Lion Wrestlers Have Five National Finalists as Penn State Opens Up Big Lead at NCAA Championships
March 16, 2012
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Head coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lion wrestling team will have five wrestlers in the national finals of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships after a perfect 5-0 run in the national semifinals tonight. Penn State's 5-0 run and 7-1 session helped the Lions open up a big lead in their quest for a second straight national title.
Penn State is alone in first place with 124.0 points while Minnesota is over 20.0 points back in second with 101.5. Iowa and Cornell follow in third and fourth while Ohio State sits in fifth.
True freshman Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 10 seed, met No. 6 Frank Perrelli of Cornell in the national semifinals. Megaludis, a freshman All-American after downing No. 2 Zach Sanders of Minnesota in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, became Penn State's first national finalist by thrilling the Penn State faithful with a 3-2 (tb2) win over No. 6 Frank Perrelli of Cornell. Megaludis rode Perrelli out in the second tie breaker then escaped to the 3-2 win in his period.
Penn State's newest four-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), the No. 1 seed at 149, shut-out Hofstra's Justin Accordino 5-0 in the semifinals to advance to the national finals. The Lion senior used a first period takedown, a third period reversal and 4:03 in riding time to roll into the finals. The victory is Molinaro's fourth win of the tournament gives him 16 for his career (he is 16-6 overall), seventh all-time on Penn State's NCAA tournament win list.
Two-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the top seed at 165, met No. 4 Bekzod Abdurakhmo of Clarion in the semis. Taylor made it four-for-four in pins, getting a fall over Abdurakhmo at the 4:46 mark. Taylor was in the middle of a blistering second period that saw him collect three takedowns before turning the Golden Eagle to his back and getting his fourth straight pin. The victory moved Taylor into his second straight national title bout.
Two-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the top seed at 174, took on No. 4 Logan Storley of Minnesota in a rematch of the Big Ten Championship two weeks ago. Ruth dominated Storley once again. He used two early takedowns and a three-point near fall to open up a big lead heading into the third period. In the third, Storley took down and Ruth made him pay by turning him for two three-point near falls and then tacking on a final takedown for the 16-1 technical fall at the 6:38 mark.
Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 6 seed at 184, met No. 2 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh in a rematch of last year's national championship bout, won by Wright in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lion junior notched a first period takedown and a second period escape and held on for a hard-fought 3-2 win, moving to the national finals to defend his title.
In the all-important `round of 12', red-shirt freshman Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) met Air Force's Joshua Kreimier. Alton, the No. 7 seed at 157, used two takedowns, an escape and a riding time point to roll to a 6-3 win and become an All-American. He is Penn State's second freshman All-American this weekend, joining Megaludis. Alton's win keeps a quest for third place alive and gives Penn State six All-Americans this year. Alton then used a late third period takedown to post a key 4-3 win over No. 11 James Green of Nebraska, earning a trip to the consolation semifinals and keeping a third place finish within reach. Alton got his takedown with less than :30 left and then rode Green out for the victory.
Senior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), the No. 6 seed at 285, finished just one win shy of All-America status for the second straight year. Wade dropped a tough 7-4 decision to Binghamton's Nick Gwiazdowski in the `round of 12' and ended his tournament with a 2-2 record. Wade leaves Penn State with a 94-39 record.
Penn State's superb 7-1 session, including a perfect 5-0 mark in the semis, improves the Nittany Lions to 28-7 overall. Penn State picked up 3.5 more bonus points and how has 23.0 off of seven pins, six majors and two tech falls.
Action at the 2012 NCAA Championships continues tomorrow morning with the medal rounds at 10 a.m. CENTRAL/11 a.m. EASTERN, live on ESPNU. The national finals will then start at 6:30 p.m. CENTRAL/7:30 p.m. EASTERN and will air live on ESPN.
The full season slate of live dual meet and tournament action has aired locally WRSC AM (1390 AM) with Friday evening duals being simulcast on WRSC FM (103.1 FM). Lock Haven's WBPZ (1230 AM) will also carry the entire season live, WIEZ (670 AM) in Huntingdon/Lewistown carries all Sunday events. The regular season schedule of radio broadcasts will be streamed live at www.GoPSUsports.com as part of Penn State's All-Access package. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstatepat and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2011-12 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
In the second round, Megaludis roared back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to score seven unanswered points to post a 7-3 win over No. 7 Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma. Megaludis used an escape, a takedown, three back points and 1:37 in riding time to roll to the win.
Megaludis exacted sweet revenge on No. 2 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota in the national quarterfinals. The true freshman rolled to a 7-4 win thanks to three takedowns and an escape. Sanders downed Megaludis twice during the regular season by identical 6-2 scores. Megaludis bolted out to a 3-1 lead after two periods with an escape and takedown. In the third period, the Lion freshman dominated the action, taking Sanders down twice and picking up the win to become a true freshman All-American.
Avenging a loss to another wrestler he met earlier in the year, Megaludis thrilled the Penn State faithful with a 3-2 (tb2) win over No. 6 Frank Perrelli of Cornell in the national semifinals. Megaludis took the Cornell senior through two sudden victory periods and then maintained control for the full :30 in the second tie breaker. Then, taking bottom on his turn, Megaludis quickly escaped and advanced to the national finals with the win.
The true sophomore rebounded in the first round of wrestle backs, getting a reversal in the third period to post an important 2-1 decision over UC-Bakersfield's Frank Lomas. The win kept Martellotti alive and moved him into the second round of wrestle backs.
Martellotti was then eliminated in the second round of consolations, suffering a 19-9 major decision to No. 6 Devin Carter of Virginia Tech. Martellotti went 1-2 in his first trip to NCAAs but picked up a key team point in the first round of consolations.
Top seed Frank Molinaro began his quest for an NCAA title and his fourth All-America honor with a dominating 9-0 major over Cornell's Chris Villalonga at 149. Molinaro recorded three takedowns, an escape, a stall point and a riding time point off 4:07 in time to coast to the win.
In the second round, Molinaro battled through a tough match-up with Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi. The Nittany Lion senior used a solid 2:27 riding time edge for the decisive point in a 6-5 win to more into the quarterfinals.
Molinaro became Penn State's fifth four-time All-American with a dominating 10-2 major decision over No. 8 Eric Grajales of Michigan. The Nittany Lion senior broke open a close match with a takedown and two near fall points in the second and then two more takedowns, an escape and riding time in the third. Molinaro heads to the national semifinals and joins Nittany Lion greats Greg Elinsky, Jim Martin, Sanshiro Abe and Phil Davis as a four-time All-American.
Molinaro then dominated Hofstra's Justin Accordino in the national semifinals. Molinaro notched a first period takedown and a third period reversal while rolling up a whopping 4:03 in riding time to coast to the 5-0 decision. The victory moved him into his second straight national championship match.
In the second round, Alton used a strong third period ride to build up a riding time edge and grab an important 2-1 win over No. 10 Anthony Jones of Michigan State. Each wrestler had an escape and Alton's 1:14 in riding time provided the difference as the Lion freshman moved into the quarterfinals.
Alton battled No. 2 Derek St. John into sudden victory once again in the quarters. In the extra period, the Lion freshman got in on a single against the Hawkeye but St. John countered, rolled through and picked up the 3-1 sudden victory decision. Alton, still one win from All-America status, moved into the consolation fourth round.
In the `round of 12', Alton used a takedown in each of the first two periods to roll to an impressive 6-3 win over Air Force's Joshua Kreimier, earning All-America status as a freshman and keeping his quest for third place alive. Alton added an escape and a riding time point for the victory and joins Nico Megaludis as Penn State's newest freshmen All-Americans.
Alton then used a late third period takedown to post a key 4-3 win over No. 11 James Green of Nebraska, earning a trip to the consolation semifinals and keeping a third place finish within reach. Alton got his takedown with less than :30 left and then rode Green out for the victory.
Taylor needed just :11 more seconds in his second round match-up. Taylor turned another first period takedown into a pin, getting the fall at the 1:51 mark over UT-Chattanooga's Brandon Wright. Taylor's second straight pin moved him into the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, Taylor needed less than a half a minute to become a two-time All-American. The Nittany Lion sophomore used a low single against No. 8 Robert Kokesh of Nebraska to take the Husker to the mat. He then quickly locked up a cradle and decked the Husker for a pin at the :29 mark, moving into the national semifinals.
In the semifinals, Taylor made it four-for-four in pins, getting a fall over No. 4 Bekzod Abdurakhmo of Clarion at the 4:46 mark. Taylor was in the middle of a blistering second period that saw him collect three takedowns before turning the Golden Eagle to his back and getting his fourth straight pin. The victory moved Taylor into his second straight national title bout.
Ruth needed even less time in his second round match-up with Missouri's Dorian Henderson. The Lion sophomore turned a first period takedown into a quick cradle and got the fall at the 1:25 mark, moving into the quarterfinals.
Ruth joined Taylor as a two-time All-American with a dominating 11-4 win over Ohio State's Nick Heflin, the No. 9 seed. The Lion used three takedowns, stall points and 2:45 of riding time to roll to the win and into the national semifinals.
In the semifinals, Ruth dominated No. 4 Logan Storley in a rematch of the Big Ten Championship, won by Ruth two weekends ago. The Lion sophomore used two early takedowns and a three-point near fall to open up a big lead heading into the third period. In the third, Storley took down and Ruth made him pay by turning him for two three-point near falls and then tacking on a final takedown for the 16-1 technical fall at the 6:38 mark.
Wright then hammered No. 11 Ben Clymer of Hofstra in the second round, using a late takedown and 2:28 in riding time to post a 10-2 major decision and move into the quarterfinals. The major also added important bonus points to the Lions' tally.
The Nittany Lion junior then thrilled the Scottrade Center in the quarterfinals, hitting a standing cradle against No. 3 Ben Bennett of Central Michigan and working nearly 1:30 to get the sizzling first period pin at the 2:35 mark. The pin makes Wright Penn State's 20th three-time All-American and moved him into the national semifinals.
In a rematch of last year's national title bout, Wright once again defeated No. 2 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh. The Nittany Lion junior notched a first period takedown and a second period escape and held on for a hard-fought 3-2 win, moving to the national finals to defend his title.
In the second round, the true freshman ran into top seeded Cornell senior Cam Simaz and suffered a 22-7 tech fall defeat at the 7:00 mark on riding time. The loss sent McIntosh into the consolation second round.
McIntosh met Ohio State's Andrew Campolattano for the third time this season in the second round of consolations. After defeating the Buckeye twice during the year, the Nittany Lion true freshman suffered an 8-3 setback and ended his tournament with a 1-2 record, picking up key team points with a first round win.
In the `round of 12', Wade fell victim to a third period reversal and dropped a hard-fought 7-4 decision to Binghamton's Nick Gwiazdowski. The Lion senior fell just one win shy of All-America status for the second straight year. He ends his senior season with a 28-6 overall record and leaves Penn State with a 94-39 career record.