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June 2, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team was well-represented at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials this weekend in Madison, Wis., with national champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) and reigning Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner claiming titles. The duo will represent the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club at the 2014 FILA World Championships this September in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Ruth entered the challenge bracket as the No. 2 seed at 86 kg but rolled to a 3-0 record, including a 7-3 win over top seed Clayton Foster in the challenge finals. The victory sent Ruth into the championship finals, best two-of-three match-up, with Keith Gavin. Ruth dropped the first match 7-5 but roared for a fall over Gavin in the second bout, setting up a winner-take-all final match-up. Ruth fell behind 4-0 early to Gavin but rallied for a thrilling 11-7 victory to earn the 2014 U.S. National Championship at 86 kg and punch his ticket to the World Championships.
Varner, reigning Olympic and National Champion, took down challenge bracket champ Dustin Kilgore in the 97 kg finals, beating the former Kent State standout 7-2 and 5-2. Varner will join Ruth and represent the NLWC in Uzbekistan.
Two-time Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) had an outstanding run at 74 kg, roaring to the challenge bracket championship with a 3-1 win over Andrew Howe in the challenge finals. Taylor then dropped two hard-fought decisions, 6-2 and 6-5, to defending Olympic and National Champion Jordan Burroughs in the 74 kg championship finals.
Current Nittany Lion All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) entered the 57 kg challenge bracket as a wild-card selection and as the No. 10 seed. The Nittany Lion blazed his way to the challenge finals, dropping a 1-0 decision to Tony Ramos. He ended the tournament with a 3-2 mark, falling to Matt McDonough in the true third bout.
Four other members of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club also competed at the event. Former Penn State National Champion Frank Molinaro went 3-1 at 65 kg, downing Reece Humphrey 7-2 for true third. Current Nittany Lion assistant Nick Fanthorpe posted a 2-2 mark at 65 kg. Former Penn State All-American Mark McKnight went 1-2 at 57 kg and former Lion National Champion Quentin Wright also competed at 86 kg for the NLWC.
Penn State true freshman All-American Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) competed at the U.S. Junior World Team Trials at 66 kg and the Lion roared to a 4-0 mark to claim the challenge bracket title. The win set up a rematch with Aaron Pico for the national title, with Retherford dropping close 3-0 and 5-1 decisions.
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.