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Nittany Lions set for trip to Penn

UNIVERSITY PARK–When the No. 2 Penn State wrestling team resumes its dual meet schedule on Friday, don’t expect the trek to Philadelphia to be anything other than a business trip.

Both head coach Cael Sanderson and top-ranked 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young confirmed Monday that there won’t be any side trips to places like the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall.

“Yeah, we actually should do that. I would like to go see some of those things, but we do kind of just go take care of business,” Sanderson said with a smile on Zoom during the team’s weekly media availability. “Maybe that’s something we should think about as a staff is trying to enjoy the trip a little bit more but a lot of these guys are ornery and they’ve got homework and they’re managing their weight. So, I don’t know if they’d want us to take them around on a tour.”

Bravo-Young gave two thumbs down on the notion of an educational field trip.

“I don’t really have any interest in sightseeing. I’m good on that,” Bravo-Young said. “You know, I’d rather just go get there and get things over with.”

Instead, the Nittany Lions will have to make do with a 7 p.m. dual meet with Penn in the Palestra.

Penn State will be returning to action after a two-week break that included the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I think it gives us a good amount of time between matches to prepare for the next match and, with the time of the year, we like the way that the setup is,” Sanderson said. “We head into this next weekend with two big matches coming up with UPenn and Lehigh (2 p.m. Sunday at Rec Hall), a couple in-state rivals with teams that have a lot of support a lot of really, really great wrestlers and coaching staffs.”

Sanderson said where possible, he and the staff gave the wrestlers enough of a break to return home and enjoy the holiday with family.

“We have a lot of confidence and trust in in our wrestlers and that they’re gonna take care of themselves over the break. But you know, we really value them having time with their families,” Sanderson said.

“I think spending Thanksgiving with your family if you can, or just taking that time is important.”

Bravo-Young, who is from Arizona, said he didn’t get a chance to go home, but he enjoyed the break nonetheless.

“It’s good just to get a little reset. Sometimes school and practice every day gets a little old. There’s no sun and it’s just the same routine,” he said. “On Thanksgiving, we just hung out here. It is what it is. You’ve got to sacrifice sometimes.”

What Bravo-Young said he won’t sacrifice is his desire to entertain fans on the mat.

“I think it’s just the way I’ve always been wired. I like to put on a little show. That’s the way I’m going to be the rest of my career and whatever else I get myself into as I get older. I just like the attention out there. You know, it’s fun. That’s what makes it worth it,” RBY said.

The senior will have to go a long way to top the show he put on Nov. 18 against Army. As he closed out a technical fall, he literally leapfrogged his opponent for the final takedown. He said he can’t anticipate what he might try during a bout.

“Yeah, it’s funny. I don’t even practice it; it just happens in match. It’s just ‘oh, what can I do?’ You really don’t practice that stuff. I don’t think Cael and Cody want me jumping around getting hurt in practice. So, it’s kind of just an in-the-moment thing and if it happens and it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I get hurt, it is what it is. It’s kind of my mindset.”

Perhaps because it’s unscripted and part of a mindset, Bravo-Young admitted that he even surprises himself with some of his acrobatics.

“Oh, 100 percent. Not a lot of people could go out there and do it. People are so amazed and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know how I did it.’ But it’s cool. It makes you want to do other stuff,” he said and then paused. “I don’t know how I do it. I think it’s just the heat of the moment. But I don’t regret it.”

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