Photo Gallery - NCAA Session II
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Nittany Lion wrestlers looked like a team on mission Thursday night.
Boosted by four pins and two major decisions, Penn State turned in a dominant performance during the evening session of day one at the NCAA Championships inside Wells Fargo Arena.
Thanks to a span of three-straight pins during second-round action, Penn State posted a 10-1 overall mark, including a 6-0 record in the championship draws to extend its lead in the team standings heading into the third session on Friday.
Session II Standings
1. Penn State - 32.5
2. Oklahoma State - 29.0
3. Minnesota - 24.0
4. Iowa - 22.0
5. Oregon State - 16.0
Back-to-back-to-back pins from David Taylor, Matt Brown and Ed Ruth headlined a dominant session for the Nittany Lions in six matches in the championship round of 16. In addition to the three pins, Nico Megaludis, Dylan Alton and Quentin Wright all punched tickets into the NCAA quarterfinals, giving the Nittany Lions six wrestlers in the final eight of their respective weight classes.
Three Nittany Lions - Jordan Conaway, Bryan Pearsall and Andrew Alton - will all wrestle in the consolation second round on Friday morning after each won on Friday night in the consolation bracket.
Head coach Cael Sanderson often talks about wrestling with an attitude on the mat, and the Lions answered the bell with a terrific performance that will send them into day two with a 3.5-point cushion over Oklahoma State. Penn State tallied 17.5 bonus points on day one of the NCAA Championships.
A packed Wells Fargo Arena played host to 340 matches during the course of two sessions that lasted nearly a total of eight hours. Take a blow-by-blow look at the second session and look ahead at what the Lions have coming up on Friday morning.
125: #4 Nico Megaludis (26-3) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Fourth-seeded Nico Megludis battled past Christia Cullinan from Central Michigan for a spot in the championship quarterfinals. Megaludis took a 2-0 lead with a takedown in the first period. He added a second takedown in the second period for a 4-2 edge en route to a 5-2 victory over Cullinan. Megaludis will wrestle in the NCAA quarterfinals for the second-straight season.
Up Next: Megaludis will meet Dominic Parisi from Appalachian State in the championship quarterfinals.
157: #8 Dylan Alton (26-6) - 3-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Sophomore Dylan Alton joined Nico Megaludis in the quarterfinals with a major decision victory against Zac Cibula from Rider. Alton was aggressive from the opening whistle, scoring a takedown in the first period for a 2-1 lead. But like he did in his first two matches during session one, Alton got stronger as the match wore on. He had two takedowns in each of the final two periods and riding time to set the final score at 13-5.
Up Next: Alton will wrestle in the NCAA quarterfinals on Friday morning against top-seeded Jason Welch from Northwestern.
165: #2 David Taylor (28-1) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Like he did in his first match at the NCAA Championships, Taylor made it look easy against Zach Strickland from Appalachian State. The Lion junior scored two takedowns and a total of five near-fall points before turning Strickland on his back for a win by pinfall at the 2:41 mark. Taylor has now notched pins in six of his last seven matches at the NCAA Championships.
Up Next: Taylor moves on to face seventh-seeded Conrad Polz from Illinois in the championship quarterfinals on Friday morning.
174: #2 Matt Brown (27-4) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Moments after Taylor scored a pin at 165 pounds, second-seeded Matt Brown walked onto the same mat (mat 3) inside Wells Fargo Arena. Brown followed suit with a big move on the edge of the mat and scored a pin of his own at the 1:30 mark in the first period against Nick Bonaccorsi from Pittsburgh. Brown moved into the quarterfinals for the first time in his career with the victory.
Up Next: Brown moves on to face Tanner Weatherman from Iowa State in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.
184: #1 Ed Ruth (30-0) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Top-seeded Ed Ruth made it three pins in three matches for the Nittany Lions in the round of 16 with a trademark cradle move at the 3:42 mark against Kevin Radford from Arizona State. Ruth wrestled a combined 4:10 on Thursday in Wells Fargo Arena, winning twice by pin. In Friday evening's bout against Radford, Ruth led 2-1 after one period before finishing off the pin. He said after the match that every match gets tougher and tougher as you advance deeper into the draw.
Up Next: Ruth moves on to face Max Thomusseit from Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals on Friday.
197: #2 Quentin Wright (29-0) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Second-seeded Quentin Wright nearly completed a takedown in the first period of his match against Drexel's Brandon Palik, but fell just short. The bout remained scoreless until Wright secured an escape point to open the second period. Palik added an escape in the third, but a crucial third-period takedown from Wright proved to be the difference in a very close match.
Up Next: Wright moves on to face Scott Schiller from Minnesota in the championship quarterfinals on Friday morning.
133: #12 Jordan Conaway (17-9) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Despite trailing 2-1 after the opening period and 3-2 in the third against Dylan Hyder from Air Force, 12th-seeded Jordan Conaway battled his way to a 4-3 lead with a takedown in the final frame. Hyder squared the match at 4-4, which sent the contest into overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory period and two rideouts in the tiebreaker periods, the match went into a second sudden victory. Like he has numerous times in 2012-13, Conaway remained active and worked for a match-clinching takedown and a 6-4 win over Hyder.
Up Next: Conaway moves on in the consolation draw where he will meet Dan Harlow from Boston University.
141: Bryan Pearsall (24-10) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Senior Bryan Pearsall bounced back from his setback in the opening session with a dominant performance in consolation action on Thursday night against Frank Goodwin from Maryland. He tallied two sets of near-fall points for a 4-0 lead after one. His lead grew to 7-2 after two periods en route to a 10-2 major decision.
Up Next: Pearsall moves into the second round of the consolation draw where he will wrestle Steven Keith from Harvard on Friday morning.
149: #11 Andrew Alton (27-5) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Like Pearsall and Conaway, Andrew Alton roared back with a superb performance on Friday night against Daniel Young from Army. Alton registered two takedowns for an early 4-1 lead. From there, the Lion sophomore turned Young for a pin at the 2:05 mark, earning a spot in Friday's consolation second round.
Up Next: Alton moves on to face 12th-seeded Eric Grajales from Michigan in the second round of the consolation draw on Friday morning.
285: Jimmy Lawson (22-9) - 1-2 - Tournament Complete
In a pigtail match at 285 pounds, Jimmy Lawson captured a 5-4 victory over Adam Fager from Utah Valley. Lawson trailed 2-1 after one period, but battled to a takedown in the second on his way to a spot in the first round of the consolation draw. Lawson took control of his second bout against Michigan's Ben Apland with two takedowns in the opening two periods. Leading 4-3 after two, Lawson started the third in the bottom position. While working for an escape, Apland caught Lawson in a tough spot and turned the Lion sophomore for three near-fall points. With a rideout, Apland clinched a 7-4 victory. Lawson finished his first NCAA appearance with a 1-2 record.
Up Next: Tournament Complete
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VIDEO: NCAA Wrestling Session II Roundup
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