Penn State Wrestlers Win Fourth Straight National Championship
March 22, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the direction of head coach Cael Sanderson, won its fourth straight NCAA National Championship, becoming only the third team in history to win four straight titles. Led by the senior National Champion duo of Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) and David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), Penn State out-paced second place Minnesota to claim the team crown.
Penn State ended the night with 109.5 points to Minnesota's 104.0. Oklahoma State was third with 96.5 points. Taylor was named the 2014 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler and won the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler Award.
Penn State entered the final session trailing for the first time in the championships as Minnesota led with 104.0 points to Penn State's 101.5. Both teams had two finalists, none of whom faced each other, setting up the potential for a back-and-forth team race. The championship finals began at 174, setting up a penultimate final at 165 between Nittany Lion senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell. With action beginning at 174, senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) was the first of Penn State's finalists, taking on Maryland's Jimmy Sheptock at 184.
Ruth, a two-time defending NCAA Champion, came out on fire and dominated the match from start to finish, rolling to a 7-2 decision over Sheptock. Ruth picked up a quick takedown to lead 2-1 less than :30 into the bout. He controlled the flow offensively throughout the opening stanza, picking up another takedown in the final seconds and using a short ride out to lead 4-1 after one. Sheptock chose down to start the second period and Ruth was a force on top. The Nittany Lion senior put together a strong ride, controlling Sheptock throughout the period and never giving up control. Ruth's two-minute ride clinched the riding time point heading into the final period. The third stanza was more of the same as Ruth chose down to start. He quickly reversed Sheptock to take a 6-2 lead and cut him loose, looking for more offense. Sheptock was able to fight off Ruth's final shots but the damage was done and Ruth, with 3:26 in riding time, posted the 7-2 decision. The win put Penn State back on top in the team race by 1.5 points and made the Nittany Lion senior Penn State's first-ever three-time NCAA Champion.
Taylor, Penn State's first-ever four-time finalist and seeking his second NCAA title, took to the mat against Caldwell with the Nittany Lions having just clinched their fourth straight team championship. Looking to end a perfect evening on a perfect high note, Taylor scored early, taking Caldwell down with just over 2:00 in the opening period. He then put together a strong ride, building up a riding time cushion. Taylor maintained control for the rest of the period and led 2-0 with 2:07 in riding time. Taylor chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Taylor continued to set the pace in the second place and the pressure paid off with one more take down in the second. Taylor's score gave the Nittany Lion a 5-0 lead heading into the final period. Caldwell chose down to start the third and fought off Taylor's efforts in the third period. Taylor's dominating performance, which included 2:54 in riding time, gave the Nittany Lion the 6-0 victory and cemented Penn State's final score of 109.5. Taylor became Penn State's sixth two-time NCAA Champion with the win.
Taylor and Ruth concluded their final runs at NCAA Championships, capping off two of the most storied and impressive collegiate careers in NCAA history with national titles. Taylor wraps up his Lion career with a 134-3 record for his career. He has 53 pins (tying Penn State's all-time record), 42 techs and 30 majors, meaning 125 of his 134 wins are for bonus. Taylor ended his senior season with a perfect 34-0 record, including 16 pins, eight techs and eight majors this year. He also has 18 career wins in the NCAA tournament and 11 career pins at nationals. Ruth concludes his Nittany Lion career 136-3 all-time at Penn State. He had 46 pins, 25 techs and 33 majors, giving him 104 bonus victories in his 136 wins. The Lion senior now has 21 career NCAA tourney wins, tops at Penn State and wraps up his senior campaign with a 34-1 mark, including 11 pins, nine techs and 10 majors.
Taylor and Ruth also became Penn State's seventh and eighth four-time All-Americans today, joining Lion four timers Quentin Wright, Frank Molinaro, Phil Davis, Sanshiro Abe, Jim Martin and Greg Elinsky. Ruth became Penn State's first-ever three-time NCAA Champion and Taylor, the school's first-ever four-time finalist, became the sixth two-time NCAA Champion. Taylor and Ruth were part of four NCAA team titles and collected a combined eight Big Ten titles, five NCAA individual titles and eight All-America honors. Neither wrestler ever lost to a Big Ten opponent, in a tournament or dual meet.
Penn State leaves Oklahoma City with its fourth straight NCAA title and seven All-Americans, the most since 1992. In addition to Taylor and Ruth, junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) went 5-1 to take third at 125 and became Penn State's 23rd three-time All-American; true freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) went 4-2 and took fifth at 141; senior James English (York, Pa.) went 5-2 and became Penn State's 183rd All-American by taking seventh at 149; junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) went 5-2 and place fifth at 174 to become a two-time All-American; and sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) went 5-2 to place seventh at 197, becoming Penn State's 184th All-American.
Every Nittany Lion added critical team points as all ten Penn Staters scored. Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) all bowed out of the tournament in session three. Gulibon went 1-2, Alton went 2-2 and Gingrich went 2-2.
The Nittany Lions went 2-0 in the finals and concluded the tournament with a 38-15 record. Penn State collected 24.0 bonus points off seven majors, two techs, four pins and one medical forfeit. Penn State grabbed 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 Nittany Lions became only the third team in NCAA Wrestling to win four straight team titles (joining Iowa and Oklahoma State in that prestigious club).
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.
125: #3 Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), Jr. - 31-4 overall
ALL-AMERICAN - 3rd Place
Megaludis took on No. 2 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell as Penn State's first national semifinalist of the night. Garrett scored quickly, notching a takedown in the first :20 to open up a 2-1 lead. That score carried into the second period where Garrett chose down. The Big Red grappler notched and escape and a takedown to mount a 5-1 lead heading into the final period, where Megaludis mounted a furious comeback. The Lion junior, now a three-time All-American, chose down and escaped quickly to cut the lead to 5-2. He then took Garrett down with under a minute to wrestle and cut him loose to a 6-4 score. Megaludis then got in on a deep single leg and was scrambling for a tying takedown when Garrett fled the mat and got called for stalling. But the Cornell defense was enough, coming at :11 and Garrett grabbed the hard fought 6-4 win.
In Saturday's consolation semifinals, Megaludis took on No. 8 seed Cory Clark of Iowa in the consolation semifinals. Megaludis scored quickly against Clark, using two takedowns to take a 4-1 lead into the second period. He would turn that lead into a convincing 5-2 win. Megaludis met No. 16 Joey Vance of Virginia Tech. Megaludis was impressive once again, dominating the action from start to finish on his way to a 6-1 decision with 1:47 in riding time. The Nittany Lion junior, now a three-time All-American, used first and third period takedowns to roll to victory and place third. Megaludis now has second, second and third place finishes as a true junior.
In the semifinals, Retherford met No. 2 Logan Stieber in the semis at 141. The Buckeye used two first period takedowns to open up a 4-1 lead after one period. After taking neutral, Stieber took the Lion freshman down for a third time and opened up a 6-2 lead after Retherford worked for an escape. The Nittany Lion freshman chose down to start the third period but Stieber was able to control the action from the top and build up over 2:00 in riding time. Retherford escaped to a 6-3 score with under :10 and Stieber, with riding time, posted the 7-3 win.
In Saturday morning's consolation semifinals, Retherford met No. 1 seed Mitchell Port of Edinboro in the consolation semifinals. Retherford was the aggressor throughout the bout but Port's defense kept the Lion from finishing off any shots, sending the bout through a first sudden victory and tie-breaker session. In the second sudden victory period, Retherford once again looked to score and Port countered once more, this time finishing off the shot to notch the 3-1 (SV2) decision. Retherford then met No. 11 Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa in the fifth place bout. Lazor was injured in his prior bout and was medically unable to compete in the match, giving Retherford the win, fifth place, and two important bonus points. Retherford ends his true freshman campaign with a 33-3 overall record and is an All-American as the fifth place finisher. His 33 wins is the seventh most for a freshman since 1980 at Penn State, tying former Lion four-time All-American Quentin Wright.
149: James English (York, Pa.), Sr. - 18-7 overall ALL-AMERICAN - 7th Place
English then became an All-American with a thrilling 6-4 (SV) win over No. 10 Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech in the round of 12. The Nittany Lion senior, who received a sixth year of eligibility due to injury and still missed most of this season coming back from an early season injury, took down Neibert early in the first period for a 2-0 lead but was reversed and went to the second period tied 2-2. English chose down to start the second period and Neibert controlled the action for most of the period. But English was able to reverse him in the final seconds and led 4-2 after two. Neibert chose down and escaped in the third and used the riding time point to send the match into sudden victory tied 4-4. The duo battled evenly for :55 seconds of the extra period when English turned a low single into a standing cradle and notched the winning takedown with just :01 on the clock. The victory made English Penn State's 184th All-American. A short time later in the consolation quarterfinals, English took on No. 8 David Habat of Edinboro. English battled Habat tough, leading throughout the bout off a first period takedown. But Habat turned English in the third period and got a fall at the 4:52 mark.
In Saturday morning's seventh-place bout, English battled No. 4 seed Kendric Maple of Oklahoma for seventh place on Saturday morning. With the team scored tied, English completed an epic and emotional story with a thrilling 2-1 (TB) win over the fourth seed. The duo traded escapes in the second and third period and went through a scoreless sudden victory stanza. English was down first in the tie-breaker session and escaped with :11 on the clock. With Maple down to end things, English was simply dominating on top, not giving Maple any room to move and riding him out for the duration. The 2-1 win gave the unseeded sixth-year senior the seventh place trophy and put his team back on top by one in a tight team race. English, who has missed two full seasons with injuries and was out most of this year due to an early season injury, went 5-2 in his first trip to the NCAA Championships and ends his Nittany Lion career as an All-American with an 18-7 record.
In the national semifinals, Taylor became a rare four-time NCAA finalist with a resounding 13-5 major decision over No. 4 Steven Monk of North Dakota State. Taylor broke open the match early, using two takedowns and two near fall points to lead 6-4 after the opening period. Monk chose top to start the second stanza but Taylor was undaunted, quickly reversing Monk to lead 8-4. Taylor then rode Monk out to build up over 2:00 in riding time to carry that lead into the third period. Taylor, looking for bonus points for the Nittany Lions, then controlled the third period as well. He collected two takedowns and ended the match with 4:11 in riding time to post the 13-5 major decision and move into tomorrow night's national semifinals against No. 2 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State.
174: #5 Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), Jr. - 33-6 overall
Brown took on No. 16 Matt Miller of Navy in the round of 12 and rolled to a 10-6 victory to become a two-time All-American. Brown notched takedowns in every period, leading 2-1 after one and 5-2 after two. The duo traded scores in the third period. Miller chose down and escaped to a 5-3 score and Brown quickly took him down to lead 7-3. Looking for bonus points with the riding time clinched, Brown cut Miller loose to a 7-4 score. He quickly took Miller down again but Miller managed a scrambling reversal. Brown's riding time point gave the Nittany Lion junior a 10-6 victory and made him Penn State's sixth All-American of the year. In the consolation quarters, Brown dominated Cal State-Bakersfield's Bryce Hammond. The two-time All-American rolled up early takedowns to control the bout and then rode his way to a 9-3 decision.
Brown faced off against No. 6 seed Logan Storley of Minnesota in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning. Like Retherford before him, Brown was the aggressor throughout the match, but Storley' s defense allowed the Gopher to keep Brown from finishing any shots. The match went to sudden victory tied 1-1. After forcing Storley into a stall warning, Brown shot once again, Storley countered and this time slipped behind Brown for a takedown and a 3-1 (SV) win. faced off against No. 6 seed Logan Storley of Minnesota in the consolation semifinals. Like Retherford before him, Brown was the aggressor throughout the match, but Storley' s defense allowed the Gopher to keep Brown from finishing any shots. The match went to sudden victory tied 1-1. After forcing Storley into a stall warning, Brown shot once again, Storley countered and this time slipped behind Brown for a takedown and a 3-1 (SV) win. Brown then took on No. 4 Mike Evans of Iowa for fifth place and dominated the bout from start to finish. Brown took Evans down twice in the first period to open up a 4-2 lead. Brown added an escape in the second and an escape in the third off an injury timeout and posted the convincing 6-3 decision to place fifth. Brown ends the season as the fifth place finisher at 174 with a 33-6 overall record. Brown is a two-time All-American with second place and fifth place finishes.
Ruth met No. 3 seed Gabe Dean of Cornell in the national semifinals. Ruth, who pinned Dean earlier in the year but suffered an upset loss to him in the finals of the Southern Scuffle in January, quickly took the Big Red grappler down in the first period to lead 2-1 early. The duo traded shots for the remainder of the period and the Lion senior led by one after one. Dean chose down to start the second stanza but Ruth had the answer, dominating the action from the top position and riding Dean out to lead 2-1 after two. The Nittany Lion chose down to start the third and escaped to a 4-1 lead with a clinched riding time point. Dean countered a Ruth shot late for a takedown, but the story was written as a Ruth escape and riding time gave the Nittany Lion a 5-3 decision.
In the conso fourth round, McIntosh rolled through Binghamton's Cody Reed to become Penn State's 185th All-American in his consolation round three bout. McIntosh scored early and often, opening up a 4-1 lead after one period and widening that throughout the bout. McIntosh picked up five takedowns during the match. The Lion sophomore added two escapes and the riding time point to post the important 13-4 major decision. The win made McIntosh an All-American for the first time. In the consolation quarters, McIntosh faced No. 5 seed Kyle Gadsen of Iowa State and dropped a tough 5-3 decision. Gadsen used a first period takedown as the difference maker. McIntosh wrestled No. 11 seed Nathan Burak of Iowa in the seventh place match as well. McIntosh controlled the bout from the start. The Lion sophomore scored a first period takedown at the buzzer to lead 2-0 after the opening stanza. He added a third period escape and posted the 3-1 decision to finish seventh. McIntosh ends his sophomore campaign as a first-time All-American with a 32-5 overall record.