Lehigh to host Penn State in first-ever wrestling event at PPL Center

By Steve Lomangino, Lehigh | Sept. 14, 2017, 10:18 a.m. (ET)
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – One of college wrestling's oldest and most storied rivalries is heading to center city Allentown as Lehigh will host two-time defending national champion Penn State at PPL Center on Sunday, December 3 at 2 p.m.

As many as six returning NCAA Champions could compete in the 106th meeting between Lehigh and Penn State, which will also be the first-ever wrestling event in the over 8,500-seat home of the American Hockey League's Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

"It's an idea we've been playing with for a few years, and fortunately it all came together," said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. "There's not a better team to host for this event than Penn State. This should be a great event, not just for Lehigh wrestling but for wrestling in the Lehigh Valley. We're excited for the opportunity to showcase our program against Penn State at PPL Center."

This match will be part of Lehigh's season ticket and mini-plan packages. Season ticket holders can begin renewing their tickets on Thursday, September 14. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, September 20 at 12 p.m. through PPLCenter.com, 610-34-TIXX or the PPL Center Box Office. Fans looking for group sales should contact Lehigh Ticket Services at 610-7LU-GAME. Lehigh students will be admitted free of charge with a student ticket, obtained online through LehighTickets.com, while supplies last. Student tickets are available starting October 1. All internet sales will be through PPL Center.

"We appreciate the partnership with PPL Center for this very special event," said Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett '76. "We view this year as a particularly distinctive opportunity to share with a broader audience one of the oldest and longest running match ups in college wrestling, involving two proud Pennsylvania institutions."

Lehigh will look to break its all-time home dual attendance record of 5,909 set during Penn State's last visit to the Lehigh Valley on February 12, 2016 at a sold-out Stabler Arena. Three of the top four home dual meet crowds in Lehigh history have come against the Nittany Lions (Feb. 2016, Dec. 2011 - the 100th meeting, and Nov. 2009).

Penn State has won the last two NCAA titles and six of the last seven overall. Lehigh, which finished 12th at last year's NCAA Championships, returns NCAA Champion Darian Cruz and All-American Scott Parker among five wrestlers who have previously qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Lehigh and Penn State have met 105 times since 1911 with the Nittany Lions owning a 68-34-3 advantage in the series. Penn State has won the last seven duals, which coincides with its recent run of national success.

The Lehigh-Penn State match at PPL Center will be one of seven home duals for the Mountain Hawks in 2017-18, with the other six, plus Lehigh's annual Brown and White Wrestle-offs set for Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Lehigh's complete season schedule will be announced on Thursday, September 14.

PPL Center (pplcenter.com) is a state-of-the-art multipurpose venue in downtown Allentown, PA. The arena seats more than 10,000 for concerts and more than 8,500 for Lehigh Valley Phantoms professional hockey games, making it the region's largest events venue. The amenities-packed PPL Center will host more than 150 events each year, offering something for everyone, including the Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, live concerts, family shows, trade shows, figure skating events, youth sports, high school and collegiate events, Disney on Ice, conferences, graduations and many more events. PPL Center is currently the main catalyst to the revitalization and growth of downtown Allentown. Spectra by Comcast Spectacor provides the Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Ticketing & Fan Engagement at PPL Center.