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Cyler Sanderson Claims Big Ten Title at 157 to Become Penn State's 20th Conference Champion

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March 7, 2010

ANN ARBOR, Mich.; March 7, 2010 - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team had a solid final day at the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships and held onto fifth place for its best finish since 2007. Senior Cyler Sanderson (Heber City, Utah) finished off a perfect run at 157 with a win in the title bout to claim the 2010 Big Ten Championship and become Penn State's 20th Big Ten titlist.

Sanderson used three takedowns to dominate Purdue's Colton Salazar, the top seed at 157. The title is Penn State's first Big Ten Champion since Phil Davis claimed the crown in 2008. Sanderson becomes Penn State's 20th Big Ten Champion (among 14 different wrestlers). His 3-0 mark at the tournament sends him to nationals with a 28-4 record.

Four other Nittany Lions punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships, giving Penn State a total of six automatic qualifiers while one more will await the announcement of the at-large bids on Wednesday. Senior Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) won his first bout of the day at 165 to clinch a bid to NCAAs and move into the consolation finals where he beat Iowa's Ryan Morningstar. Vallimont was working to pull the Hawkeye back in bounds as he was trying to finish off a winning takedown, leading 4-2, when Morningstar was injured and could not continue, giving Vallimont the win by injury default. Vallimont went 3-1 over the weekend and heads to Omaha with a 26-7 mark. Classmate David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) earned his first trip to NCAAs with an early win at 184. Erwin then dropped a hard-fought 4-1 decision to Ohio State's Mike Pucillo in the consolation finals. Erwin's 3-2 tournament and fourth place finish have him making his first trip to the NCAA Championships with a 29-8 record.



Sophomore Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) was upset in his first action of the day and moved into the fifth place bout against Michigan's Ben Apland with the winner getting the Big Ten's fifth spot at heavyweight. Wade answered the call in the fifth place bout, however, pinning Michigan's Ben Apland in the first period to take fifth and earn a trip to Omaha. His 2-2 tournament sends him to nationals with a 20-9 record. Senior Adam Lynch (Mifflinburg, Pa.) was beaten in his first consolation action of the day and then suffered a technical fall at the hands of Wisconsin's Cole Schmitt in the fifth place bout. With the Big Ten only getting four automatic bids, Lynch's only hope at NCAAs would be a wild card. Lynch leaves the Big Ten tourney having gone 2-3 and with a 13-13 overall record.

Two other Nittany Lions had already earned trips to nationals, but had solid days as well. Junior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.) majored Ohio State's Nikko Triggas in his first bout at 125 before losing a tough 13-11 (sv) bout to Zach Sanders of Minnesota in the third place bout. Pataky went 2-2 at the tournament and heads to Omaha with a 26-8 record. Sophomore Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) won his first consolation bout and then took on third-seeded Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin. Molinaro was in control of the bout and was in the process of finishing off a high double when the Badger forced a scramble the resulted in a defensive type pin for Ruschell at the 3:27 mark. Molinaro went 2-2 to take fourth and heads to NCAAs with a 29-5 record.

In all, Penn State had seven wrestlers place. Sanderson was first at 157, Vallimont was third at 165, Pataky was fourth at 125, Molinaro was fourth at 149, Erwin was fourth at 184, Wade was fifth at HWT and Lynch was sixth at 141. Penn State took fifth place with 91.0 points, the team's highest finish since taking fourth in 2007. The Nittany Lions placed seventh in each of the last two tournaments. Iowa won the team race with 156.5 points while Minnesota was second with 118.5.

Last night, three Nittany Lions had their season come to an end. Freshman Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) lost his first consolation bout and went 0-2 at the tournament, ending his season with a 3-23 mark. Classmate Justin Ortega (Oxford, Pa.) also dropped his consolation bout and went 0-2 at the tournament. Ortega ends his season with a 6-20 record. Sophomore Clay Steadman (McKean, Pa.) was beaten in the consolations and, after a 0-2 tournament, ends his year with an 8-12 record.

Next up for the Penn State Nittany Lions is the 2010 NCAA Championships on March 18-20 in Omaha, Neb. You can follow Penn State's run at Nationals on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC?(1390 AM) and on The ESPN family of television networks will also offer extensive coverage of the final four sessions of the NCAA Championships. The 2009-10 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.

The following is a weight-by-weight breakdown of Penn State's tournament to date:

1: Iowa - 156.5
2: Minnesota - 118.5
3: Wisconsin - 109.0
4: Ohio State - 102.5
5: PENN STATE - 91.0
6: Purdue - 76.0
7: Michigan State - 68.5
8: Indiana - 64.0
8: Illinois - 64.0
10: Michigan - 57.5
11: Northwestern - 20.0

125: #12 Brad Pataky, Jr. (Clearfield, Pa.), #4 seed, 26-8 overall - NCAA Qualifier FOURTH PLACE

Qtrs: W, 7-4 dec. 5th-seed Cashe Quiroga PU
Semis: L, 1-14 maj. dec. 1st-seed Angel Escobedo IN
Cns Semis: W, 11-2 maj. dec. 6th-seed Nikko Triggas OSU
3rd Place: L, 11-13 dec. 3rd-seed Zach Sanders MN

Junior Brad Pataky took on sixth-seeded Nikko Triggas of Ohio State in the consolation semifinals. Pataky looked to turn an early mixer and nearly pinned Triggas early in the bout. The Buckeye was able to fight off his back but Pataky took an early 2-0 lead with the takedown. But Triggas reversed Pataky after a reset to tie the bout with 1:40 on the clock. Pataky returned the reversal with :52 left to retake a 4-2 lead. The Lion junior then rode Triggas out to carry that lead, with :34 in riding time, into the second period. Pataky chose down to start the second period and once again reversed Triggas to lead 6-2. Pataky then turned Triggas for three near fall points, reset himself, and added another three point turn to move out to an 11-2 lead. Another Pataky ride-out gave Pataky the 11-2 lead, with 2:24 in riding time, at period's end. Pataky chose down to start the third period. Triggas rode Pataky for the entire period but never threatened to turn the Lion and Pataky rolled to an 11-2 major decision.

The win over Triggas moved Pataky into the conso finals where he met #3 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota. Pataky rolled through a low double to take and early 2-0 lead. The Lion junior then put together a strong ride, maintaining control of Sanders for 1:16 before Sanders escaped. Sanders then answered with a high double to take a 3-2 lead with 1:10 on the clock. A quick Pataky escape tied the score at 3-3 with :40 on the clock. Pataky then caught Mason by the shoulders and tossed the Gopher to his back for a takedown and three near fall points, nearly picking up the pin. A short ride-out allowed Pataky to move out to an 8-3 lead at the end of the period. Leading by five with 1:15 in riding time, Pataky chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 9-3 lead (and maintaining a 1:09 edge in riding time). The Nittany Lion junior was relentless offensively, pressuring Sanders and working his way into another throw. But Sanders rolled through it and did not give up any points. Sanders got in on a high single and turned it into a takedown and two back points with just :10 on the clock, cutting Pataky's lead to 9-7 with one period left. Sanders chose neutral to start the final period. Pataky tried a mixer, but Sanders countered the move, moved underneath the Lion and took him down to tie the bout. Pataky escaped but was quickly taken down again to fall behind 11-10 with 1:20 left on the clock. With riding time not an issue yet, Pataky escaped to an 11-11 tie with :55 left to wrestle. The duo battled evenly for the final minute and action moved to a sudden victory period. Pataky took a wild early shot that was quickly countered by Sanders and lost a 13-11 decision to take fourth place.

133: Bryan Pearsall, Fr. (Lititz, Pa.), 3-23 overall - Season Complete

1st Rd: L, 2-4 dec. 5th-seed Eric Metzler NU
Cns. Rd. 1: L, 2-6 dec. 6th-seed Zac Stevens UM

Did not wrestle in session 3.

141: Adam Lynch, Sr. (Mifflinburg, Pa.), #4 seed, 13-13 overall - SIXTH PLACE

1st Rd: W, 17-3 maj. dec. Geno Capezio IN
Qtrs: W, forf. #5 Ryan Prater IL
Semis: L, 4-14 maj. dec. 1st seed Reece Humphrey, Ohio State
Cns. Semis: L, 5-15 maj. dec. 6th-seed Juan Archuleta, Purdue
5th Place: L, 3-18 tech. fall vs. 8th-seed Cole Schmitt, Wisconsin

Senior Adam Lynch, the #4 seed at 141, took on #6 Juan Archuleta in the conso semis at 141. Archuleta wasted no time in opening up a 2-0 lead, using a quick single to take Lynch down just :09 into the bout. Lynch escaped with 2:06 left, cutting the lead to 2-1, but Archuleta quickly used another low single to up his lead to 4-2 after a Lynch escape (Archuleta had a 1:27 riding time edge). A high single by Archuleta upped his lead to 6-2 with :30 left and then rode Lynch out to lead by four with 2:04 in riding time. Lynch chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 6-3 deficit. But Archuleta got in on another single and upped his lead to 8-3 with 1:30 left in the second period. Another Lynch escape led to an attempted Lynch throw. But Archuleta was able to fight off his back, roll through Lynch's move and get the takedown for himself to lead 10-4. A ride-out gave Archuleta a 10-4 lead with a secured riding time point heading into the final period. Archuleta chose neutral to start the third period and quickly took Lynch down again to up his lead to 12-5 after a Lynch escape. Archuleta added another late takedown to post the 15-5 major and send Lynch into the fifth place bout.

In the fifth place bout, Lynch took on Wisconsin's Cole Schmitt. With only four Big Ten wrestlers getting automatic bids, Lynch will await word of a Wild Card when the NCAA announces its at-large selections on Wednesday. Schmitt scored the first takedown just seconds into the bout, controlling Lynch for :33 before Lynch escaped. But the Badger continued to press Lynch, tripping the Lion to the mat for another takedown and a 4-1 lead with 2:00 left to wrestle. Another Lynch escaped cut the Schmitt lead to 4-2. The Lion senior got in deep on a low single, but Schmitt was able to counter, work his way behind Lynch, and get a third takedown to lead 6-2 with :25 on the clock. Lynch managed an escape before the period ended and trailed 6-3. Schmitt chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed the Nittany Lion to move out to an 8-3 lead. He then turned Lynch for three back points to move out to an 11-3 lead. Schmitt added another three point tilt to lead 14-3 with a period left. Lynch chose neutral to start the third period but was taken down by Schmitt once again, falling behind 16-3 (Schmitt also secured the riding time point). A two point near fall at the 6:21 mark ended the bout with Schmitt getting the 18-3 technical fall.

149: #4 Frank Molinaro, So. (Barnegat, N.J.), #4 seed, 29-5 overall - NCAA Qualifier FOURTH PLACE

Qtrs: W, 9-6 vs. 5th-seed David Cheza MSU
Semis: L, 3-12 maj. dec. 1st-seed Brent Metcalf IA
Cns Semis: W, 6-0 dec. 7th-seed Mario Mason MN
3rd Place: LBF 3rd-seed Kyle Ruschell WI (3:27)

Sophomore Frank Molinaro met 7th-seed Mario Mason of Minnesota in the consolation semifinals. Already an NCAA qualifier, Molinaro and Mason traded shots during a scoreless first period with no one breaking through for a takedown. Molinaro chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Lion All-American then notched his first takedown on the edge of the mat to take a 3-0 lead with 1:24 left on the clock. Molinaro then controlled Mason until an injury reset allowed Mason to choose neutral with 1:57 on the clock (with Molinaro holding a 1:20 riding time edge. He then lifted Mason off the mat and took him down for another takedown and a 5-0 lead with 1:00 on the clock. A ride-out allowed Molinaro to, with the bonus point, post the 6-0 win and move into the consolation finals.

Molinaro met third-seeded Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin for third place. The duo battled evenly for the first part of the opening stanza. Molinaro had the first solid scoring chance, gaining control of Ruschell's ankle at the 1:10 mark, but Ruschell moved out of bounds. Molinaro, however, scored off a fast high double after the reset and took a 2-1 lead after a quick Ruschell escape. Trailing 2-1, Ruschell chose down to start the second period and worked his way to an escaped and a 2-2 tie. Molinaro exploded through another high double, but Ruschell rolled through. In the ensuing scramble, Ruschell caught Molinaro in what amounted to a defensive type pin, ending the bout at the 3:27 mark.

157: #6 Cyler Sanderson, Sr. (Heber City, Utah), #2 seed, 28-4 overall - NCAA Qualifier - BIG TEN CHAMPION

Qtrs: W, 9-7 dec. 7th-seed Clinton Arlis IL
Semis: W, 6-0 dec. Anthony Jones MSU
Finals: W, 8-4 dec. 1st-seed Colton Salazar PU

Senior Cyler Sanderson met top-seeded Colton Salazar of Purdue in the championship finals at 157. Sanderson took an early shot, forcing Sanderson back and setting a quick tempo from the outset. Action resumed in the center circle and Sanderson exploded through a high double at the 1:50 mark to take a 2-0 lead. Sanderson then put together a strong ride, building up a :44 riding time edge before Salazar escaped. Salazar tried to finish off a high single again, but once again Sanderson was able to step out of trouble. With just :10 left, Sanderson used a swift low double to notch a second takedown and lead 4-1 after the opening period. Sanderson chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. Salazar countered a Sanderson shot and got his first takedown to cut the Lion lead to 5-3 at the 1:20 mark. A quick Sanderson escape gave the 2008 All-American a 6-3 lead with :55 left to wrestle in the match. Sanderson got in on a high single and scrambled his way to a last second takedown to up his lead to 8-3 heading into the final period. Salazar chose down to start the third and steadily escaped to an 8-4 Sanderson lead with 1:32 left. Sanderson was able to hold off Salazar's final shots and rolled to a convincing 8-4 win to claim the 2010 Big Ten title at 157.

165: #7 Dan Vallimont, Sr. (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), #4 seed, 26-7 overall - NCAA Qualifier THIRD PLACE

Qtrs: W, 8-2 dec. 5th-seed Paul Young IN
Semis: L, 1-3 dec. 1st-seed Andrew Howe WI
Cns. Semis: W, 3-1 dec. 7th-seed Cody Yohn MN
3rd Place: W, inj. def. 2nd- seed Ryan Morningstar IA (leading 4-2 in third at time of default)

Senior Dan Vallimont met #7 seed Cody Yohn of Minnesota in the consolation semifinals. Vallimont got in on Yohn's right leg off a reset and looked to get on the board with a takedown. But Yohn was able to scramble his way to a stalemate with 2:00 left in the opening period. Another low Vallimont shot led to another stalemate as the Nittany Lion could break through Yohn's defensive style, although the Gopher did get hit with a first stall warning at the 1:00 mark. The Nittany Lion then battled through Yohn's defense as the period ended to get a go-ahead takedown at the buzzer. Leading 2-0, Vallimont chose down to start the middle stanza and steadily worked his way to a an escape and a 3-0 lead. Trailing 3-0, Yohn chose down to begin the final period and escaped to a 3-1 lead. The duo then battled evenly, with Vallimont picking up a stall warning. Neither wrestler scored and Vallimont posted the 3-1 win, clinching a trip to nationals and moving into the third place bout.

Vallimont took on #2 seed Ryan Morningstar of Iowa in the third place bout. Vallimont worked his way through a high double at the 2:02 mark to take an early lead on Morningstar. Morningstar escaped to a 2-1 deficit at the midway point and action resumed in the center circle. Each man traded shots over the final half of the period, with Vallimont getting in deep on a single leg with :25 on the clock. But Morningstar was able to fight off the effort and kill the clock. Trailing by one, Morningstar chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 2-2 tie. Vallimont had :42 in riding time. The Nittany Lion senior continued to pressure Morningstar, working to complete another single leg. But Morningstar was once again able to get out of bounds. Tied 2-2, Vallimont chose neutral to start the final period. With the next takedown set to decide the bout, each man battled for an opening over the first minute-plus of the period. With :20 left, Vallimont got in deep on Morningstar and was working for a takedown on the edge of the mat, trying to pull Morningstar back into play. As the Hawkeye worked his way out of bounds, Vallimont got the takedown before Morningstar called for an injury timeout. After meeting with the Iowa training staff, it was decided that Morningstar would not continue, giving Vallimont the win by injury default.

174: Justin Ortega, Fr. (Oxford, Pa.), 6-20 overall - Season Complete

1st Rd: L, 1-6 dec. 7th-seed Ian Hinton MSU
Cons Rd. 1: LBF 8th-seed Justin Zeerip UM (2:06)

Did not wrestle in Session 3.

184: #9 David Erwin, Sr. (Urbana, Ohio), #2 seed, 29-8 overall - NCAA Qualifier FOURTH PLACE

1st Rd: W, 9-7 dec. Aaron Jones NU
Qtrs: W, 10-4 dec. 7th-seed Hunter Collins UM
Semis: L, 1-4 dec. 3rd-seed Phil Keddy IA
Cons. Semis: W, 6-2 dec. 5th-seed Travis Rutt, WI
3rd Place: L, 1-4 dec. 4th-seed Mike Pucillo OSU

Senior David Erwin met 5th-seeded Travis Rutt of Wisconsin in the consolation semifinals. Erwin countered an early Rutt shot and tripped the Badger down for a 2-0 lead less than :20 into the match. The Badger tried to scramble out for a quick reversal, but Erwin was able to maintain control and began trying to finish off a cradle. But action moved out of bounds and a reset was called with 1:53 on the clock. Rutt escaped, but the Lion quickly added a second takedown before the period ended to lead 4-1 with 2:12 in riding time heading into the second period. Erwin chose down to start the next stanza and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. He then got in deep on another single but could not finish off the move before the period ended. Rutt chose down to start the final period but could not break free of a strong Erwin ride until he had clinched the bonus point. The Lion senior used a low double to force a scramble at the end of the match, but he could not finish off the final takedown. Still, the strong 6-2 win earned Erwin his first trip to nationals and sends him into the consolation finals.

Erwin took on 2008 national champion Mike Pucillo of Ohio State in the third place bout. Each wrestler had an early chance to score, with neither man breaking through. Pucillo, however, drew first blood at the :55 mark and rode Erwin out to lead 2-0 after one period. The Buckeye chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 3-0 lead. Neither wrestler would manage a second period takedown and Erwin chose down to start the final stanza. Pucillo put together a strong ride and controlled Erwin from the top position. Erwin escaped to a 3-1 deficit with :15 on the clock and scrambled for a late-takedown. But Pucillo held firm and, with the riding time point, posted a 4-1 win to take third. Erwin finished fourth and heads to NCAAs.

197: Clay Steadman, So. (McKean, Pa.), 8-12 overall - Season Complete

1st Rd: l, 1-7 dec. 6th-seed Matt Powless IN
Cns Rd 1: L, 3-8 dec. 4th-seed Patrick Bond IL

Did not wrestle in Session 3.

HWT: #17 Cameron Wade, So. (Twinsburg, Ohio), #3 seed, 20-9 overall - NCAA Qualifier FIFTH PLACE

Qtrs: W, 1-0 dec. 6th-seed Corey Morrison OSU
Semis: L, 2-5 dec. vs. 2nd-seed Dan Erekson IA
Cns Semis: L, 1-2 dec. 5th-seed Erik Bugenhagen WI
5th Place: WBF vs. 7th-seed Ben Apland, MI (1:13)

Sophomore Cameron Wade battled #5 seed Erik Bugenhagen in the consolation semifinals. Bugenhagen got in deep on a high single midway into the period, but Wade was able to work his way out of trouble and keep the bout scoreless. The Badger induced flurry was the only scoring chance in the first period. Tied 0-0, Bugenhagen chose neutral to begin the second stanza. Like the first period, scoring chances were hard to come by. Wade pressured Bugenhagen, forcing him back towards the outside circle, but the Lion could not work his way through Bugenhagen's defense. The Badger then forced a wild scramble at the end of the period and was given a takedown by a late official's call as the period ended, allowing Bugenhagen to lead 2-0 with 2:00 to wrestle. Wade chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 2-1 deficit. Needing a takedown to take the lead and clinch a trip to NCAAs, Wade continued to press Bugenhagen. Wade took one low single, but Bugenhagen was able to back out of trouble and spend the final seconds working his way off the mat to steal a 2-1 upset win. Wade's loss sent him into the fifth place bout, needing a win to secure an automatic bid to NCAAs.

With an automatic bid to nationals on the line, Wade took on Michigan's Ben Apland in the fifth place bout. Wade got in deep on a low single and took Apland down for two quick points and a three-point near fall to lead 5-0 early on. Wade then reset himself, tilted Apland one more time and worked his body into position to get the pin at the 1:13 mark. The win sends Wade to the NCAA Championships as the fifth place finisher out of the Big Ten.


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