A Change of Plans and a Heartbreaking Loss for Penn State Wrestling

A Change of Plans and a Heartbreaking Loss for Penn State Wrestling

This past weekend, the Nittany Lions were unable to make it to the Reno Tournament of Champions due to inclement weather.

But, two true freshmen redshirting this season wrestled unattached in the Cleveland State Open on Saturday. Mark Hall took first place at 175 and went 5-0 in the tournament. It’s his second tournament title of his redshirt season. Lucas Gardner wrestled at 149 and went 1-2.

The Nittany Lions head into the holiday break with a record of 4-0. After the New Year, the team will face its first two Big Ten opponents. First, the Lions travel to Minnesota Friday, Jan. 6 then end the weekend in Nebraska on Sunday, Jan. 8.

There was also an announcement on Saturday afternoon that former Penn State wrestler, James Vollrath, passed away. He lost his battle with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma on Friday evening.

Vollrath wrestled primarily at 157 and was a member of the team for four NCAA and Big Ten Championship victories from 2011-2014. His first season at Penn State was also Cael Sanderson’s first season as head coach.

His career record at Penn State was 72-24. One of his most memorable wins was his 2013 victory over Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State in the Southern Scuffle. Dieringer went on to win three NCAA titles and only had four losses during his college career– one being Vollrath.

Last June, there was a GoFundMe page created to help Vollrath’s family with treatment costs. The page reached a grand total of $61,849, exceeding the goal of $50,000.

Now, the Vollrath family is asking for donations to be made to St. Jude’s Children Hospital in Vollrath’s name, instead of flowers for the funeral services.