NCAA Record Wrestling Crowd Watches Penn State Down Pitt in Pennsylvania Wrestling Showcase
Dec. 8, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, three-time defending NCAA champions, welcomed intrastate rival Pittsburgh to a sold-out Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday and came away with a rousing 28-9 victory. Despite a developing snow storm, the dual meet was wrestled in front of 15,996 fans, setting a new NCAA all-time dual meet record and a new record for a Penn State Athletics event in the BJC.
Junior Nico Megaludis (Murraysville, Pa.), ranked No. 3 nationally at 125, opened up the dual meet with an outstanding 4-1 win over No. 9 Anthony Zanetta of Pittsburgh in the dual's first bout. Pitt tied the dual meet at 133 when No. 17 Shelton Mack notched two late takedowns to beat Penn State's Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) 5-2.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 11 at 141, put Penn State back on top with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Pitt's Edgar Bright. Panther Mike Racciato put the Panthers on top with a late pin (6:52) of Lion senior James English (York, Pa.) at 149 but James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) got Penn State back to even with a strong 7-2 win over Panther Cole Sheptock at 157.
Senior All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, put Penn State up for good however, decking Pitt's Geno Morelli just nine seconds into the second period. The fall at the 3:09 mark put Penn State up 15-9 and was the 44th of Taylor's career. He is now just nine shy of the all-time Penn State record of 53. Taylor is 10-0 on the year with seven pins, two tech falls and one major.
All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, kept Penn State rolling after intermission with a dominating 9-3 win over No. 9 Tyler Wilps. Brown forced Wilps into three stall warnings in the bout. Red-shirt Wes Phipps (Grove City, Pa.) clinched the dual meet for the Nittany Lions, dominating Panther Aaron Rothwell on his way to a 13-3 major with 4:29 in riding time.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 4 at 197, then posted a hard-fought and thrilling win over Panther Nick Bonaccorsi. With the bout tied 3-3 after regulation and a first sudden victory period, McIntosh rode Bonaccorsi out during the first tie-breaker then escaped quickly in his period to post the 4-3 (tb) decision. Junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 10 at 285, closed out the dual meet with hard fought 3-1 win over Pitt's P.J. Tasser. A late takedown gave the Lion the decision and put Penn State on top 28-9 for the final score.
Penn State was without the services of junior Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 9 at 149 and junior All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 157, who are expected back mid-December following off-season surgery; and senior All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, who is serving a one-month suspension for violation of team rules and policies.
The Nittany Lions won the takedown battle as well, holding a 16-5 edge. Penn State won eight of ten bouts in a dual for the fourth time in five duals as well. The Nittany Lions move to 5-0 with the win while Pittsburgh falls to 3-1.
The sold-out attendance figure of 15,996 sets two new Penn State records. First, it sets the new NCAA all-time record for dual meet attendance, out-doing the mark set by Iowa on Dec. 6, 2008, against Iowa State. It is an all-time best for a wrestling dual meet in Nittany Lion grappling history, besting the old mark of 11,245 set on Dec. 6, 1996, when Penn State hosted Iowa in the BJC (a 22-15 Iowa win early in the '96-97 season). It is also the largest ever crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center for a Penn State Athletics event. The old mark was 15,472, set on Feb. 1, 1997, when the Nittany Lion basketball team entertained Purdue. The sell-out is also the 13th straight home sell-out for Penn State, dating back to the 2011-12 season (with the prior 12 occurring in Rec Hall).
The Lions will open up Big Ten action next weekend when it entertains No. 12 Ohio State in an already sold-out Rec Hall on Sunday, Dec. 15. The dual, which begins at 12 p.m., is a Big Ten Network live telecast.
With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the remaining Rec Hall duals. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. 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.
133: Sophomore Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) took to the mat at 133 and faced off against No. 19 Shelton Mack of Pittsburgh in another bout between ranked opponents. Conaway fresh off winning the Thunder Wolve Open title and Outstanding Wrestler Award the night before in Upstate New York, battled Mack evenly for the full opening period, with neither man mounting an offensive charge in 3:00. Tied 0-0, Mack chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 1-0 lead 0:11 in. Conaway nearly connected on a low single at the 1:00 mark, but Mack fought the move off to hold his 1-0 lead. Conaway forced another scramble late but each man was able to defend the other's threat and Mack led 1-0 after two. Conaway chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. Conaway shot at Mack's left leg and the Panther fought off the move, countered and took Conaway down for a 3-1 lead with :25 left. Conaway escaped with :15 on the clock and spent. Mack countered a late Conaway shot and got a final takedown to get the 5-2 win and tie the dual at 3-3.
141: True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 11 at 141, faced off against Pitt's Edgar Bright. Bright scored first, using a quick single leg to take Retherford down and open up a 2-1 lead midway through the period. Retherford spent the rest of the period looking for an opening but Bright was able to play defense and carry the 2-1 lead into the second stanza. Retherford chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. The Lion rookie set the tempo for the period, taking numerous shots and forcing Bright to the outside circle throughout the middle 2:00. Retherford nearly scored at the buzzer with a low single. But time ran out and the bout moved to the third period tied 2-2. Bright chose down to start the third period but Retherford was strong on top, maintaining control long enough to build up a 1:00-plus riding time edge. After a reset at the :59 mark, Retherford broke Bright down again, keeping his top position and control. With the time point clinched, Retherford needed only a ride out to win the bout. The Lion freshman did just that and with 1:49 in riding time, posted the 3-2 win.
149: Senior James English (York, Pa.) took on Panther freshman Mike Racciato at 149. The duo battled evenly throughout the opening period with neither man finding an opening to score. Racciato forced a scramble at the :40 mark but English was able to fight off the move and force a stalemate with :11 on the clock. Racciato chose down to start the second period but English was able to maintain control of his top position. English nearly turned Racciato for back points but the Panther shifted action out of bounds and a reset was called with 1:10 on the clock. English then maintained control for the rest of the period and action moved to the third tied 0-0 with English having 2:00 in riding time. English chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead with 1:53 in time to his advantage. Racciato countered an English shot and the bout was tied 2-2 after a quick English escape. English still had riding time as well with :45 on the clock. English notched a late takedown, Racciato reversed him with just :10 left and then turned him to his back for a quick pin at the 6:52 mark. The fall put the Panthers up 9-6.
157: Nittany Lion senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) took to the mat at 157 to meet Pitt's Cole Sheptock. The due battled evenly for nearly two minutes before Vollrath locked in on a single leg. The Lion senior finished off the move and led 2-1 with :50 left after a quick Sheptock escape. Vollrath added a second takedown as the period ended and led 4-1 heading into the second period. Vollrath chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. The duo battled evenly for the rest of the period, allowing Vollrath to head into the third stanza with a 5-1 lead. Sheptock chose down to start the third period and steadily worked his way to an escape and a 5-2 deficit. Vollrath was relentless on offense and connected on another solid shot. The late takedown allowed the Nittany Lion senior to roll to a 7-2 victory and tie the dual meet at 9-9 heading into halftime.
165: Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, faced off with Pittsburgh's Geno Morelli. Taylor wasted no time taking a lead, gaining control of Morelli and taking a 2-0 lead at the 2:23 mark. Taylor then maintained control of Morelli, building up a solid riding time edge before Morelli escaped to a 2-1 score. Taylor quickly stepped behind the Panther and upped his lead to 4-1 with 1:00 left on the clock. Taylor forced Morelli into a first stall warning and then rode the Panther out to lead 4-1 after one. Morelli chose down to start the second period and Taylor cut him loose. The three-time All-American then sent the NCAA dual meet record crowd to its feet, catching the Panther and putting him to his back for a pin in under then seconds. The fall, at the 3:09 mark, put Penn State up 15-9 and was the 44th of Taylor's career (nine shy of Penn State's all-time record of 53).
174: Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, took on No. 9 Tyler Wilps in another highly anticipated top-ten battle. Brown set the early tempo, forcing Wilps to the edge of the mat for over a minute while looking to connect on a low single. Brown's steady offense forced Wilps into defense and a first stall warning as the period ended. Tied 0-0, Brown chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Continuing to work through the Panther's defense, Brown gained control of Wilps' left ankle and notched the bout's first takedown to lead 3-1 after a quick Wilps escape at the :57 mark. Brown nearly notched another takedown but Wilps was able to work his way out of bounds again. Brown led 3-1 after two periods. Wilps chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 3-2 deficit. But Brown's relentless offense forced the ranked Panther into another stall, giving the Lion another point. Brown picked up another takedown, a stall point and a final takedown to roll to the 9-3 win and put Penn State up 18-9.
184: Red-shirt freshman Wes Phipps (Grove City, Pa.) took to the big stage against Pitt's Aaron Rothwell. Phipps exploded out of the gates, blowing through a high double, lifting Rothwell off the mat and taking him down for a quick 2-0 lead. The Grove City native was dominant on top, putting together a strong ride while he build up well over 1:00 before cutting Rothwell loose to a 2-1 score. Phipps shot again, working for control with 1:10 on the clock before Rothwell forced a stalemate. Phipps forced Rothwell into a stall warning and then used a strong high single to take a 4-1 lead with another takedown. Phipps rode Rothwell out and led 4-1 with 1:55 in time after the opening period. Phipps chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. He then used a high single again, lifted Rothwell off the mat, and took a 7-1 lead with another takedown. Phipps picked up another point on Rothwell's second stall then cut him loose with :25 on the clock. Wasting no time, Phipps picked up a takedown with just :05 left and led 10-2 with 3:12 in time after two. Rothwell chose down to start the final period, Phipps worked for a bit on top and then cut the Panther loose with :55 on the clock. With the clinched riding time point in hand, Phipps used a low ankle pick and a final burst to finish on top with a final takedown. The Lion's 13-3 major with 4:29 in riding time clinched the dual meet, putting Penn State up 22-9.
197: Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 4 at 197, met Panther sophomore Nick Bonaccorsi. Bonaccorsi scored first, taking McIntosh down and edging out to a 2-1 lead with 1:30 on the clock. The duo battled evenly for the period's final minute-plus and McIntosh trailed by one, 2-1, after one. McIntosh chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped. Bonaccorsi locked his hands in the process, giving the Lion sophomore a 3-2 lead. McIntosh grabbed the Panther's left ankle and worked to pull him onto the mat. Bonaccorsi worked hard to get out of bounds and eventually was able to force a reset with :04 left on the clock. Trailing by one, Bonaccorsi chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-3 tie. The duo fought each other evenly for the next minute-plus, with neither wrestler able to break through on offense. McIntosh continued to pressure the Panther and nearly scored as the period ended, but time ran out and the bout moved into sudden victory. McIntosh shot three times out of the blocks in extra time but Bonaccorsi was able to fight off each move send the bout into overtime. Bonaccorsi chose down to start the first tie-breaker but was not able to work free of McIntosh's strong ride. The Lion sophomore then chose down and quickly escaped to a 4-3 lead. The final point was the difference and McIntosh notched the 4-3 (tb) win.
285: Junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 10 at 285, met Pitt's P.J. Tasser in the dual's final bout. The tandem fought through an even two minutes-plus with defense being the theme of the bout. Each man opened up a bit as the first period but no one scored and the bout moved to the second period tied 0-0. Tasser chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 1-0 lead quickly. Action resumed in the center circle with each wrestler working for a chance to get the bout's first takedown. Trailing by one, Lawson chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. Lawson stepped back from a quick Tasser shot and maintained the tie and then the duo battled evenly until under the :30 mark. Tasser shot on Lawson and the Lion junior countered for a clinching takedown as the bout ended, picking up the tough 3-1 win.