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April 26, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The four-time defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State wrestling team held its annual end-of-the year awards banquet, hosted each April by the Penn State Wrestling Club. A total of 15 awards were given out, highlighting performance, academics and community service.
Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) hauled in 33 percent of the hardware, bringing home five awards. Taylor won the Bill Koll Award for most pins in a season (16); the Most Bonus Points Award (60.5 using a team metric); the Joe Scalzo Award for most points scored in a season (172.5 using a team metric); the fifth-year wrestlers Academic Excellence Award (3.67 GPA) and the William Neidig Award given to the most outstanding wrestler.
Taylor ended the year with a perfect 34-0 record and won his second NCAA individual title at 165. Taylor rolled through the NCAA tournament with a 5-0 mark including three pins and a major. Taylor's 34-0 mark included 16 pins, eight techs and eight majors. He ended his stellar and historic Penn State career as a two-time NCAA Champion, a four-time All-American, Penn State's first-ever four-time NCAA finalist, a four-time Big Ten Champion and a two-time Hodge Trophy Award winner as the nation's top wrestler. Taylor was also presented with his Hodge Trophy at the banquet.
Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) took home two awards. The Lion 125-pounder won the Charles Speidel Award for most takedowns (118) and the third-year wrestler Academic Excellence Award with a 3.56 GPA. Megaludis concluded yet another outstanding season, earning All-American laurels for the third time. Megaludis went 5-1 at NCAAs and took third place this season. The Lion junior ended his year with a 31-4 record, including two pins, six techs and nine majors. Megaludis heads into his senior season with an 87-17 overall record having placed second, second and third at NCAAs.
Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) also took home two awards. Brown won the team's Leadership Awards as well as the fourth-year wrestler Academic Achievement Award with a superb 3.97 GPA. Brown wrapped up a superb junior campaign earning All-America honors for the second straight year. The Lion 174-pounder went 5-2 at NCAAs to place fifth, with each loss coming in extra time. Brown closed out his junior year with a 33-6 record with seven pins, four techs and 10 majors. He heads into his senior campaign with an 89-13 overall mark having placed second and fifth at NCAAs.
Senior James English (York, Pa.) won the team's Total Commitment Award. English, who was awarded a sixth year of eligibility prior to the season, came back from an early season injury to claim the starting spot at 149 by season's end. English parlayed a fifth place finish at Big Tens into a trip to his first NCAA Championship. Entering NCAAs unseeded, English became one of Oklahoma City's top stories with a rousing 5-2 run through nationals that ended with a 2-1 (tb) win over defending NCAA Champion Kendric Maple of Oklahoma to take seventh place. His run to All-America status included wins over the No. 4, No. 10 and No. 12 seeds. English ended the year with a 16-7 mark and ends his Penn State career with a 60-22 record.
Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) won the Kay Vinson Award, given annual to the most improved wrestler. Beitz posted an 11-9 mark at 149 for Penn State this year, including a 5-5 dual meet record and a 3-2 mark in Big Ten duals.
Sophomore Josh Rogers (Pottstown, Pa.) was honored with the team's Community Service Award. Rogers went 7-10 in open tournament this season, including two pins. He is 8-12 overall. Wyleisha Branch was given the Carl Winterburn Award for the most supportive manager.
The final two Academic Achievement Awards went to red-shirt freshman Caleb Livingston (Drexel Hill, Pa.) for second-year wrestlers with a 3.75 GPA and true freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) for first-year wrestlers with a 3.68 GPA. Retherford became Penn State's latest true freshman All-American with a fifth-place showing at his first NCAA Championship. Retherford posted a 33-3 record this year at 141 with four pins, two techs and eight majors.
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.