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Jan. 25, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State wrestling team, led by head coach Cael Sanderson, is off to the best start in the school's 100-year plus history (no ties) with a 13-0 record. The Nittany Lions have replaced Cornell as the unanimous No. 1 team in the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches dual meet poll. Eight Nittany Lion individuals are ranked by Intermat and Penn State is Intermat's No. 1 team on its Tournament Power Index.
The Nittany Lions are No. 1 with 275 points while Cornell drops just one spot to No. 2 with 263. Big Ten rival Wisconsin, which visits Rec Hall on Feb. 18, is No. 3 with 247 points while Minnesota is No. 4 with 226. The Nittany Lions visit the Gophers on Feb. 13. Oklahoma State is No. 5 with 224 points. Virginia Tech (6), Missouri (7), Iowa (8), Rutgers (9) and Boise State (10) round out the top ten. Michigan (13), Illinois (14), Northwestern (18) and Purdue (24) are also ranked among the top 25, giving the Big Ten eight ranked teams.
While the USA Today/NWCA poll reflects projected dual meet strength, Intermat's official tournament team ranking (projecting post-season tournament finishes based on each entity's individual rankings) now has Penn State alone in the No. 1 spot. TheOpenMat.com also compiles a comprehensive tournament strength ranking and has Penn State No. 1 as do Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. Magazine.
A brief look at the top 25 shows Penn State with five remaining duals against ranked teams (Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin). The Nittany Lions own wins over five teams currently ranked (No. 9 Rutgers, No. 12 Lehigh, No. 13 Michigan, No. 17 Kent State and No. 23 Pitt).
Senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.) is 7-2 on the year with two pins, two techs and a major and is ranked No. 11 at 125. Sophomore All-American Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa) is ranked No. 5 at 133 with a 6-0 mark, including a pin and four majors. Freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) is ranked No. 5 at 141. Alton is 24-2 on the year with 16 pins and three majors. His only two losses are one-point decisions to the top-ranked 141-pounder and his 16 pins is fourth all time at Penn State for falls in a single season. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) is ranked No. 5 at 149. Molinaro sports a 19-2 record with three pins, three tech falls and seven majors.
Freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) remains undefeated on the year and has a 25-0 record. Taylor is ranked No. 3 at 157 and has six pins, ten tech falls and eight majors. Only one of his 25 bouts has been decided by less than a major. Classmate Ed Ruth is ranked No. 2 at 174 and has a 23-1 record. The Harrisburg native has 10 pins, five tech falls and two majors. Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), a 2009 All-American at 174, was ranked among best at 184 before an injury sidelined him in December. The junior is back in the Penn State line-up and is ranked No. 6 with a 10-2 record. Junior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) is ranked No. 5 at heavyweight. Wade sports a 21-3 record with eight pins, three tech falls and two majors.
Penn State hosts No. 8 Iowa on Sunday at 2 p.m. and a Penn State White Out has been declared for the event. The dual has been sold out for weeks and a limited number of student tickets will be distributed on Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Rec Hall ticket office.
Tickets for Penn State's final two home duals (after Iowa) are going fast but are still available. The Nittany Lions host No. 14 Illinois on Feb. 11 and No. 3 Wisconsin on Feb. 18. Fans wishing to purchase single dual meet tickets for the 2010-11 Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling season can place their orders by calling 814-865-5555 or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket pricing is $8 for adults and $5 for youth, and there will be a limit of eight tickets per order. Group sales are also available. The 2010-11 Penn State wrestling season is presented by the Family Clothesline. All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC (1390 AM) and WSQV (92.1 FM). All radio broadcasts are streamed live at GoPSUsports.com as part of the All-Access package. The 2010-11 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.