Nittany Lion Wrestlers Roll through Session 1 of the NCAA Championship
March 20, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team sits in first place after the opening session of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena. Seniors David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) both posted first period pins as the Nittany Lions went 9-1 in the opening session. Penn State has 16.5 points, just ahead of second place Oklahoma State, which has 13.5. Head coach Cael Sanderson and his staff has the full contingent of 10 wrestlers competing at the NCAA Championships.
Two-time All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 125, opened up Penn State's tournament with bonus points, rolling over Lehigh's Darian Cruz to the tune of an 18-3 technical fall at the 7:00 mark. Megaludis overcame an early Cruz takedown to dominate the action and roll into round two.
Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), unseeded at 133, dropped a hard fought 4-0 decision to No. 4 Jon Morrison of Oklahoma State in his first-ever match at the NCAA Championships. The loss moved Gulibon into Thursday night's consolation action.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 141, made his NCAA Championship debut with a dominating 5-0 win over All-American Undrakhbayar Khishignyam of the Citadel. Retherford used takedowns late in the first and in the third to roll to the win and move into round two.
Senior James English (York, Pa.), unseeded at 149, made a splash in his first match at the NCAA Championships. The Nittany Lion senior posted a thrilling 5-4 (TB) decision over No. 12 Dyllan Cottrell of Appalachian State, using a ride out and an escape to post the tie-breaker decision and move into the second round.
Junior All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 13 seed at 157, was strong in his first round match-up. He used two third period takedowns to walk away with an impressive 5-1 win over Michigan's Brian Murphy, moving into Thursday night's second round.
Three-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 1 seed at 165, moved one step closer to Penn State's all-time pin record with a first period fall over South Dakota State's Joe Brewster. Taylor pinned Brewster with just two seconds left in the opening period, stepping over the Jackrabbit, adjusting from the top and getting the fall. It was the 51st of his career (the Penn State record is 53).
Junior All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 5 seed at 174, took care of Stanford's Kyle Meyer in the first round, storming his way to a 17-3 major. Brown used multiple takedowns and a three point near fall in the third to rack up 3:07 in riding time as well, moving into the second round.
Three-time American and two-time defending NCAA Champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 184, equaled teammate Taylor with a first period pin. Ruth worked his second takedown into a near side cradle, then adjusted his hold one time and got the pin at the 1:59 mark. The pin was 46th of his career, placing him third on the all-time list at Penn State and moving him into the second round.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 197, was dominating as well in his first bout at nationals. McIntosh posted a strong 5-0 win over Lehigh's John Bolich, rolling up 2:29 riding time in the process and moving into round two.
Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 14 seed at 285, dominated his opponent in his NCAA Championship debut. Gingrich rolled up 2:26 in riding time and posted two late takedowns to post an important 12-4 major over SIU-Edwardsville's David Devine, picking up key bonus points and moving into the second round.
Taylor and Ruth are making their final runs through the NCAA Championships, looking to cap off historic collegiate careers with NCAA titles. Taylor is now 30-0 on the year with 14 pins, eight tech falls and seven majors. He is 130-3 with 51 pins, 42 techs and 29 majors heading into Thursday night's second round (122 of his 130 wins are for bonus). The Lion senior is just two pins shy of the all-time Penn State record of 53. Ruth is now 30-1 on the year with 11 pins, eight tech falls and nine majors. He is 132-3 with 46 pins, 24 techs and 33 majors heading into Thursday's second round (102 of his 132 wins are for bonus).
The Nittany Lions went 9-1 overall in session one, stacking up 7.5 bonus points off two majors, one tech fall and two pins. Penn State is looking to win its fourth straight NCAA title after claiming the crown in 2011 in Philadelphia, 2012 in St. Louis and the 2013 title last year in Des Moines.
The event continues this evening with session two, starting at 7:00 p.m. (6 p.m. Central) in Chesapeake Energy Arena. The three-day event runs March 20-22, concluding Saturday night with the championship finals and the crowning of the team champion. All six sessions will air live on ESPNU and/or ESPN, with ESPN3 offering full tournament multi-mat coverage online.
Penn State 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.
2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships - Team Standings After Session 1 - -TOP FIVE
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City, Okla.
184: #2 Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), Sr. - 30-1 overall
197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), So. - 28-3 overall