Jenkins and Wright Set for 2009 Big Ten Championship Finals
March 7, 2009
STATE COLLEGE, Pa.; March 7, 2009 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team continued its outstanding run at the 2009 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on Saturday night as eight Penn Staters remain alive in the two-day tournament. Head coach Troy Sunderland will send All-American Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) and true freshman Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) into tomorrow’s 2009 Big Ten Championship Finals.
With five NCAA qualifiers and three red-shirt freshmen still alive for a spot at nationals, Penn State finds itself in fifth place with 69.5 points after a very strong first day of action in the Bryce Jordan Center. Iowa leads the team race with 110, followed by a group of five teams within 16 points of each other. Illinois is in second with 85, Wisconsin is third with 83, Michigan fourth with 77.5, Penn State fifth with 71.5 and Northwestern sixth with 69.5
The second session began with all-important consolation bouts as five Nittany Lions wrestled to keep their NCAA hopes alive. Red-shirt freshmen Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) at 141, Tim Darling (Nazareth, Pa.) at 157 and Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) at HWT each won their first round consolation bouts to move forward in the bracket. Senior Jack Decker (Roseland, N.J.) lost his first consolation bout at 184 and went 0-2 and red-shirt freshman Clay Steadman (McKean, Pa.) lost his match-up at 197 and went 0-2 at 197. Molinaro and Darling each lost their next consolation bouts but are still alive for a trip to nationals, wrestling for the spot in tomorrow morning’s seventh place bouts at their respective weights. Wade, however, was not done. He shut-out No. 7 seed Eddie Phillips of Michigan in his next bout and will wrestle in the consolation semifinals tomorrow night, needing one more win to clinch a spot in St. Louis. All-American Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) got a bye in his first consolation bout and then downed 7th-seed Paul Young of Indiana to move into tomorrow’s consolation semifinals. Vallimont had already qualified for nationals.
Penn State had four semifinalists. Sophomore Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.) and senior Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), already qualifiers at 125 and 133, each fell in their semifinal match-ups against the first- and second-seeded wrestlers respectively. All-American Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) gutted out a 2-1 win over Northwestern’s Andrew Nadhir at 149 to set up a finals date tomorrow against No. 1 seed Brent Metcalf of Iowa. The duo met in last year’s NCAA championship tilt with Metcalf posting the win in St. Louis. True freshman Quentin Wright
Sunday’s single session starts at 12 p.m. with the finals set for 2 p.m. The 2009 Big Ten Championship Finals will air live on the Big Ten Network.
BOUT BY BOUT:
125: Sophomore Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.), already an NCAA qualifier and the No. 4 seed at 125, met No. 1 seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern in the semifinals. Pataky took the first solid shot of the bout, only to have it countered by Precin, who turned the quick move into a takedown and a 2-0 lead with 1:10 left. Pataky quickly escaped, however, and action moved back to the center circle. Pataky answered with his own takedown, a furious double leg that gave the Lion a 3-2 lead with :30 left in the opening period. Pataky then rode Precin out to hold that lead heading into the second stanza. Pataky chose down to begin the second period. Precin was able to maintain control of Pataky hard, working the clock down to zeros with the ride-out but picking up one stall warning in the process. Trailing 3-2 but with a 1:58 riding time edge, the top-seeded Wildcat chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-3 tie. But Precin’s riding time edge was solid and looked to be the difference. Pataky, however, continued to shoot and nearly took the lead with a takedown. But the Wildcat countered the Nittany Lions sophomore and picked up the takedown himself. He then turned Pataky to his back for three back points and then pinned the Nittany Lion at the 6:12 mark. The loss moved Pataky down to the consolation round tomorrow morning, where he will face Illinois’ B.J. Futrell, the No. 8 seed.
133: All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), like Pataky an NCAA qualifier, met Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez in the semifinals at 133. Gomez was seeded No. 2 while Strayer held the No. 6 seed. Gomez turned a solid single leg into a takedown at the 2:01 mark to take an early 2-0 lead. Strayer quickly escaped to cut the lead to 2-1 and action returned to the center circle. Neither man managed another solid scoring chance and action moved to the second period with Gomez holding onto the slim lead. Strayer chose down to start the second period. While Strayer worked to escape, Gomez gave up a point on an illegal hold and tied the score at 2-2. Strayer then escaped at the 1:15 mark to lead 3-2 with Gomez holding a 1:04 riding time edge. The Spartan quickly gained control of Strayer’s ankle again, however, and turned it into another takedown and a 4-3 lead. Strayer escaped with :30 left to tie the score at 4-4 heading into the third period. Gomez chose down to start the final period and quickly reversed Strayer to up his lead to 6-4. Strayer escaped with 1:10 left to cut Gomez’ lead to just one, but the Spartan All-American had built up a solid riding time edge. Strayer scrambled for a late takedown, but Gomez was able to counter a late Strayer shot and push on to a 9-5 win. The loss sent Strayer down to the consolation round where he will take on No. 4 seed Jayson Ness of Minnesota tomorrow morning.
141: Red-shirt freshman Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) looked to keep his hopes for an NCAA berth alive with a consolation bout against No. 8 seed Andrae Hernandez of Indiana. Molinaro wasted no time in taking an early lead, getting a takedown at the 2:29 mark to go up 2-0. He then put together a dominating ride, building up a large riding time edge while working to turn the Hoosier. Molinaro turned Hernandez for two back points before Hernandez managed an escape with :12 left in the first period. Leading 4-1, Molinaro chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 5-1 lead, still maintaining a 1:53 riding time edge. Molinaro then worked Hernandez through the next minute-plus and carried that same 5-1 lead into the third period. Hernandez chose neutral to start the third period, but Molinaro quickly got in on a high single. Hernandez was able to force a stalemate, however, at the 1:40 mark. After the reset, Hernandez gained control of Molinaro’s right leg and notched his first takedown at the 1:10 mark, cutting Molinaro loose. Leading 6-3 with a guaranteed riding time point, Molinaro kept the pressure on Hernandez and worked for a bout clinching takedown on the edge of the mat. But Hernandez was able to work his way out of bounds with :30 remaining. Molinaro nearly added another takedown, but time ran out on his final move. Still, the hard-fought 7-3 win kept the freshman alive and moved him into the next round of consolations.
With the winner clinching a spot at NCAAs and the loser being sent to a critical seventh/eighth place bout, Molinaro took on No. 4 seed Mike Thorn of Minnesota in the next round of consolations. Bierschenk got the first takedown of the match with just :43 left in the opening period and then rode Molinaro out to lead 2-0 after the first period. Bierschenk chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Molinaro to up his lead to 4-0 before the Nittany Lion could escape. The duo battled evenly for the remainder of the second stanza, allowing the Gopher to hold the three point lead with two minutes left to wrestle. Molinaro chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 4-2 deficit. Riding time was not a factor. The Nittany Lion freshman then used a strong double leg to lift Yohn off the mat and tie the bout at 4-4 with a takedown at the 1:10 mark. Yohn was able to scramble out of trouble and escape to a 5-4 lead with :20 left. The Gopher was then able to counter a late Molinaro shot and ice the bout with a late takedown. The 7-4 loss moves Molinaro into tomorrow morning’s seventh-place bout with a trip to nationals on the line. He will face 7th-seeded Ryan Prater of Illinois.
149: Junior All-American Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) met Northwestern’s Andrew Nadhir in one semifinal match at 149. Jenkins was the No. 2 seed while Nadhir held the No. 6 seed and the winner of the bout would clinch a spot in the NCAA Championships. Jenkins gained control of Nadhir’s right ankle and tried to pull him into the circle for a takedown. But Nadhir was able to move off the mat and force a reset. Jenkins worked three different shots on Nadhir, trying to pull the Wildcat into play for a takedown. But each time, Nadhir was able to crawl out of bounds and keep the bout scoreless after one period. Nadhir chose down to start the second period, but Jenkins was a force on top, keeping control of Nadhir until just :50 remained in the period. Nadhir’s escape gave the Wildcat a 1-0 lead but Jenkins had 1:10 in riding time. Nadhir managed to escape two more solid Jenkins shots, getting out of bounds each time, and hold his 1-0 lead heading into the final period. Jenkins chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie, maintaining his riding time edge as well. Jenkins battled Nadhir evenly for the rest of the period and with :05 left, nearly notched a takedown. But Nadhir was able to work the time off the clock and Jenkins escaped with a 2-1 win and earn a trip to the Big Ten finals tomorrow. Jenkins’ win sets up the match that many fans came to see where he will face top-seed Brent Metcalf of Iowa in a rematch of last year’s NCAA title bout. The win also secured Jenkins a spot at NCAAs, becoming Penn State’s fifth qualifier.
157: Red-shirt freshman Tim Darling (Nazareth, Pa.) took on No. 8 seed Ben Jordan of Wisconsin in his first wrestle-back bout at 157, looking to stay alive for an NCAA spot. Darling came out firing early, nearly notching a quick double-leg :20 into the bout. But action moved off the mat and back to the center circle. Darling countered a Jordan shot and notched his first takedown at the 2:04 mark to take an early 2-0 lead. Darling then put together a strong ride, keeping his offensive position intact. The strong ride-out allowed Darling to lead 2-0 with 2:04 in riding time heading into the second period (he had two near fall points waved off as time ran out). Darling chose down to start the second stanza and quickly reversed Jordan to move out to a 4-0 lead. But Jordan answered with a reversal of his own at the :38 mark and Darling led 5-2 after he escaped. Trailing 5-2 heading into the final period, Jordan chose down. Darling rode the Badger long enough to clinch the bonus point and then put worked for back points. Jordan was not able to escape Darling’s strong ride until just :08 remained in the period. With the riding time point, Darling notched an impressive 6-3 win over the eighth seed and moved to within one win of an NCAA berth. Darling moved into the next round where he would meet Purdue’s Colton Salazar. Salazar, however, was able to up his lead to 4-1 with a takedown at the :40 mark. Darling managed to escape before the period ended and trailed 4-2 with 2:00 left to wrestle. Darling chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 deficit (riding time was not a factor). Salazar added another late takedown to post a 7-4 decision and push Darling into the 7th place bout tomorrow morning. Darling will battle Michigan State’s Anthony Jones, the 7th-seed, with an NCAA spot on the line.
With the winner earning an NCAA bid and the loser being left with more work to do in the seventh place bout, Salazar took the lead early, ducking under Darling for an early takedown and a 2-1 lead (after a Darling escape). The duo then battled evenly for the remainder of the first period, allowing the Boilermaker to lead 2-1 heading into the second stanza. Salazar chose neutral to start the middle period and quickly shot in on a high single. But Darling countered and nearly worked Salazar’s shoulders to the mat for a pin. But the Boilermaker managed to force a reset at the 1:00 mark and hold onto his slim lead.
165: All-American Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), already an NCAA to qualifier, had a first round bye in consolations at 165 and then took on No. 7 Paul Young of Indiana. Vallimont notched the first takedown at the 1:08 mark and dominated Young for the remainder of the period, riding the Hoosier out to lead 2-0 after one period. Vallimont chose neutral to start the middle period and tacked on another takedown to lead 4-0. Trailing by four and needing takedowns, Young chose top to try and turn Vallimont for back points. But the Nittany Loin quickly escaped and then turned in on the Hoosier to add another takedown to push his lead to 7-0. Young escaped before the period ended, but Vallimont was able to roll on to a convincing 8-1 win with the bonus point. The victory moves Vallimont into tomorrow’s consolation semifinals where he will meet No. 5 Luke Manuel of Purdue.
174: True freshman Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), who thrilled the Jordan Center crowd with two wins earlier today, took on Iowa’s Jay Borschel in the semifinals at 174. Wright was the three seed while Borschel was seeded second. Wright wasted no time in taking an early lead, using a swift double leg to take Borschel down and lead 2-0 just eight seconds into the bout. Borschel escaped :28 seconds later and action resumed in the center circle with Wright up 2-1. Wright nearly notched another takedown off a reset, but Borschel was able to scramble out of bounds at the 2:10 mark. The Nittany Lion freshman was undaunted, however, and used a powerful high double leg to move out to a 4-2 lead after a Borschel escape. The duo battled evenly for the last :90 and Wright carried the 4-2 lead into the second period. Borschel chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 deficit. Borschel looked to shoot on Wright, but the Nittany Lion freshman was able to step away from the Hawkeye’s shots long enough to set up his own offense. After action moved into the middle of the mat, Wright launched another strong high double for a third takedown and a 6-3 lead. Borschel quickly escaped and then took Wright down with :20 left to tie the bout at 6-6. Borschel nearly turned Wright for back points but the Lion was able to keep from giving up any near fall points and the bout moved to the third period tied 6-6. Wright chose down to start the final period and escaped at the 1:15 mark to take a 7-6 lead. He then quickly moved into Borschel and took the Hawkeye down of a 9-7 lead with 1:02 left after a quick Borschel escape. With :53 left and riding time not a factor, a reset ensued and Wright continued to power through the Hawkeye All-American for another takedown and an 11-8 lead. Borschel, who took third at nationals last year, was able to add a late takedown at the buzzer, but it was not enough and the young Nittany Lion notched the thrilling 11-10 win. The victory puts Wright into tomorrow’s Big Ten title bout against No. 1 seed Steve Luke of Michigan.
184: Senior Jack Decker (Roseland, N.J.) hoped to keep his season alive at 184 with a consolation match-up against Minnesota’s Sonny Yohn. Decker worked an early single leg, looking for a takedown seconds into the bout, but Yohn was able to work his way out of bounds and force a reset at the 1:40 mark. Decker then got in deep on Yohn’s right ankle, looking to pull Yohn in for a takedown with :30 left. But Yohn scrambled his way off the mat and forced a reset. Tied 0-0, Decker chose down to start the second period. The senior could not work his way out from Yohn’s ride for the entire two minutes. Leading 1-0 with 2:00 in riding time, Yohn chose down to start the final period. Decker manage to ride Yohn long enough to work off the riding time point before Yohn took an injury timeout with just :59 left. Decker, needing to ride Yohn out to force overtime or turn him for the win, was strong over the last minute and rode Yohn out himself. The ride out forced the 0-0 match into a first sudden victory period. Decker gained control of Yohn’s ankle and nearly worked the Gopher for a takedown with :30 left. But Yohn managed to work his way into a scramble that wound out the clock, forcing the first of two overtime periods. Decker was down in the first session and was quickly turned for two back points, giving Yohn a 2-0 lead heading into the second overtime period. With Yohn down, Decker needed to turn the Gopher for a chance to keep his season alive. But Yohn was able to keep from getting turned and the Gopher escaped with a hard-fought 2-0 (OT) decision. The loss ended Decker’s tournament as the Nittany Lion went 0-2 on the day.
197: Red-shirt freshman Clay Steadman (McKean, Pa.) met No. 4 seed Gordon Bierschenk of Minnesota in his 197-pound consolation bout, looking to keep his season alive. Steadman battled the fourth-ranked Gopher hard for two minutes, but Biershenk worked out to a 2-0 lead with a takedown with just over a minute left in the opening period. Steadman escaped to cut Bierschenk’s lead to 2-1 heading into the second period, where the Gopher chose down to start. A quick Bierschenk escape put him up 4-1 and then two back points gave the Gopher a 6-1 lead with a sizeable riding time edge heading into the third period. Bierschenk would prove too much for the young Nittany Lion in the third period and move on to a 13-4 major decision. The loss ended Steadman’s tournament run with an 0-2 mark.
HWT: Red-shirt freshman Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) took to the mat in his heavyweight consolation bout against Ohio State’s Corey Morrison, the No. 6 seed. Morrison battled Wade hard for the first period and got a takedown just over a minute into the bout to take an early 2-1 lead after a Wade escape. Wade answered with his own takedown at the 1:10 mark to take a 3-2 lead of his own. Wade then dominated Morrison on top, turning the Buckeye for three back points and nearly getting a pin as the period ended. But the clock hit zeros before Wade could get the call and the Nittany Lion freshmen led 6-2 with 1:10 in riding time after one period. Morrison chose neutral to start the second period. The duo battled evenly for the first 1:30, then Wade countered a Morrison shot, rolled behind the Buckeye and took an 8-2 lead with a quick takedown in front of the Penn State corner. Another ride out allowed the Lion rookie to lead 8-2 with 1:38 in riding time after two periods. Wade chose the offensive position to start the final period, hoping to turn the Buckeye for near fall points. The Nittany Lion turned Morrison for two back points, but was quickly reversed. Still, the quick flurry gave Wade a 10-4 lead with 1:30 left to wrestle. Morrison cut Wade after a reset, giving the Lion an 11-4 lead. Morrison added another takedown and release to cut Wade’s lead to 12-6 with :40 left. Another takedown and release gave Wade a 13-8 lead and the riding time point allowed the Nittany Lion to post a strong 14-8 decision over the sixth-seeded Morrison, moving onto the next round of consolations with hopes of an NCAA bid still alive.
Wade met No. 7 seed Eddie Phillips in his next consolation bout. The big men battled through a scoreless first period with neither man finding an opening to launch an attack. Tied 0-0, Phillips chose down to start the second period and the young Nittany Lion big man made him pay. Wade wrapped Phillips’ shoulders up and turned the Wolverine for a three-point near fall, nearly pinning him in the process. Wade dominated Phillips for the remainder of the period and carried the 3-0 lead into the final stanza. Wade chose down to start the final period and escaped to a 4-0 lead. While Phillips worked for a takedown, Wade countered with his own shots and kept the Wolverine from any serious scoring threats. Wade was able to maintain his shut-out and, with the bonus point, post a convincing 5-0 win. The victory moves Wade into the consolation semifinals where he will meet 4th-seeded John Wise of Illinois. The Big Ten only received five automatic qualifiers at heavyweight, meaning the young Lions’ work is not done yet. Wade must win one more match to earn a spot at nationals.
2009 Big Ten Championships
Team Standings – End Session Two
1: Iowa, 110.0
Penn State’s record overall through session two: 13-11
Penn State Agate (seed/Intermat/Coaches/RPI)
125 – Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield HS), So., S4/14/13/13
133 – Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa./Forest Hills HS), Sr., S6/9/9/6
141 – Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J./Southern Regional HS), Fr., NS/NR/25/26
149 – Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial HS), Jr., S2/2/2/6
157 – Tim Darling (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth HS), Fr., NS/NR/NR/NR
165 – Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Jefferson Twp. HS), Jr., S6/NR/20/NR
174 – Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area HS), Fr., S3/16/14/11
184 – Jack Decker (Roseland, N.J./Seton Hall Prep), Sr., NS/NR/NR/NR
197 – Clay Steadman (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) NS/NR/NR/NR
HWT – Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio/St. Peter Chanel HS) NS/NR/NR/NR