Molinaro Takes Fifth at 149 as Nittany Lions Maintain Ninth Place Heading into Tonight's Finals
March 20, 2010
OMAHA, Neb.; March 20, 2010 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team earned fifth and sixth place medals in this morning’s placing bouts at the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Neb. With only six wrestlers competing, the Nittany Lions’ strong performance this year has the squad sitting in ninth place with 49.0 points. Head coach Cael Sanderson will now prep senior Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) for the national title bout at 165 later this evening.
Sophomore Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) lost to No. 4 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in the consolation semis but rebounded to major Edinboro’s Torsten Gillespie to take fifth place at 149. Senior Cyler Sanderson (Heber City, Utah) was upset in the consolation semis by Binghamton’s Justin Lister and then got majored by No. 5 seed Steve Fittery of American to end the tournament as the sixth place finisher at 157.
Molinaro, now a two-time All-American, ends his season with a 33-7 record. The sophomore placed eighth at 141 last year and took fifth at 149 this season. Molinaro posted a 4-2 mark with three majors. He will carry a 56-26 career record, including an 8-5 mark at the NCAA tournament, into his junior campaign. Sanderson ends an outstanding collegiate career as a two-time All-American. The Iowa State transfer placed 7th at 157 in 2008 for the Cyclones and qualified for nationals four times. He went 32-7 in his senior season for Penn State and ends his collegiate career with a 114-33 record.
Iowa has already clinched its third straight team title. Penn State maintains its hold on ninth place with 49.0 points. Heading into the national finals tonight, Penn State has posted a 18-11 record. Every one of the Lions’ six qualifiers won at least two bouts. Penn State’s three All-American placers in the top six marks only the third time this decade that the Nittany Lions have had three top six placers.
The 2010 NCAA Wrestling National Finals will take place tonight with Nittany Lion Vallimont in the title bout at 165. The finals will air live on ESPN HD at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Penn State’s action in the tourney will be aired live on Forever Broadcasting’s WRSC?(1390 AM) and on www.GoPSUsports.com as well. The 2009-10 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
BOUT-BY-BOUT RECAP AND AGATE:
The following is a weight-by-weight breakdown of Penn State’s action in session five:
125: Brad Pataky, Jr. (Clearfield, Pa.), 28-10 overall – Season Complete
Rd. 1: W, 6-4 dec. #9 Jarrod Patterson, Oklahoma
149: Frank Molinaro, So. (Barnegat, N.J.), #5 seed, 33-7 overall
ALL-AMERICAN – 5th PLACE
Rd. 1: W, 9-4 dec. Donald Vinson, Binghamton
Sophomore Frank Molinaro, the No. 5 seed at 149, met No. 4 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in the consolation semifinals. Ruschell caught Molinaro early on the edge of the mat, turning a low single into a takedown and a 2-0 lead at the 2:31 mark. Ruschell then controlled the action from the top for the remainder of the period, building up a 2:31 riding time advantage to go along with his 2-0 lead. Ruschell chose down to start the third period and quickly reversed Molinaro to take a 4-0 lead. Another strong Ruschell ride out gave Ruschell a 4-0 lead with a clinched bonus point heading into the third period. Molinaro chose neutral to start the third period. The sophomore got in deep on Ruschell’s foot, but the Badger senior countered the move and worked his way around Molinaro for another takedown and a 6-0 lead. Molinaro escaped but Ruschell tacked on the riding time point to post the 7-1 win, sending Molinaro to the fifth/sixth place bout.
In the fifth place bout, Molinaro met Edinboro’s Torsten Gillespie again in a rematch of the national quarters where Molinaro posted an 8-0 major. Molinaro got the first takedown a the 2:02 mark and then, like in the earlier meeting with Gillespie, dominated the Scot from the top position. Gillespie escaped after Molinaro build up 1:21 in riding time, but Molinaro quickly answered with a high double that gave the Lion a 4-1 lead at the end of the opening period (with 1:50 in riding time). Molinaro chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. Another takedown on the edge of the mat put the Lion sophomore up 7-1 at the 1:20 mark. Molinaro rode the Scot out to carry that lead and 2:54 in riding time into the final period. Gillespie chose neutral to start the third period and gained control of Molinaro’s right leg. But the Nittany Lion was able to work his way out of bounds to keep his 7-1 lead. A high single allowed Molinaro to notch a fourth takedown with :31 left, breaking out to a 9- 1 lead. A short ride out and the bonus point gave the Nittany Lion a 10-1 major decision and the fifth place medal.
157: Cyler Sanderson, Sr. (Heber City, Utah), #4 seed, 32-7 overall
ALL-AMERICAN – 6th PLACE
Rd. 1: W, 16-12 dec. Bryan Deutsch, Northern Illinois
Senior Cyler Sanderson, the No. 4 seed at 157, met Binghamton’s Justin Lister in the consolation semifinals. Lister picked up the first takedown with a low double at the 2:34 mark. Sanderson worked his way to his feet and escaped to a 2-1 deficit at the 1:42 mark and then began pressuring the BU grappler. Lister got in deep on Sanderson’s left leg after a reset, but Sanderson scrambled out of trouble to keep the bout close with :51 on the clock. Sanderson nearly finished off a high double with :19 left, but action rolled out of bounds. Trailing 2-1, Sanderson chose down to begin the second period but could not work his way free of a strong Lister ride. The BU grappler then caught Sanderson in a cradle, turned him to his back and stunned the Nittany Lion senior with a pin at the 4:04 mark. Sanderson was sent to the fifth place bout. Fittery then rode Sanderson out and, with the riding time point, posted a 15-6 major decision. Sanderson ends the tournament as the sixth place finisher.
In the fifth place bout, Sanderson met American’s Steve Fittery, the No. 5 seed who beat him in the quarterfinals. Neither wrestler created an opening to score until Sanderson used a driving low double to take a 2-0 lead at the 2:06 mark. A Fittery escape cut the lead in half and action resumed in the center circle. But Sanderson used the same low double to open up a 4-1 lead at the midway point. After another Fittery escape, the Lion senior continued to score on low shots, picking up a third takedown with :48 left to take a 6-3 lead with :32 left (after a Fittery escape). Sanderson chose neutral to start the second period. A quick trip by Fittery cut Sanderson’s lead to 6-5 with 1:31 left. Fittery then turned a scramble into a Peterson to turn the Lion for three near fall points with :40 left to take an 8-6 lead. Fittery then rode Sanderson out to lead 8-6 with 0:44 in riding time after two periods. Fittery chose down to start the third period and was cut loose by Sanderson to a 9-6 lead. Sanderson was unable to crack Fittery’s defense and then got caught on his back for another takedown and a three point turn, falling behind 14-6 with :40 left.
165: Dan Vallimont, Sr. (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), #6 seed, 30-7 overall
Rd. 1: W, 8-3 dec. Matt Epperly, Virginia Tech
Senior Dan Vallimont, the No. 6 seed at 165, will meet No. 1 Andrew Howe of Wisconsin in the national finals tonight.
184: David Erwin, Sr. (Urbana, Ohio), #11 seed, 31-10 overall -- Season Complete
Rd. 1: W, 4-0 dec. Erich Schmidtke, Oklahoma
HWT: Cameron Wade, So. (Twinsburg, Ohio) 22-11 overall – Season Complete
Rd. 1: L, 1-3 (SV) #3 Zach Rey, Lehigh