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Gingrich Finishes off Shutout With a Bang

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - For Penn State heavyweight Jon Gingrich, it was déjà vu all over again.

Wrestling in a dual meet for the first time since he defeated Indiana's eighth-ranked Adam Chalfant to preserve a Penn State shutout on Dec. 9, the redshirt sophomore found himself in a similar position Sunday afternoon.

8473085.jpegWith the Nittany Lions leading Michigan State 38-0 going into the final match of the day, Gingrich once again came face to face against one of the nation's top heavyweight's with the shutout on the line, this time fourth ranked Michael McClure.

"I didn't think about the shutout as much as I did during the Indiana meet," said Gingrich. "It didn't cross my mind until the match before."

Once again, Gingrich delivered, taking down McClure late in the third period and adding two near fall points to come away with a dramatic 5-3 win to finish off the 41-0 victory.

Like the Indiana meet, the sell out crowd in Rec Hall reacted by giving Gingrich the loudest ovation of the afternoon.

"The reaction of the crowd was pretty crazy," said Gingrich. "You can't replace that feeling with anything else."

Gingrich, who recently won the starting heavyweight spot over fellow sophomore Jimmy Lawson, was praised after the meet by head coach Cael Sanderson.

Sanderson complimented Gingrich on his toughness and strength, while stating that he believes this victory will be a springboard for Gingrich's future success.

"For Jon, I really think this kind of success will help him build confidence," said Sanderson. "If he can go out there and have a good time then he's going to do really well."

Gingrich's performance also impressed many of his teammates, including senior James English.

"That was an awesome opportunity for Jon and he really took it to the guy," said English. "I'm not one to get excited, but by the end of that match I was on my feet."

English was impressive in his own right on Sunday, defeating senior Dan Osterman 6-0 at 149 pounds.

After grabbing an early lead with a takedown in the first period, English displayed excellent defense in preserving the shutout.

English, who wrestled in place of Andrew Alton, was extremely motivated to perform well, as it was his first appearance in a dual meet since Nov. 18 at West Virginia.

"Seeing your teammates out there wrestling great makes you want to go out and do the same thing," said English. "I was really pumped up and ready to go."

Another Nittany Lion who gave a strong performance despite being new to the lineup was junior James Vollrath, who wrestled at 157 in place of Dylan Alton.

Making his first dual appearance of the season, Vollrath used a late takedown to score a 6-4 victory over 19th-ranked David Cheza.

Although he is not a regular member of the starting lineup, Vollrath seemed confident in his ability to perform well and glad for the opportunity to showcase his skills.

"I'm prepared to face anybody any time I have to wrestle," said Vollrath. "I just tried to go out there and wrestle my match."

While both English and Vollrath rarely find themselves in the starting lineup, their victories did not come as a surprise to their head coach.

Sanderson stated afterwards that he expected both of them to perform well, based off of what he sees from them on a daily basis.

"They're both tough kids and they both had to wrestle well and did," said Sanderson. "I'm really happy for them."

The Nittany Lions wrestle again next Friday, when they take on Wisconsin at home in Rec Hall.

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