Despite Penn State's 39-8 win over Northwestern on Sunday, the dual meet ended in concern for the Nittany Lions. During the last match, 285-pound Jimmy Lawson went down with a knee injury and the staff opted to default him out of the bout.
Although he was able to walk off under his own power, Lawson is expected to be out at least 2-3 weeks. Lawson showed up to practice Tuesday with a heavy brace around his left knee, stretching from mid-thigh to mid-calf, but head coach Cael Sanderson confirmed that the junior will not require surgery.
"It's not a season-ending injury," Sanderson said, "but he just stretched the knee out a little bit. … He's had some injuries in the past with football and stuff, so there's old injuries and things. Two to three weeks, and he's already bending completely."
Sanderson said Jon Gingrich is expected to start in Friday night's dual meet vs. Illinois. The redshirt junior has wrestled to an 18-3 record this season, wrestling in open tournaments, the Southern Scuffle and winning his only dual meet appearance vs. Lehigh.
Gingrich said it's "upsetting" to see a teammate go down with an injury but understands that it provides him a chance to gain valuable experience.
"It's a great opportunity for me," he said. "I'm going to go out there and make the most of it."
125-pound Nico Megaludis had at least a half dozen reporters encircling him before Tuesday's practice with most of the attention focused on one subject: Friday night's match vs. Illinois' Jesse Delgado.
Though they don't know each other personally, Megaludis and Delgado are plenty familiar with each other on the wrestling mat. They met in the NCAA and the Big Ten final last year, with Delgado prevailing both times. Megaludis said he's not preparing any different for this match, but did say there's "more urgency" this week. He said he'll watch "a little bit" of video of his previous matches with Delgado, which also includes a fall in Megaludis' favor during last year's dual meet.
"I know what he does," Megaludis said, "and he knows what I do, but there are just little things (to improve.)"
Megaludis said a win would provide a boost for not only the rest of Penn State's dual meet vs. the Illini, but also for the remainder of his season. After two consecutive runner-up finishes, it's a national championship or bust for the junior.
"It stings," he said. "It's not a good feeling, getting second twice. It sucks. But it's why I want it more than anyone else."
Note on the Altons
It seems like a practice notebook can't be complete without an update on Andrew Alton (149) and Dylan Alton, right?
They were held out of last weekend's dual meets, in order to compete in an open tournament and get additional matches under their belt. Andrew finished 4-0. Dylan, 5-0.
It is unclear if they will return to the lineup Friday, and there is a chance that Zack Beitz (149) and James Vollrath (157) will get the start.