Nittany Lions Enter National Finals in First Place at 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships
March 23, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will head into the national finals of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships with a slim three point lead over Oklahoma State. Head coach Cael Sanderson's team has 114.5 points while the Cowboys sit in second with 111.5.
The Nittany Lions had no one competing in the morning session as the squad preps for tonight's national title bouts on ESPN. Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, will battle top-seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State in the evening's first final. The NCAA announced a change in the finals format and the session will not begin at 125 as it has in the past. Junior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 184, will battle No. 3 seed Robert Hamlin of Lehigh in the next match-up.
Senior Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 197, will then take on No. 1 seed Dustin Kilgore of Kent State. Sophomore Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 125, will take on No. 2 seed Jesse Delgado of Illinois in the title bout at 125. Junior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 2 seed at 165, will close out the 2013 NCAA Championship with a match-up against No. 1 seed Kyle Dake of Cornell.
Every member of Penn State's 10-man contingent has added points to Penn State's team total. Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) advanced to the `round of 12' at 133 and went 3-2 with a pin, sophomore Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) advanced to the `round of 12' at 157 and went 3-2 with two majors, senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) went 1-2 with a major at 141, sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) went 1-2 with a pin at 149 and sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) went 1-2 at heavyweight.
The Nittany Lions had no one competing in the morning session as all five Penn State All-Americans will compete in the 2013 NCAA Wrestling National Finals tonight. The team is 29-10 overall heading into the finals. Penn State has collected 28.5 bonus points off ten pins, one tech fall and seven 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 tournament concludes with the national finals tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central, live on ESPN. 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.
Nico met Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State in the national quarterfinals. The Nittany Lion clinched his second All-America tag and a trip to the national semifinals with a dominating 12-4 major decision, picking up more bonus points for Penn State. Megaludis notched five takedowns, an escape and 1:25 in riding time to roll to the win.
Megaludis met top-seeded Alan Waters of Missouri in the semifinals. The duo battled evenly throughout the bout. With Waters slowing the pace down, Megaludis' patience kept the bout scoreless through the first period. Waters chose down to start the second and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Trailing by one, Megaludis chose down to start the third and escaped as well. But neither wrestler scored again and the bout went into a first sudden victory period. After a scoreless minute, each wrestler completed a ride-out, keeping the bout tied at 1-1 into a second sudden victory period. Like the first one, this extra :60 was scoreless as well and the match entered a second and final tie-breaker. This time, Megaludis was down first and escaped in just seconds to a 2-1 lead. Waters then took down and did escape but not until the :04 mark. Tied at 2-2, Megaludis got the victory on criteria, a riding time of :18. The win pushed Megaludis into his second NCAA championship bout in as many years.
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.
Jordan faced off against Boston's Dane Harlow in the second round of consolations on Friday morning. The Nittany Lion came back from a first period takedown and rolled to a 6-4 decision to keep his All-America dreams alive. Conaway used a first period takedown of his own and then a reversal after a mad scramble late in the third to secure the win. In his second consolation bout, the Lion freshman met Michigan's Rosario Bruno and joined Penn State's pin parade. Conaway led 3-2 into the second period and then forced a scramble that he turned into a pin at the 4:17 mark. The win moved Conaway just one win away from earning All-America status as a freshman in the `round of 12'.
Conaway faced No. 8 Cody Brewer of Oklahoma in the round of 12. Jordan fell behind early to the Sooner, giving up two takedowns and three back points to trail 7-1 after the opening period. Brewer would end Conaway's tournament, one win shy of All-American status, with Conaway fell behind early to the Sooner, giving up two takedowns and three back points to trail 7-1 after the opening period. Brewer would end Conaway's tournament, one win shy of All-American status, with a 14-4 decision. Conaway ended his tournament with a 3-2 record and a pin and ends his freshman campaign in the round of 12 with a 19-10 record.
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.
Bryan battled Harvard's Steven Keith in the second round of consolation and dropped an 8-3 decision. Keith used three early takedowns to grab the lead while Pearsall picked up three third period stall points. The loss ended Pearsall's tournament with a 1-2 mark and his season at 24-11. The Nittany Lion senior closes out his career with a 55-52 record as an NCAA qualifier.
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, the No. 11 seed, met No. 12 seed Eric Grajales of Michigan in the second round of consolations. Alton and Grajales embarked on a battle of throws midway through the second period with each man looking to take the other to his back. But it was Grajales who finished off the five point move and walked away with an 8-1 decision. The loss ends Alton's season at 27-6 after a 1-2 tournament with a pin.
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.
In the national quarterfinals, Alton took on No. 1 seed Jason Welch of Northwestern. Alton took an early lead off a first period takedown that he carried into the third period, leading 3-1. But Welch escaped and then caught the Lion sophomore on a throw for a late five point move that gave the Wildcat an 8-3 decision. Alton's loss moved him into the `round of 12' conso quarters, still one win away from All-America status and still alive for third.
Alton took on No. 4 James Green of Nebraska in the round of 12. Green proved too much this time round, avenging an early season loss to Alton. Alton fell behind early and dropped a 14-4 bout. Alton ended his tournament with a 3-2 mark in the round of 12 and ended his sophomore campaign with a 28-8 record.
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.
David then faced off against No. 7 seed Conrad Polz of Illinois in the national quarterfinals, a rematch of the Big Ten Championship two weeks ago. Taylor became a three-time All-American in swift fashion, ending the match in just :24. The Lion junior locked up a cradle and pinned Polz to clinch All-American status and move him into the national semifinals. It was Taylor's third pin in as many matches at this year's event (all in the first period).
Taylor met No. 3 Peter Yates of Virginia Tech in the national semifinals. Taylor advanced to the national finals for the third straight year in blazing fashion, picking up his fourth pin in as many bouts. After fighting off a Yates shot, Taylor got his own takedown and led 2-1 after a Yates escape. During the scramble, Taylor called for a brief injury timeout, giving Yates the choice on the reset. Taylor forced Yates into two stalls to pick up a point and then reversed him and took him to his back to lead 7-1 after one period.
The second period began with Taylor on bottom. The Lion escaped quickly then moved in for a cradle. The Lion junior quickly locked the cradle up and finished off the bout with a pin at the 3:24 mark. Taylor is 4-0 with four falls in less than 10:00 minutes total time (three in the first period and one in the second). The win was also the 100th of Taylor's career.
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.
Matt then met Iowa State's Tanner Weatherman in the national quarterfinals. Brown earned his first All-America honor and a trip to the national semifinals with a dominating 13-5 major The Nittany Lion sophomore opened up a 6-1 lead off two takedowns and two near falls and never looked back. The 3:08 riding time point gave Brown the major and added to Penn State's lofty bonus point total. Brown moved into the national semifinals with the win.
Brown battled No. 6 Logan Storley of Minnesota in the national semifinals. Brown opened up an early lead with a takedown in the first period. Storley notched an escape to cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the second stanza. Brown took down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. The duo battled evenly for the rest of the period and Brown led 3-1 after two. Storley took down to start the third and steadily worked his way to an escape, cutting Brown's lead to 3-2. Brown then battled Storley for the rest of the bout and advanced to the national finals with a 3-2 win. Brown has won ten straight bouts dating back to Feb. 17.
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.
In the national quarterfinals, Ruth took on Pittsburgh's Max Thomusseit. Ruth dominated Thomusseit in his quarterfinal bout. The Lion junior picked up four takedowns, an escape, a stall point and rolled up an amazing 5:00 in riding time to post the 11-1 major decision and moved into the national semifinals. The win made Ruth a three-time All-American and was his 100th career victory.
Ruth faced No. 4 Steve Bosak of Cornell in the semifinals. Ruth scored quickly on Bosak, opening up a fast 2-1 lead after the Big Red grappler escaped. The duo then battled through an even first period with Bosak picking up a stall warning in the process.
The second period featured only a Ruth escape, giving the Lion a 3-1 lead after two periods. Bosak chose down to start the third period and Ruth put together a crushing ride, controlling the Big Red grappler for the entire period and rolling up 1:51 in riding time. The ride-out and point gave Ruth a 4-1 win and moved him into his second straight national final.
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.
Quentin then met 10th seed Scott Schiller in the quarterfinals in a rematch of the Big Ten Championship match. Wright joined the bonus point parade with a first period pin. After two-plus minutes of even action, Wright locked up a shoulder throw and planted Schiller's back to the mat at the 2:48 mark. The pin pushed Wright into the national semifinals and made him Penn State's sixth four-time All-American.
Wright battled No. 3 seed Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh in his semifinal bout. In a wild rematch of a bout Wright won earlier in the year in Pittsburgh, the high-powered duo wrestled through a scoreless first period. Wilps chose down to start the second and quickly escaped and, after no takedowns in that period, Wright chose down to start the third and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. Wright initiated a scramble late that Wilps nearly turned into a pin. But Wright moved out of trouble and the clock hit zeroes, sending the bout to sudden victory. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Wilps chose down and escaped in just :05. Wright then matched that in his tie-breaker period, escaping in :05. The match went to a second sudden victory tied 2-2. Another scoreless minute passed, setting up a final second tie-breaker. Wright chose down to start the bout and escaped in just :05 again. Wilps then took down for his session and Wright held the Panther for :08 and, by virtue of :03 in riding time, claimed the 2-2 (TB2, RT :03) decision. The win sent Wright to his third straight NCAA title bout. He won at 184 two years ago and lost in the finals last year