When the Nittany Lions took the mat during Thursday night’s intrasquad dual, something was missing.
That something was redshirt senior heavyweight Cameron Wade, who is continuing to work his way back onto the mat following a knee injury during last year’s NCAA tournament.
The Penn State wrestling team is expected to feature a healthy Wade when it opens its season, and coach Cael Sanderson said the senior’s absence from the intrasqaud was merely a precautionary measure.
“There’s just no reason to have him wrestle tonight,” he said following Thursday’s intrasquad.
“If it were a big dual meet or the conference or something, obviously he’d be ready to
Wade suffered the knee injury during a NCAA quarterfinal bout last season, and he fell just short of attaining All-American status. Now with the 2011-12 season about to begin, Sanderson said the senior is ready to compete again, and he can play a big role for the No. 1 Lions.
“He is full speed, and he should be hungry and ready to go,” Sanderson said at Media Day. “He is a guy that we are looking to really step up this year as a senior and really get after it and make things happen, especially in crunch time, and he is capable of doing that.”
Last season, Wade finished with a 30-8 record, including a 7-1 record in Big Ten dual bouts.
While recovering from the injury has been part of the preparation for the season, Wade said he is focused on what he needs to do to become a better
“It’s been going good. Just trying to make improvements everyday,” Wade said.
“I know there’s a few things I have to work on this year to be successful, so I’ve just been trying to work on those certain areas and just trying to get better every
With the Lions entering the season as defending national champions, Wade said the Lions will be successful if they maintain focus and compete to the best of their abilities.
“Just going out there and fighting hard is another big goal of ours,” he said. “The winning will come with that. I think if our team just goes out there and fights hard, I think we’ll be in the running at the end of the season.”
The attitude with many of the Penn State wrestlers in the preseason has been that the Lions are out to win another national title, not defend what they won last year.
Wade also echoed those sentiments, and he said they are not feeling added pressure because they won last year.
“We’re not looking as it as we’re trying to defend it,” he said.
“We have a different team now, a whole new make-up as a team. We’re just going out there to win a national championship now. I don’t think there’s any defending we need to do.”