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Alton, Ruth Fuel Nittany Lion Victory of Nebraska

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Entering Sunday's home meet against 12th-ranked Nebraska, the Penn State wrestling team knew they'd be up for a challenge facing a squad with four wrestlers ranked in the top 12.

8515291.jpegDespite a number a tough matchups, the Nittany Lions powered ahead for a convincing 33-9 victory to remain undefeated on the season.

Leading the way for Penn State were sophomore Dylan Alton and junior Ed Ruth, whose victories against top 10 opponents highlighted the afternoon.

Alton, a returning All-American and currently ranked sixth in the nation, earned a hard fought 3-1 win over fourth-ranked James Green at 157.

After wrestling even for the majority of three periods, Alton managed to produce a late takedown with 15 seconds left to score the upset.

"I had a reshot and managed to get the angle that I wanted," said Alton. "Once I got his legs it was done from there."

Alton's match was eagerly anticipated, not only because it came against a top five wrestler, but also because it was his first appearance in a dual meet since Dec. 15 against Lock Haven.

Wrestling in Rec Hall for the first time in over a month, Alton seemed both relieved and excited to be back in dual competition.

"It was great to finally get back in the action," said Alton. "I felt really excited being out there today."

Despite his prolonged absence, Alton showed excellent conditioning and endurance in a match that went down to the wire.

Afterwards, he credited his ability to wrestle strong for the full seven minutes in his first match back to the extra training he put in over the past month as well as the open tournaments he competed in.

"Competition always helps keep you in shape and lets you work on your stuff to get better," said Alton. "The past month I just kept training and trying to move forward to achieve my goal of being a national champion."

Head coach Cael Sanderson also commented on Alton's conditioning and how he seemed to improve it recently.

"Conditioning is something that Dylan has really learned to use to his advantage," said Sanderson. "Its something he's clearly worked on and is getting better at."

As far as his actual performance, Sanderson seemed pleased with the effort Alton gave to give the Nittany Lions a victory at one of the few weights they were not favored in.

"Dylan knew he had a big match and he did a great job," said Sanderson. "That's a tough opponent and it's always a close match when they wrestle."

While Alton's win sent the Nittany Lions into halftime leading 16-6, the second half has highlighted by top-ranked Ed Ruth's dominant tech fall over eighth-ranked Josh Ihnen at 184.

After letting up a rare takedown to fall behind early 2-0, Ruth turned up the heat and scored continuously for the remainder of the match.

Seeming to get stronger the longer he wrestled, Ruth took a 7-3 lead into the final period before putting Ihnen on his back three times to notch the tech fall with a score of 18-3.

Ruth, who is not accustomed to giving up the first points to an opponent, seemed to reach a new level of focus and intensity after his early slip.

"Giving up little points like that really gets to me," said Ruth. "It makes you want to go at the kid even harder."

Sanderson had no complaint with the way Ruth wrestled, and complimented him on how he managed to manhandle someone who was thought to be one of his toughest opponents.

"That kid is a strong, experienced wrestler and Ed just kept plugging away," said Sanderson. "Once he started moving around and getting to the legs he did what he always does."

The Nittany Lions hit the road next weekend for two of the toughest tests of the season, facing fourth-ranked Iowa on Friday, and sixth-ranked Illinois on Sunday.

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