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Nate Cobler | Centre Daily Times | December 21, 2015

Geno Morelli may have dream come true

  Penn State defeated Wisconsin on Sunday and moved to 5-0 on the season.

What was your dream growing up? For Geno Morelli, his dream was to wear a Penn State singlet and compete on the mat for the Nittany Lions.

However, things didn't go as planned.

Morelli began his career at the University of Pittsburgh. It was a choice he made but later regretted.

"Before I actually went to Pittsburgh, I wanted to come here," Morelli said, "but I had a little financial help from Pitt and I didn't know if I was going to get that here. I kind of made that decision for the wrong reasons and realized it.

"I was debating on transferring to Penn State since my freshman year at Pitt but never really pulled the trigger. I had a couple of family events happen that I wanted to get a little closer to home and my family."

A native of DuBois, Pennsylvania, he transferred to Penn State last season and redshirted before becoming eligible this season.

During his high school career, Morelli finished with a 126 wins, which is fourth on the DuBois High School Beavers' all-time list. He sits behind his older brother, Mario (127), Zach Lundgren (134) and Tom Sleigh (140). Morelli is also one of three DuBois wrestlers to earn two state medals.

He was a part of a Pittsburgh team that wrestled against the Nittany Lions in 2013 at the Bryce Jordan Center. In that match, Penn State set an NCAA attendance record of 15,996. Morelli's opponent for the match was David Taylor, who pinned Morelli in 3:09. While wrestling for the Panthers, Morelli tallied 35 wins at 165 pounds.

Morelli's performance in the Nittany Lion Open stood out to coach Cael Sanderson. Morelli beat Garett Hammond in the semifinals 12-7 and then beat Nittany Lion starter Shakur Rasheed 3-2 in the finals to win the 165-pound title.

RANKINGS: Penn State sits atop the NWCA Coaches Poll

"Geno had a good tournament [at the Nittany Lion Open] ," Sanderson said. "He is a very good athlete. He's very fast and has a great mat sense. He knows how to win and is experienced. He is a big, strong kid for his weight class."

Morelli  made his Penn State dual meet debut at 1675 on Sunday. He nearly pulled off the upset, taking a late 4-3 lead against No. 3 Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin. But Jordan managed a last second (with :01 on the clock) takedown to steal the 5-4 win and end Penn State's shutout run.

Penn State is now 5-0 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten while Wisconsin falls to 1-2, 0-1 B1G. Penn State won the takedown battle by 20, with a 23-3 advantage. The Nittany Lions, in winning eight of ten bouts, tallied 12 bonus points off two pins, a forfeit and three majors.

This article was written by Nate Cobler from Centre Daily Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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