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Sept. 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, the two-time defending NCAA and Big Ten Champions, will head into the 2012-13 season ranked No. 1 in WIN Magazine's Pre-Season Tournament Power Index. In addition, head coach Cael Sanderson has seven wrestlers ranked individually, each of whom is ranked in the top eight.
Penn State is ranked No. 1 in the team TPI, which efforts to rank according to predicted tournament finish. The Nittany Lions check in with 97.5 points, almost 20 points ahead of second-place Iowa, which has 79.5 points and six wrestlers in the top eight. Oklahoma State rounds out the top three with 79.0 points and five wrestlers in the top eight.
Minnesota is back in fourth with 77.0 point and five top-eight individuals while Ohio State is in fifth with 65.0 and four. In all the Big Ten holds four of the top five spots with Northwestern checking in at No. 10 with 31.5 points as well.
Sophomore Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) enters the season ranked No. 2 at 125. Megaludis was a freshman All-American and national runner-up last season and ended a stellar true freshman campaign with a 28-8 overall record. Megaludis lost a close decision to current No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa in the national finals.
Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) will head into the season ranked No. 8 at 149. With Penn State graduating four-time All-American and '12 NCAA Champion Frank Molinaro, Alton steps in at 149 after a red-shirt season. As a true freshman in 2010-11, Alton went 30-10 and was a NCAA quarterfinalist. He dazzled Penn State fans with 18 pins as well.
Sophomore Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) heads into the new campaign ranked No. 3 nationally at 157. Alton capped of an All-American season last year with a third place finish at NCAAs and ended the year with a 30-6 record. National finalists Kyle Dake of Cornell and Derek St. John of Iowa sit No. 1 and No. 2 at 157.
Defending NCAA Champion David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) heads into the season ranked No. 1 at 165. Taylor, the 2012 Hodge Trophy Winner as the national wrestler of the year, is the two-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and won the NCAAs Most Dominant Wrestler Award as well. He posted a perfect 32-0 record last season and heads into his junior campaign with a 70-1 career record as a two-time All-American.
Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) was among the best 174 pounders in the nation last season, but with teammate Ed Ruth on his way to an undefeated season, Brown was unable to compete in the post-season. Still, the Nittany Lion ended the year with a 27-2 record and was the only wrestler to push Ruth last year, losing a 6-3 decision in the Southern Scuffle finals. Brown enters the year ranked No. 7 by win at 174.
Defending NCAA Champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) will move up a weight this season to 184 and heads into the year ranked No. 1 at the new slot. Ruth was a perfect 31-0 at 174 a year ago, rolling to the NCAA title and becoming a two-time All-American. The Harrisburg native was Intermat's National Wrestler of the Year as well and heads into his junior season with a 69-2 career record.
NCAA Champion Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the champion at 184 in 2011 and national runner-up last year, moves up to 197 this year and enters the year ranked No. 2 at his new weight. Wright went 30-4 last season and is ranked behind only Kent State's Dustin Kilgore, who red-shirted a year ago. Wright is a three-time All-American and heads into his final season with Penn State carrying an 84-23 career record.
Penn State will begin the new season on Nov. 1 when it hosts its Intrasquad Scrimmage at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. Ticket information for the 2012-13 season is forthcoming very soon. The season ticket package will include seven home duals (the Intrasquad is a free event and the package does not include the Nittany Lion Open). For information on Penn State wrestling tickets simply call 1-800-NITTANY or check online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets/m-wrestl-tickets.html . Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWRES and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling.