Nittany Lion Wrestler Phil Davis Claims National Title and Spurs Penn State onto Third Place Finish at 2008 NCAA Championships
March 23, 2008
St. Louis, Mo.; March 22, 2008 - Two Penn State Nittany Lion wrestlers entered the championship finals of the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships just one win away from a prestigious individual title. Senior Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) dominated Central Michigan's Wynn Michalak to claim the national crown at 197 and spur Penn State on to a superb third place finish in the team race. Penn State's other finalist; sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) dropped a hard-fought 14-8 decision in his title tilt at 149.
Jenkins was Penn State's first finalist. Jenkins, the 6th seed at 149, took on top-seeded Brent Metcalf of Iowa. Metcalf had defeated Jenkins twice during the regular season.
Metcalf immediately got in on Jenkins' thigh, but Jenkins stepped out of trouble and action resumed with 2:30 left in the opening period. Metcalf shot low on Jenkins and this time, the Nittany Lion sophomore countered the Hawkeye, worked underneath and behind him for a takedown at the 1:58 mark and an early 2-0 lead. Metcalf escaped to a 2-1 deficit shortly thereafter. Jenkins forced another scramble on the edge of the mat and after a brief struggle to pull Metcalf back into the mat, he got his second takedown with :38 left to lead 4-2 after the Hawkeye escaped.
Trailing 4-2, Metcalf chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to a 4-3 deficit. He then stepped around the Nittany Lion sophomore and notched his first takedown at the 1:38 mark to take a 5-4 lead. Jenkins escaped to a 5-5 tie after a reset in the center circle. Metcalf got in deep on Jenkins' right leg again and lifted the Nittany Lion off the mat. But Jenkins was able to force a stalemate after action returned to the surface and the bout remained tied. Metcalf once again got control of Jenkins' legs and this time took him down for two points and three back points as the period ended.
Trailing 10-5, Jenkins chose down to begin the final period. Jenkins escaped, cutting Metcalf's lead to 10-6 and immediately tried a cement mixer to send Metcalf to the mat. But the talented Hawkeye rolled through and notched a takedown of his own to up his lead to 12-6. A Jenkins escape with a minute left cut the Hawkeye's lead to 12-7. Metcalf would add one more takedown and post a 14-8 win. Jenkins ends a stellar sophomore season as the 2008 National Runner-Up as the 6th seed. He went 4-1 during his first run at 149 and ends his year with a 26-6 record.
Davis, the second seed at 197, was making his second appearance in the national finals (he lost in the finals in 2006 as a sophomore). Davis, who yesterday became only the fourth four-time All-American in Penn State history, was facing 4th seeded Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan. Michalak entered the bout 2-0 all-time against Davis, having beaten him during the NCAA tournament in 2005 and at the Reno Tournament of Champions in 2006.
Davis took the opening shot, but Michalak countered and tried to work his way around behind Davis for a takedown of his own. Davis then gained control of the scramble, getting Michalak's left leg under control and notching his first takedown at the 1:23 mark, taking a 2-0 lead. Michalak escaped to a 2-1 deficit :30 later and action moved to the middle of the mat. Davis' constant offensive pressure forced Michalak into a first stall warning and Davis led 2-0 after one period (with :30 of riding time).
Michalak chose down to begin the second period and escaped to a 2-2 tie with 1:26 left. The CMU grappler then looked to get in on Davis' leg and the Nittany Lion senior deftly countered the move, slid around behind him and notched a second takedown with just over 1:00 left in the period. Davis then dominated Michalak, riding him out to lead 4-2 after two periods (with 2:13 in riding time).
Up by two, Davis chose down to start the final period and steadily got to his feet. After working Michalak to his side, Davis escaped at the 1:30 mark to a 5-2 lead with his riding time edge still in tact. Michalak then got hit for a second stall, giving Davis a 6-2 lead with 1:04 left in the match. Davis countered one last Michalak shot, hopping up to one foot and winding out the clock. His riding time point gave him a 7-2 decision and his illusive national crown. The win also punched Penn State's ticket to a superb third place finish in the team standings. Davis ends the tournament with a 5-0 mark and his senior season 26-1. He leaves Penn State with stunning 116-20 record.
Penn State ended the tournament with 75.0 points, good enough for third place. The Nittany Lions finished only four points behind Ohio State (79.0). Iowa claimed the team title with 117.5 points. The third place finish is the highest for Penn State since finishing in third in 1994. The 75.0 team points is the fifth most in school history.
2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships
1: Iowa - 117.5
3-Day Attendance Total: 94,190 (3rd highest ever)
2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Penn State's record overall: 25-10
Penn State Agate (All # are tournament seeds)
125 -- Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette), Sr. -
141 - Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley), #12 seed, Fr. - Round of 12 - SEASON COMPLETE
149 - Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial), #6 seed, So. -
157 - Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Jefferson Twp.), #3 seed, So. -
165 - Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), So. - SEASON COMPLETE
184 - Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa./Juniata), Jr. - SEASON COMPLETE
197 - Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg), #2 seed, Sr. -