller owns a 125-0 career record and has earned three PIAA state titles. (File photo)

"He (Chance) wanted to wait (until the fall) to make his (college) decision but I think things became so nuts for him these last few days that he just wanted to get it out of the way," Suzanne Marsteller said.

Chance Marsteller made his decision to attend Penn State on Wednesday night, when Sanderson stopped by the Marstellers' home in Fawn Grove.

"You gotta understand it's a no-nonsense policy with Sanderson and Chance knows that," Suzanne Marsteller said. "For a kid (like Chance), who could go (to college) wherever he wants and being held at a whole different level, Cael still has a zero-tolerance policy. He told us 'You'll have the best of the best training.'"

Considered one of the best amateur wrestlers ever after going 159-0 in four years at Iowa State University from 1999 to 2002, Sanderson is a former Olympic gold medalist who took over the Penn State program in 2009, going 13-6-1 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference in the 2009-10 season. Since then, the Nittany Lions have won three-straight Big Ten and three-straight NCAA Division I titles, combining for a 43-3-2 overall record and 20-3-1 mark in the Big Ten.

While both parents left the college decision up to their son, Chance ultimately decided on Penn State because he wanted to stay in-state and he's very close with several current Penn State wrestlers in addition to Solanco grad and three-time PIAA gold medalist Thomas Haines, who will wrestle at Penn State next season.

"My advice to him was go wherever you need to go where you'll turn into a young man," Suzanne Marsteller said. "(I told him) 'you're gonna become a young man. You need to feel at home and comfortable with your coaches and your peers.'"

Suzanne Marsteller said her son wants to study physical therapy at Penn State, where he'll join New Oxford grad Jordan Conaway on the roster when he arrives in Happy Valley in the fall of 2014. Former Central York standout James English will compete for the Nittany Lions next season in his final year of athletic eligibility.

Before he gets to Penn State, however, Marsteller has one more year of competition remaining with the Rams in the upcoming 2013-14 high school season, where he'll try to improve on his 125-0 prep career record and aim for his fourth gold medal in the PIAA tournament. Only 10 wrestlers have won four PIAA gold medals in the tournament's history. Just four of them have finished with unbeaten scholastic records.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.