Nittany Lions Send 12 to Quarterfinals after Day One of 2014 Southern Scuffle
Jan. 1, 2014
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 in the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index, are in a three-way battle for the team title after the opening day of the 2014 Southern Scuffle. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad, No. 2 Minnesota and No.3 Oklahoma State are all within three points of each other in a tight team race.
Heading into day two, each and every one of Penn State's 17 grapplers remains alive. A total of 12 Penn Staters will compete in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning while five others will wrestle in consolation action. Penn State has 53.0 points, just a half point shy of Minnesota's 53.5. Oklahoma State is close behind at 50.5.
The Nittany Lions entered the tournament with 12 seeded wrestlers. All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) is the No. 2 seed at 125, red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) is the No. 7 seed at 133, sophomore Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) is the No. 12 seed at 133, true freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) is the No. 2 seed at 141, sophomore Luke Frey (Montoursville, Pa.) is the No. 10 seed at 149, senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) is the No. 9 seed at 157, All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) is the No. 1 seed at 165, All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) is the No. 2 seed at 174, All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) is the No. 1 seed at 184, sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) is the No. 3 seed at 197, junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) is the No. 4 seed at 285 and classmate Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) is the No. 10 seed at 285.
Rounding out Penn State's contingent at the tournament is junior Nate Morgan (McCook, Neb.) at 141, red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) at 149, red-shirt freshman Wes Phipps (Grove City, Pa.) at 184, and unattached wrestlers Garret Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.) at 165 and Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) at 184.
Penn State rolled through the first round with a solid 7-2 record plus eight byes, meaning 15 of Penn State's 17 competitors moved into the second round. Round two was even more impressive for the Nittany Lions as the squad went 14-1. Penn State went 2-0 in its first consolation round and headed into the evening session with a 23-3 overall mark.
Sanderson's Lions went 12-2 in the third round of the championship bracket, sending 12 wrestlers into tomorrow morning's quarterfinals at nine of the ten weights. The team went 3-0 in the third consolation round and ends day one with a gaudy 38-5 record. The Nittany Lions collected 11 majors, two tech falls, seven pins and one forfeit. Only one wrestler scores at each weight (whichever wrestler has earned the most points at any given time).
Leading the charge for Penn State's quarterfinalists was junior All-American Nico Megaludis. Ranked No. 2 nationally, Megaludis went 3-0 on the day with two majors, including a dominating 12-3 win over Minnesota's Jordan Kingsley in the third round. At 133, Penn State pushed two wrestlers into the quarters. Freshman Jimmy Gulibon, ranked No. 17 nationally at 133, went 3-0, including a swift 5-4 win over Virginia's Joe Martinez in the third round. Sophomore Jordan Conaway went 2-0 to move into the quarters, including a thrilling 5-3 win over No. 12 Shelton Mack of Pittsburgh in the third round.
True freshman Zain Retherford, ranked No. 2 at 141, was outstanding at 141, going 2-0 with a major and a pin. He got his fall at the 2:30 mark over North Carolina's Joey Moon in the third round and improved to 14-0 with the wins. Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz continued to impress at 149, rolling to a 2-0 mark and heading to tomorrow's quarterfinals. Beitz downed No. 9 Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State in the second round, his second win over a ranked wrestler this year. All-American David Taylor continued to roll at 165. Taylor, ranked No. 1, improved to 14-0 on the year with a 2-0 performance including a tech fall and a pin. The pin was the 45th of his career, putting him just eight shy of Penn State's all-time record.
All-American Matt Brown rolled into the quarterfinals with a 3-0 day, including a forfeit win, a pin and a major. Brown improves to 15-0 on the year and is ranked No. 3 nationally at 174. All-American Ed Ruth kept his quest to be a four-time Scuffle champion alive with a dominating 2-0 day. Both wins came by pin, including a first period (2:51) fall over Ohio's Ryan Garringer in the third round. Ruth is now 14-0 on the year and has won 82 straight matches dating back to his freshman year. True freshman Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), wrestling unattached, also advanced to the quarterfinals at 184 with a 3-0 day. McCutcheon had a pin and posted a thrilling 3-2 (tb) win over Cornell's William George in round three.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh, ranked No. 3 at 197, rolled into the quarterfinals with a 2-0 day, both majors. His 17-4 major over Cornell's Jace Bennett moved him into tomorrow's quarterfinals and improved his record to 13-0 on the year. Junior Jimmy Lawson went 2-0 at 285, including a 4-1 win over Old Dominion's Matt Tourdot in the third round, and will wrestle in the quarterfinals. Classmate Jon Gingrich also advanced to the quarters, going 3-0 including a 5-0 win over No. 17 Amar Dhesi of Oregon State in the third round.
Senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) dropped a tough 2-1 decision to Central Michigan's Luke Smith in the third round at 157. Vollrath went 2-1 on the day and will wrestle in the fourth round of consolations tomorrow. True freshman Garret Hammond, unattached at 165, dropped a tough 11-2 major to No. 3 Nick Sulzer of Virginia in the third round. Hammond went 2-1 on the day and wrestles in consolation action tomorrow morning.
Nate Morgan remained alive at 141 with a solid 3-1 (sv) win over Kent State's Kyle Bauer, getting the takedown with just :17 left. Morgan went 1-1 on the day and will wrestle in the conso fourth round tomorrow morning. Sophomore Luke Frey is still alive at 149, going 2-1 on the day with a pin and a major. Frey will also wrestle in consos tomorrow morning. Red-shirt freshman Wes Phipps advanced in consolation action with a strong 10-1 major over South Dakota's Ben Schwery in his final bout of the day. Phipps went 2-1 and is alive in conso round four tomorrow.
Penn State is wrestling without juniors Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 7 at 149 and No. 5 at 157, respectively. The duo competed in the Wilkes Open on Saturday as they continue to work their way back from off-season shoulder surgeries.
The two-day Scuffle continues tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. with the quarterfinals and will conclude with the championship finals at 7 p.m. Penn State's next home dual is set for Sunday, Jan. 12, when the Lions welcome Purdue to Rec Hall for a 2 p.m. showdown.
With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the remaining Rec Hall duals. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.