Penn State set for wrestling showdown

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Penn State's Jordan Conaway, right, took fourth at 133 pounds on Sunday at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships.

Penn State has learned who it will wrestle in Sunday’s National Wrestling Coaches Association National Championship Dual Series match.

The No. 1 Nittany Lions (15-0) will face off with No. 2 Oklahoma State. The rankings were released on Flo Wrestling Radio Monday morning. The teams will square off at 5 p.m. Sunday inside Rec Hall, with the winner to be named the National Dual Championship team. The match will be aired on the Big Ten Network.

“We are excited to be a part of the first NWCA National Dual Championship series,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said in a release by the university. “It is an honor and a great opportunity for us. We are looking forward to Sunday’s dual.”

The match is already sold out.

The match will have some local interest. Former York-Adams League standout Jordan Conaway is the starting 133-pounder for PSU and has a 21-3 record. He was an All-American last season at 125 pounds. He is ranked No. 5 this season at 133 pounds by Intermat Wrestling.

The match could've featured another former York-Adams star, but Kennard-Dale graduate Chance Marsteller will sit out the remainder of the 2015-16 season because of a violation of team rules. Marsteller later Tweeted that he was done with the sport. Marsteller was 166-0 at K-D and won four state titles. He originally gave a verbal commitment to PSU and Sanderson before changing his mind and going to Oklahoma State. After redshirting his freshman season, Marsteller was 6-5 this season with the Cowboys before his competitive year was cut short.

The National Championship Dual Series was created to put more of an emphasis on dual meets. It will match up the top-eight Big Ten teams, which are Penn State, Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Indiana and Minnesota, against the top-eight non-Big Ten teams — those teams are the seven conference champions and a wild-card team. This year there will be two wild-card teams because the Pac-12 will not be represented because there is a conflict with its conference tournament. Virginia Tech will represent the ACC, Oklahoma State from the Big 12, Lehigh from the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, Edinboro from the Eastern Wrestling League, Missouri from the Mid-American Conference, Appalachian State from the Southern Conference and North Carolina State and Iowa State are wild-card teams.

The Cowboys have one more match before traveling to University Park. They host North Carolina on Friday. They are 12-2 on the year and have won their last nine matches with the most recent victory coming Sunday over Stanford 41-0.

Their losses are to Iowa and North Carolina State. The Hawkeyes, who will face off with North Carolina State, beat Oklahoma State at the beginning of the year inside Kinnick Stadium. The attendance for the dual meet was 42,287, shattering the record that was held by Penn State.

Three weeks later, the Wolfpack went into Stillwater and pulled off a 19-15 upset. It was a match that saw the Cowboys win just four bouts.

The other matchups will be:

Iowa State at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m., Friday

Lehigh at Rutgers, 8 p.m., Saturday

Appalachian State at Indiana, 1 p.m., Sunday

Virginia Tech at Michigan, 2 p.m., Sunday

Missouri at Nebraska, 3 p.m., Sunday

Edinboro at Ohio State, 7 p.m., Feb. 22

N.C. State at Iowa. 8 p.m., Feb. 22