Nittany Lion Wrestlers Roll Over Michigan 34-7 to Claim Share of Big Ten Regular Season Title
Feb. 5, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestlers hammered visiting Michigan 34-7 in their Big Ten dual finale to claim a share of the Big Ten regular season dual meet championship. The Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts, including seven straight to close out the dual.
True freshman Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 9 at 125, put on a takedown show in the first bout, posting 10 takedowns on route to a 22-10 major over Michigan's Grant Pizzo (with 3:19 in riding time). No. 16 Zac Stevens downed Nittany Lion sophomore Frank Martellotti (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 11-7 at 133 to cut Penn State's lead to one before No. 1 Kellen Russell majored Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) 12-2 at 141 to give UM a 7-4 lead.
Three-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), undefeated and ranked No. 1 nationally, hammered No. 7 Eric Grajales, posting a 6-1 win with 3:13 in riding time. Red-shirt freshman Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 157, followed that up with a 5-4 victory over Wolverine senior Brandon Zeerip to give Penn State a 10-7 lead heading into the halftime break.
Top-ranked sophomore All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) hammered No. 14 Dan Yates at 165, posting a 15-0 technical fall at the 5:25 mark. Fellow sophomore All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 174, then dominated No. 8 Justin Zeerip to the tune of a 12-1 major with 3:50 in riding time. Two-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 184 as the defending national champion, then clinched the dual victory with a pin of UM's Hunter Collins at the 5:25 mark.
With true freshman Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) cleared to wrestle but held out as a precaution, red-shirt freshman 174-pounder Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) stepped up two weights once more and this time took down a ranked wrestler. Brown posted a late takedown to post a 3-1 win over No. 15 Max Huntley. Senior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), ranked No. 6 at heavyweight, capped off a resounding win by pinning No. 10 Ben Apland at the 3:58 mark to give the Nittany Lions the lopsided 34-7 win.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-1 overall, and 7-1 in the Big Ten, while Michigan falls to 6-5, 4-4. Penn State's 7-1 conference mark sets a new school record for Big Ten wins in a season and helped the team share the conference's regular season dual meet crown with Minnesota. Penn State's dominating performance showed up in the match's stats as well. The Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts and picked up ten bonus points off two pins, a tech fall and two majors. The Nittany Lions owned a lopsided 24-9 edge in takedowns.
The Nittany Lions will head west to take on Utah Valley in a non-conference dual set for Saturday, Feb. 11, at 9 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Mountain (local to site). Penn State's final home dual of the season takes place on Sunday, Feb. 19, when the Lions entertain No. 9 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. While seats for the dual are now sold out, a limited number of Standing Room Only tickets remain. Fans can purchase these SRO ducats by calling 1-800-NITTANY or in person at the Bryce Jordan Center box office.
The full season slate of live dual meet and tournament action will air locally on WRSC AM (1390 AM) with Friday evening duals being simulcast on WRSC FM (103.1 FM). Lock Haven's WBPZ (1230 AM) will also carry the entire season live, WIEZ (670 AM) in Huntingdon/Lewistown carries all Sunday events and further affiliates may be added soon. The regular season schedule of radio broadcasts will be streamed live at www.GoPSUsports.com as part of Penn State's All-Access package, which will also feature live video streams of many home events. Ticket information is accessed easily online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets/m-wrestl-tickets.html . Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstatepat and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2011-12 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
133: Nittany Lion Frank Martellotti (Pittsburgh, Pa.) took on No. 16 Zac Stevens at 133. Martellotti and the ranked Stevens battled evenly for the first half of the opening period before Martellotti took a blood time out with the bout scoreless. Stevens got in on a single leg on the reset and took Martellotti down at the 1:09 mark to take a 2-1 lead after a quick Martellotti escape. Stevens countered a Martellotti shot at the :30 mark for another takedown and, with a ride out, led 4-1 after the opening period. Stevens chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Martellotti to lead 6-1 just :20 into action. Stevens then controlled the Nittany Lion sophomore until the 1:00 mark before he escaped and cut the lead to 6-2. Down by four, Martellotti chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 6-3 deficit. But Stevens moved around Martellotti for another takedown to up his lead to 8-4 at the 1:28 mark. Stevens tacked on one more takedown on and then Martellotti took the Wolverine senior down for a takedown of his own to cut the lead to 10-7 at the :45 mark. Martellotti worked to turn Stevens for back points, but Stevens was able to kill the clock to escape with an 11-7 victory.
141: Facing his second top-five opponent in three nights, Penn State junior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) met top-ranked Kellen Russell at 141. Russell notched the first takedown early to lead 2-1 with 2:12 on the clock as Pearsall escaped quickly. Pearsall fought off a couple more Russell scoring attacks over the next minute before Russell connected on a high single leg for another takedown with :40 left. Russell then added three back points as the period wound down to lead 7-1 after one. Russell chose down to start the second period and reversed Pearsall to up his lead to 9-1. Trailing by eight, Pearsall chose down to start the final period and was allowed up to a 9-2 deficit. Pearsall countered a Russell shot as the bout wound down, nearly notching a takedown. But Russell was able to fight off the final blast and added a late takedown and riding time point to post the 12-2 major decision.
149: Three-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), ranked No. 1 at 149, met Michigan's Eric Grajales, who was ranked No. 7. Molinaro set the tempo early, forcing Grajales backwards from each starting whistle before connecting on a fast high single duck-under to lead 2-0 with 1:57 on the clock. Grajales escaped quickly but Molinaro used another high single to take Grajales down and then began working for a turning combination. Molinaro dominated action from the top, riding Grajales out to lead 4-1 with 1:26 in riding time after the opening period. Molinaro chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. The Lion continued to force Grajales backwards as the Wolverine worked the edge of the mat. Molinaro fought off Grajales first shot at the :12 mark of the second period and led 5-1 with 1:13 riding time after two. Grajales chose down to start the final period but could not break free of Molinaro as the Lion senior tacked on over a minute's more riding time to clinch the bonus point. The top-ranked Nittany Lion then kept Grajales bellied out for the remainder of the match, posting the 6-1 major with 3:13 riding time.
157: Red-shirts freshman Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 157, took on Brandon Zeerip. Alton took Zeerip down right out of the gates and led 2-1 after a quick Zeerip escape. Alton nearly added a second score, but Zeerip was able to work his way out of bounds in front of the Michigan bench to keep the bout close with 1:38 left. The senior Wolverine countered an Alton shot and took a 3-2 lead with :24 on the clock. A ride out allowed the Wolverine to lead 3-2 after one period. Zeerip chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 4-2 lead. Alton gained control of Zeerip's left thigh but was countered and action moved out of bounds with the Nittany Lion still down by two. Alton drove through Zeerip at the :20 mark and worked his way for a tying takedown and rode the Wolverine out to tie the bout at 4-4 after two periods. Alton chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-4 lead. Alton nearly connected on another high double, but Zeerip fought off the move and shifted action out of bounds at the 1:00 mark with Alton still leading by one. Alton fought off a late Zeerip flurry and escaped with a 5-4 win, putting Penn State up 10-7 heading into the lockerroom.
165: All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, met No. 14 Dan Yates. Taylor used shoulder control to toss Yates to the mat at the 1:50 mark for his first takedown. He then maintained control of Yates for over a minute and gained control of his arm for three back points and a 5-0 lead after one period (with 1:54 riding time). Taylor chose down to start the second period and steadily worked his way to an escaped and a 6-0 lead. Taylor turned a low ankle pick into a takedown and four near fall points (three back points and blood time) to up his lead to 12-0 at the :28 mark. Taylor then rode Yates out to carry that lead into the third period. Yates chose down to start the final period but Taylor made quick work of him, turning him for a final three-point near fall and a 15-0 technical fall at the 5:25 mark.
174: All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 174, faced off against No. 8 Justin Zeerip. Ruth wasted no time in getting in on a single leg, gaining control of Zeerip off the opening whistle and taking the eighth-ranked Wolverine down for an early lead. Ruth spent the bulk of the period in control, looking for an opportunity to lock a cradle and turn Zeerip to his back. Zeerip got hit for a first stall warning at the 1:20 mark. Ruth continued to control the action from the top position for the remainder of the period, picking up a late stall point to lead 3-0 with 2:37 riding time after one. Ruth chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 4-0 lead. The rest of the period was uneventful and Ruth led 4-0 after two. Zeerip chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 4-1 deficit. Ruth countered a Zeerip shot and notched a takedown on the edge of the mat to lead 6-1 with 1:27 left. Zeerip gave up another stall point and Ruth led 7-1 with a clinched riding time point with :48 left. Ruth then turned the Wolverine for three near fall points and a 10-1 lead. Another stall point and a riding time point gave Ruth a 12-1 major with 3:50 riding time.
184: Defending national champion Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 184, met Michigan's Hunter Collins. Wright spent the first minute looking for a chance to score and broke through with a takedown at the 1:58 mark. The Lion junior then spent a minute work for back points and turned him for three with :50 on the clock, taking a 5-0 lead. Collins escaped but Wright used a slick low single to take him down with just :01 on the clock to lead 7-1 after the opening period. Collins chose down to start the second period and escaped, but Wright quickly caught him in a throw, tossing him to mat for a blistering pin at the 4:22 mark that sent the sell-out Lion crowd to its feet.
197: True freshman Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 12 at 197, was once again held out as a precaution. Red-shirt freshman Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), who weighed in at 174, moved up two weights once more and this time met No. 15 Max Huntley of Michigan. The duo battled through an even first period with neither man finding a chance to score. Huntley chose down to start the second period and worked his way to an escape and a 1-0 lead. McIntosh was the aggressor during the third period, forcing Huntley to the edge of the mat throughout the period. Brown could not break through to score and chose down to start the third period. The Lion freshman escaped to a 1-1 tie with 1:40 on the clock and immediately began forcing Huntley backwards once again. Huntley got hit with a first stall warning with 1:25 on the clock. Brown worked to get in on a high single, but Huntley was able to fight off the move and keep the bout tied at 1-1 with :30 on the clock. Huntley then shot, but Brown countered the move, took the ranked 197-pounder down and sent the crowd to its feet once more with a 3-1 win.
285: Senior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), ranked No. 6 at heavyweight, battled No. 10 Ben Apland of Michigan. Wade got the bout's first takedown early, using a low single to open up a 2-0 lead early. Wade then dominated the action from the top position, turning Apland to his back for three near fall points and a 5-0 lead with 1:00 on the clock. Wade reset himself and gained control of Apland's arm and turning him once more for three back points. Wade led 8-0 with 2:37 riding time after one period. Wade chose top to start the second period