Quentin Wright quickly silenced any doubts of the 6,515 people packed into Rec Hall that he might not earn his 100th career victory, against No. 20 Jackson Hein of Wisconsin, on Friday night.
Despite wrestling a ranked opponent, Wright picked up the historic win with ease. With 1:24 remaining in the opening period of the 197-pound matchup, he rolled up and pinned Hein.
Wright said that he had no problem ending the match almost as soon as it started, rather than enjoying the win for a while.
“The opportunity was there,” he said. “But yeah, that was fun.”
Instead, the former national champion saved the celebrating for afterwards. He took a moment to wave to those in attendance before leaving the mat, but that was not all he gave to the fans.
“I haven’t seen him yet. He’s still out there signing autographs,” coach Cael Sanderson said when asked what he told Wright after the win.
The milestone makes Wright the 27th Nittany Lion to reach the century mark in wins. Although significant to the record books, both Sanderson and Wright downplayed the meaning of it, at least in the short-term.
To Sanderson, the milestone was bound to happen sooner or later, and he said he did not think it was that big of a deal. Much like during the week before the Lions faced the Badgers, Sanderson said after his team’s 36-6 win that he thinks Wright has bigger things on his mind.
“He’s looking to be a two-time national champion and four-time All-American; [the 100th win is] just one of the steps along the way,” he said. “But, you know, it’s exciting I guess, to celebrate that, but I don’t think he came to Penn State to get in the ‘100 Wins Club.’ ”
Wright, ranked third in the country at his weight class, also said the match felt like any other regular season contest. However, he said the milestone will become more important to him when he reflects on it later on in the future.
“After I graduate I can look back on it, and then it will start to grow, where it’ll become such an achievable moment,” he said. “For right now, [I’m] in the zone, going for the next match. But later on, when I get to reflect back on it, it’s going to be a nice achievement.”
One thing Wright said was important was that the victory came in front of a home crowd.
Wright is a native of Wingate, Pa., a town that is about a 21-mile drive away from campus. That allowed many of those who watched the hometown hero wrestle for Bald Eagle Area witness more history.
Wright said that he tried to calculate when he would get his 100th win earlier in the season, but was pleasantly surprised when he found out his first shot at it was during a home meet.
“It’s great to achieve moments with your family, you could say,” Wright said.
“These are people that have been watching me since I’ve been six or seven, whenever I started wrestling. So they’ve known me my whole life…it pretty much becomes like a family, the whole community.”