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April 20, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion wrestlers David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) and Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) topped the list of strong performances as 15 Lions or NLWC club members competed in the 2014 Vegas ASICS/U.S. Open and FILA Junior Nationals on Friday and Saturday. Taylor and Retherford claimed runner-up laurels while Ruth took third.
Taylor was superb at 74 kg, going 3-1 with a tech fall and a pin. Taylor rolled to the finals before dropping a hard-fought 7-6 decision to reigning Olympic Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs in the finals. . Ruth was outstanding in a rugged 86 kg bracket, going 5-1 with two tech falls to place third. His only loss was a close 13-12 decision to Clayton Foster.
Five other Nittany Lions also competed at the event, with all grabbing at least one win. Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) went 3-2 at 86 kg; James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) went 2-2 at 70 kg; Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) went 1-2 at 65 kg; Kade Moss (South Jordan, Utah) went 1-2 at 65 kg; and Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) went 1-2 at 57 kg.
Retherford was equally impressive, going 5-1 overall at 66 kg in the FILA Junior Nationals bracket and taking second at 66 kg. Retherford had four tech falls before losing in the finals to Aaron Pico. Four Penn Staters competed in the Junior Nationals bracket, three of whom placed. Joining Retherford on the medal stand was freshman Garett Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.), who went 6-3 for eighth place at 74 kg; and freshman Cody Law (Windber, Pa.), who went 5-3 for eighth place at 70 kg. Freshman Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) was strong at 84 kg, going 3-2 as well.
All eleven Nittany Lions represented the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club and were joined by four outstanding senior members of the club, all former NCAA Champions. Jake Varner, reigning Olympic Gold Medalist, went 4-0 to win the 97 kg title. Former Lion National Champion and four-time All-American Frank Molinaro went 5-2 at 65 kg to take fourth place. Former Lion National Champion and four-time All-American Quentin Wright went 5-2 to take seventh place at 86 kg. Former Penn State All-American Mark McKnight posted a 3-2 mark at 57 kg to place seventh as well.