Penn State Sits in First Place after Day One of 2013 NCAA Championships
March 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team is in first place at the end of the first day of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Penn State was nearly perfect in the evening session, dropping just one of 11 bouts in Wells Fargo Arena. The Nittany Lions went 6-0 in the championship bracket and will send six grapplers into tomorrow morning's national quarterfinals. Head coach Cael Sanderson's crew sits in first place with 32.5 points while Oklahoma State is in second with 29.0.
All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 125, posted a strong 5-2 win over Central Michigan's Christian Cullinan in the second round. Megaludis posted takedowns in the first and second periods and then had a third period escape. The win moves him into tomorrow morning's quarterfinals.
All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 8 seed at 157, capped off a perfect 3-0 day with another major decision. Alton used five takedowns and 2:23 in riding time to roll to a 13-5 major over Rider's Zac Cibula and advance to the national quarterfinals where he will meet top seed Jason Welch of Northwestern.
Two-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the defending champion at 165, began a flurry of Penn State pins. Taylor took Appalachian State's Zach Strickland down twice in the first period and turned the second one into his second first period pin of the day, this one at the 2:41 mark. The victory moves Taylor into tomorrow's national quarterfinals.
Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, taking to the same mat right after Taylor, then bulled through a high double against Pitt's Nick Bonaccorsi in the first period. He finished off the move by planting the Panther's back for another first period pin, this one at 1:30. The win moves Brown into tomorrow's national quarterfinals as well.
Two-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the top seed at 184 and last year's national champ at 174, made it three quick pins in a row, this one over Arizona State's Kevin Radford. Ruth rode a 2-1 lead into the second period and then took Radford down with a low single. He steadily worked his way into yet another cradle and picked up the pin at the 3:41 mark. The third straight quick pin for Penn State moved Ruth into the national quarterfinals.
Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 197 and the '11 champion at 184, took on Drexel's Branden Palik in the second round. Wright battled his way through two periods to a 1-1 tie and then iced the bout with a late takedown. The 3-2 decision makes Wright Penn State's sixth national quarterfinalist.
Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) all stepped into the consolation bracket after first round losses earlier in the day.
Conaway picked up his first career NCAA Championship win, using a takedown midway through the second sudden victory period to post a thrilling 6-4 (sv2) win over Dylan Hyder of Air Force. The win moves Conaway into consolation action tomorrow morning. Pearsall added to Penn State's bonus total, picking up his first NCAA Championship win with an impressive 10-2 major over Maryland's Frank Goodwin. Pearsall turned the Terrapin once in the first period and added two reversals while racking up 2:52 in riding time. The win moves him into tomorrow morning's consolation action.
Andrew Alton then picked up Penn State's fourth pin of the session, planting Army's Daniel Young in the first period. Alton took Young down, gave up an escape and then took him down once more with shoulder control and, after :30 of work, got the fall at the 2:05 mark. Alton also moves into tomorrow morning's consolation action. Lawson began the session for Penn State with a consolation pigtail bout against Utah Valley's Adam Fager. Lawson rebounded from an early deficit with a second period takedown and a third period reversal to post a solid 5-4 win and move into the consolation first round. He met Michigan's Ben Apland in the next conso round. Lawson led into the third period but after choosing down, was turned for three back points and ridden out to drop a 7-3 decision. Lawson bowed out of the tourney with a 1-2 mark and ends his first season as a collegiate wrestler with a 23-9 mark.
The Nittany Lions were nearly perfect in session two with a 10-1 mark and are 17-5 after a day's action. The Nittany Lions have built up 17.5 bonus points off six pins, one tech fall and four majors. Penn State is looking to win its third straight NCAA title after claiming the crown in 2011 in Philadelphia and 2012 in St. Louis.
The event continues tomorrow morning with consolation bouts and the national quarterfinals. Action begins at 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central in the Wells Fargo Arena. The three-day event runs through March 23, concluding Saturday night with the championship finals and the crowning of the team champion. 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 2012-13 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
Megaludis then drew Christian Cullinan of Central Michigan in round two. The Lion sophomore cruised to a 5-2 decision over Cullinan, using takedowns in the first two periods to roll to victory. The win moved him into the national quarterfinals.
Conaway then met Air Force's Dylan Hyder in the consolation bracket. In a thrilling bout, Hyder led throughout the bout but Conaway notched a takedown with under 1:00 left to take a 4-3 lead. Hyder escaped late to send the bout into extra time and the duo battled through a scoreless sudden victory period and a scoreless tiebreaker. Conaway then grabbed the win with a takedown midway through the second sudden victory period, posting the 6-4 (sv2) win and staying alive in consolation action.
Pearsall met Frank Goodwin of Maryland in his first consolation bout. Pearsall rolled through Goodwin, turning him once in the first period and picking up two reversals while amassing 2:52 in riding time. The 10-2 major moved Pearsall into the second round of consolation action and added to Penn State's bonus point total.
Alton took on Army's Daniel Young in the first consolation round. Alton notched Penn State's fourth pin of the evening session. He took Young down early and the Black Knight escaped. But Alton then added another takedown and, gaining control of Young's shoulders, turned him to his back for a first period fall at the 2:05 mark. The win moved Alton along in the consolation bracket.
Alton then faced off against Zac Cibula in round two, his third bout of the day. Like in his first two bouts, Alton was methodical with takedowns, getting one in the first, two in the second and two in the third to roll to a 13-5 major decision with 2:23 in riding time. Picking up his second bonus point of the day, Alton moved into the national quarterfinals with the win.
Taylor then faced Appalachian State's Zach Strickland in the second round. In a near mirror image of his first bout, Taylor dominated from the start. He quickly picked up two takedowns and then after the second, turned Strickland once for two near fall, a second time for three and then finished off his foe with another first period pin, this one at the 2:41 mark. Picking up more bonus points for Penn State, Taylor moved into the national quarterfinals with the win.
Brown then went up against Pitt's nick Bonaccorsi in round two. After fighting through a scoreless minute, Brown used a fast double to bull through Bonaccorsi and put the Panther to his back. Brown needed just seconds to pick up the fall, getting the first period pin at the 1:30 mark to continue Penn State's bonus point rally and advance to the national quarterfinals.
Ruth met Arizona State's Kevin Radford in round two. Ruth worked a 2-1 lead into the second period, chose down and escaped. He then continued a flurry of Penn State pins (as Taylor and Brown had just picked up falls) by locking up a cradle and getting the fall at the 3:41 mark. The pin, Ruth's second of the day, moved him into the national quarterfinals.
Wright met Drexel's Branden Palik in the second round. The senior battled his way to a 1-1 tie through two periods and then, in the third, notched the bout's first takedown late and walked away with a hard-fought 3-2 win. The victory moved Wright into the national quarterfinals.
Sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River N.J.) made his NCAA Championship debut at 285 against Ohio's Jeremy Johnson. Lawson tried to complete a comeback from a 4-0 deficit late with an escape and a late takedown but dropped a 4-3 decision. The loss pushed Lawson into the consolation bracket.
Lawson took on Utah Valley's Adam Fager in a pigtail consolation bout and notched his first-ever NCAA tournament win with a late comeback. After trailing early, Lawson used a second period takedown and a third period reversal to post a 5-4 win. The victory moved him into the consolation first round where he met Michigan's Ben Apland. Lawson dominated action early, notching two takedowns to lead 4-3 into the third period. The Nittany Lion sophomore then chose down and Apland turned him for three back points and rode him out for a 7-3 decision. Lawson ended his NCAA tournament with a 1-2 mark and his season with a 23-9 record.