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April 10, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four members of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, the two-time NCAA and Big Ten Champions, will be taking part in the 2012 United States Olympic Wrestling Team Trials. Three former national champions and red-shirt freshman who won nearly 30 bouts this year will all head to Iowa City on April 21-22, looking to earn a spot in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Red-shirt freshman Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) will compete at 74 kg (163 pounds), sophomore Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) will compete at 84 kg (185 pounds), sophomore David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) will compete at 74 kg (163 pounds) and junior Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) will compete at 84 kg (185 pounds). All four will represent the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in Iowa City's Carver-Hawkeye Arena at the two day event.
Brown posted a superb 27-2 record this season. Wrestling behind the eventual 2012 NCAA Champion at 174, Brown went 5-0 in duals for Penn State, including three wins over nationally ranked wrestlers. Two of his dual wins came up two weights at 197, both against national qualifiers and one against a ranked opponent at that weight. Brown ended the year with ten majors, four technical falls and seven pins. One of his only two losses was to teammate Ruth, a 6-3 decision (which was Ruth's closest contest of the year).
Ruth blazed his way through an unbeaten 2012 campaign at 174 that culminated in a dominating win over Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui in the NCAA finals, a 13-2 major decision. Ruth went 31-0 this season with nine majors, seven techs and ten pins. In addition to his NCAA title, Ruth was the 2012 Big Ten Champion, a first team All-Big Ten honoree and the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week (1/17/12). He is a two-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion, the 2011 NCAA Championship Gorriaran Award winner and has a 69-2 career record.
Taylor also capped off an undefeated 2012 season by setting an NCAA record for points scored in the finals with a 22-7 technical fall over Lehigh's Brandon Hatchett to win the 165 pound title at 165. Taylor went 32-0 on the year with six majors, nine tech falls and 15 pins. In addition to the NCAA crown, Taylor was the 2012 Big Ten Champion, the 2012 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, a first team All-Big ten honoree, an Academic All-Big Ten selection, the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week (1/3/12), the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler for 2012, the 2012 NCAA Championships Gorriaran Award winner, the 2012 NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler and the 2012 Hodge Trophy Winner as the nation's top wrestler. Taylor is now a two-time All-American and two-time Big Ten Champion with a 70-1 career record.
Wright advanced to his second straight NCAA title bout at 184 before dropping a hard-fought 4-2 (SV) decision to Cornell's Steve Bosak in the national finals. Wright posted a 30-4 overall record in 2011-12 with five majors, four techs and 14 pins. He ended 2012 as the national runner-up at 184, following up his 2011 National Championship won in Philadelphia. Wright's performance in St. Louis makes him Penn State's 20th three-time All-American. He was the 2011 Big Ten Champion and tournament's Outstanding Wrestler and has an 84-23 career record. As stated, he is a three-time All-American, winning the crown in 2011, taking second in 2012 and placing sixth at 174 in 2009.
Including the four members of head coach Cael Sanderson's Penn State squad, the NLWC will be well represented at the event. Joining Brown, Ruth, Taylor and Wright from the NLWC will be Mark McKnight (55 kg), Shawn Contos (55kg), Jake Varner (96 kg) and Les Sigman (120 kg). Jaime Espinal and Franklin Gomez of the NLWC are already Olympians for Puerto Rico. For full coverage of the 2012 Olympic Wrestling Team Trials, go to http://iowacitytolondon.com/ .
The Nittany Lions ended the year as two-time reigning NCAA and Big Ten Champions. Penn State posted a 13-1 overall dual meet record and were the 2012 Big Ten Co-Regular Season Champions with a 7-1 conference mark. The full season slate of live dual meet and tournament action aired locally WRSC AM (1390 AM) with Friday evening duals simulcast on WRSC FM (103.1 FM). Lock Haven's WBPZ (1230 AM) also carried the entire season live, WIEZ (670 AM) in Huntingdon/Lewistown carried all Sunday events. The regular season schedule of radio broadcasts was 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 was presented by The Family Clothesline.