March 9, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Nittany Lion wrestling team will take an 11.0-point lead into the final day of the Big Ten Championships after tallying an 11-3 performance in the Saturday evening session inside Assembly Hall.
Four wins in the semifinals headlined the strong evening session for the Lions. David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197) will all wrestle in Big Ten title matches after scoring four-straight wins in semifinal bouts on Saturday night.
Additionally, Nico Megaludis (125), Jordan Conaway (133), Bryan Pearsall (141), Andrew Alton (149) and Dylan Alton (157) will all wrestle in the consolation semifinals on Sunday, and all five are still alive in the quest for third place in their respective weight classes. Jimmy Lawson (285) will wrestle for seventh on Sunday.
Perhaps the best news of the night for head coach Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions came when Bryan Pearsall scored a victory in the consolation quarterfinals. Pearsall's win clinched a berth for all 10 Nittany Lions at the upcoming NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Having 10 qualifiers is a superb advantage for the Nittany Lions in their quest for a third-straight national title.
Nonetheless, there is still work to be done in Champaign, as Penn State leads Minnesota and Iowa by 11 and 14 points, respectively heading into the final day of action at the Big Ten Championships. All three teams have four wrestlers in championship matches and five wrestlers in the consolation semifinals, which will set up an intriguing final day at the 2013 Big Ten Championships.
Take a blow-by-blow look through session one inside Assembly Hall.
165 - #1 David Taylor (25-1) - 2-0 - Big Ten Finals (NCAA Qualifier)
Junior David Taylor was not going to be denied on Saturday night inside Assembly Hall. The Lion junior scored a quick takedown and never looked back, knocking off Iowa's Nick Moore with a 16-0 technical fall. After the match, Taylor said as soon as he got the first takedown he knew what he needed to do in order to provide the Nittany Lions with bonus points for the team score. Taylor moves on to face Illinois' Conrad Polz in the Big Ten finals on Sunday afternoon.
174 - #5 Matt Brown (24-4) - 3-0 - Big Ten Finals (NCAA Qualifier)
Following a strong first session, sophomore Matt Brown used a strong finish to knock off eighth-seeded Dan Yates from Michigan by a score of 5-1 for a trip into the Big Ten finals for the first time in his career. Brown and Yates were scoreless after one, but a second-period takedown fueled the four-point win. The Nittany Lion sophomore moves on to face Mike Evans from Iowa in Sunday's 174-pound final match.
184 - #1 Ed Ruth (27-0) - 2-0 - Big Ten Finals (NCAA Qualifier)
Top-seeded Ed Ruth grabbed a 4-0 lead against Iowa's Ethen Lofthouse in the first period his semifinal bout at 184 pounds. That's all the two-time Big Ten champion needed, as he rolled to a 10-1 major decision victory and spot in the Big Ten finals on Sunday. Ruth out-scored his two opponents on Saturday by a combined 29-4 margin. He moves on to face second-seeded Kevin Steinhaus from Minnesota in the final bout on Sunday.
197 - #1 Quentin Wright (26-0) - 2-0 - Big Ten Finals (NCAA Qualifier)
After scoring a pin just 1:21 into his quarterfinal match earlier in the day, Wright registered a slim 1-0 victory to knock off Ohio State's Andrew Campolattano in semifinal action at 197 pounds. The Nittany Lion senior used an escape point to claim the victory. He moves on to face Minnesota's Scott Schiller, who is the second seed at 197 pounds. Wright won a Big Ten title in 2011 at 184 pounds.
125 - #2 Nico Megaludis (22-3) - 1-1 - Consolation Semifinals (NCAA Qualifier)
Second-seeded Nico Megaludis fell to third-seeded Jesse Delgado from Illinois in the first semifinal bout for the Nittany Lions on Saturday night. Delgado took a 2-1 lead after one period. He extended the margin to 3-1 after two, but Megaludis answered with an escape to make it 3-2, but that would be as close as the Lion junior would get. Delgado added a second takedown and riding time for a 6-3 victory. Megaludis will wrestle Ohio State's Nikko Triggas in the consolation semifinals on Sunday.
133 - #4 Jordan Conaway (15-7) - 1-1 - Consolation Semifinals (NCAA Qualifier)
Redshirt freshman and fourth-seeded Jordan Conaway fell to top-seeded Logan Stieber from Ohio State in Penn State's second semifinal bout. Stieber took a quick 5-0 lead with a takedown and three near-fall points before turning Conaway for a pin at the 1:28 mark. Already an NCAA qualifier, Conaway will wrestle Minnesota's Chris Dardanes in the consolation semifinals on Sunday morning.
141 - #4 Bryan Pearsall (22-8) - 3-1 - Consolation Semifinals (NCAA Qualifier)
Nittany Lion senior Bryan Pearsall trailed throughout his consolation bout against Indiana's Alex Gregory, but a late takedown and rideout sent the Lion into the consolation quarterfinals with a 6-4 win. Pearsall trailed 2-1 heading into the third, but two escape points and the late takedown, plus riding time, handed the Lion veteran a win. In the quarterfinals, Pearsall trailed Michigan's Camryn Jackson by a score of 6-2 in the first period, but he stormed back for 15-straight points, including nine near-fall points in the second period alone, for a 19-11 major decision victory. Pearsall will wrestle second-seeded Nick Dardanes in the consolation semifinals on Sunday.
149 - #5 Andrew Alton (25-3) - 3-1 - Consolation Semifinals (NCAA Qualifier)
Andrew Alton needed just 16 seconds to move into the consolation quarterfinals. The Lion redshirt sophomore turned Northwestern's Dylan Marriott for the fall with a throw from his feet at the 16-second mark. Alton's win over Marriott clinched a spot in the NCAA Championships field. Alton followed that performance up with a superb outing against top-seeded and seventh-ranked Eric Grajales from Michigan. Alton took a 5-4 lead after one period before added two takedowns in the second for a 9-6 advantage. From there, he cruised to a 14-8 decision and a spot in the consolation semifinals where he will wrestle Dan Osterman from Michigan State.
157 - #3 Dylan Alton (25-4) - 3-1 - Consolation Semifinals (NCAA Qualifier)
Third-seeded Dylan Alton tallied a takedown just seconds into his first consolation bout of the evening against Purdue's Tommy Churchard. But he wasn't done there, as Alton turned Churchard for a pin at the 1:03 mark to move into the consolation quarterfinals. Alton turned that momentum into a crucial 3-2 win over Michigan State's Ryan Watts to earn a spot in Sunday's Big Ten consolation semifinals. Give Alton a great deal of credit for scoring two big wins on Saturday night for the Nittany Lions before having a gash above his right eye stitched shut. He will be ready to go on Sunday in the consolation semifinals where he will wrestle top-seeded Derek St. John from Iowa.
285 - #7 Jimmy Lawson (22-6) - 2-2 - Consolation Round (NCAA Qualifier)
Sophomore Jimmy Lawson used five points in the final seconds, two for a takedown and three near-fall points, to move past Wisconsin's Spencer Johnson by a major decision (13-5). Lawson's win over Johnson also punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career. Lawson suffered a 7-4 setback to Indiana's Adam Chelfant in the consolation quarterfinals. Lawson will wrestle Michigan State's Mike McClure for seventh place on Sunday.