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Oct. 30, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team heads into the 2012-13 season riding a wave of success unprecedented in Penn State's long and storied wrestling history. Head coach Cael Sanderson and his squad have reeled off two straight NCAA National Championships and two Big Ten titles and will be looking to make it three straight this year. Coming off a year that saw it win the NCAA crown, the conference title and the Big Ten regular season crown, Penn State returns five All-Americans and a talented crop of young wrestlers for the new season.
Three former NCAA champions lead the Lion charge. Senior Quentin Wright, the 2011 NCAA champion at 184 and NCAA runner-up last year, will make the move up to 197 this year. Wright is considered an early favorite to battle for the national crown at his new weight and will be looking to become a four-time All-American as well. Juniors Ed Ruth and David Taylor also return as defending NCAA champions. Ruth won the NCAA and Big Ten crowns last year with a perfect 31-0 mark at 174 and now moves up to 184. Like Wright, Ruth is an early favorite to battle for an individual title at his new weight. Taylor went 32-0 at 165 and won NCAA and Big Ten Championships a year ago as well. He was named the Hodge Trophy Award winner as the nation's top collegiate wrestler and returns for another run at the 165 pound title this year. Joining Penn State's trio of NCAA champs is NCAA finalist Nico Megaludis at 125. Megaludis advanced all the way to the national finals as a true freshman and will enter the new year looking to take that last, final step to a title this year. Sophomore Dylan Alton took third last year at 157 and returns for the 2012-13 season looking to make a run at an individual title as well.
The 2012-13 season begins with two exhibition events, one for the Rec Hall faithful and one in the nation's capitol. Penn State will host its intrasquad dual meet on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. The event is free and open to the public. The action will feature two line-ups of Nittany Lions wrestling in tune-ups for the upcoming season. Two days later, four of Penn State's five returning All-Americans will compete in the NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington, D.C. The exhibition dual pitting some of the nation's top wrestlers takes place on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in American University's Bender Arena. The NWCA event is already sold out.
An important note for Nittany Lion fans: The NWCA All-Star Classic will be broadcast live on the Penn State Wrestling Radio Network with Jeff Byers calling the action.
The line-ups for the intrasquad dual have not yet been set. Megaludis (125), Dylan Alton (157), Taylor (165) and Wright (197) are set to compete at the NWCA event and will therefore not take part in the instrasquad dual. Megaludis will take on Illinois' Jesse Delgado at 125; Alton will battle Northwestern's Jason Welch at 157; Taylor will take on Cornell's Kyle Dake at 165 and Wright will tangle with Pitt's Matt Wilps at 197.
Penn State will open up the 2012-13 regular season by hosting long-time rival Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions trek to West Virginia for a Sunday, Nov. 18, dual at 2 p.m. the same weekend. 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/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2012-13 Penn State wrestling season is sponsored by The Family Clothesline.
HEAD COACH Cael Sanderson
Cael Sanderson, last year's Intermat National Coach of the Year, is in his fourth season as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team. The veteran head coach now has two straight NCAA and Big Ten titles in hand as the 2012-13 season unfolds.
THE PENN STATE YEARS...
In his first year at Penn State (2009-10), he guided the Lions to a 13-6-1 dual meet mark, 5-3 in Big Ten action, and crowned his first Big Ten Champion. The Lions finished No. 10 in the final USA Today/Coaches dual meet poll and placed ninth at NCAAs.
In 2011-12, Sanderson guided the Nittany Lions to its first-ever Southern Scuffle Co-Championship (2010-11) and its first Virginia Duals Championship since 1991 (2010-11). In guiding Penn State to a 6-1-1 conference mark, Sanderson equaled the most Big Ten dual meet wins in Penn State history in just his second year at the helm of the Nittany Lions (Penn State won six Big Ten duals in 1998). Sanderson led Penn State to the school's first ever Big Ten Championship on March 5-6 and was named 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Saving the best for last, he led the Nittany Lions to the 2011 NCAA National Championship in Philadelphia on March 17-19, Penn State's first since 1953 and Sanderson's first as a collegiate head coach.
Last year, Sanderson led Penn State to a school record 7-1 Big Ten dual record and a share of the 2012 Big Ten dual meet championship. Sanderson then made it two in a row by leading Penn State to the 2012 Big Ten Championship at Purdue on March 3-4 and was named 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, earning the honor for the second straight season. Two weeks later, Sanderson led Penn State to a second straight NCAA crown, helping Penn State to become just the fourth team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles.
In three years as Penn State's coach, Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to two-straight conference titles, two straight national titles, collected 14 All-Americans, three national champions, two Gorriaran winners, one NCAA tourney OW and one Hodge Trophy winner.
Coach Sanderson now sports an 87-18-2 dual meet mark in this, his seventh year as a head coach. He is 43-8-2 and in his fourth year at Penn State.
THE IOWA STATE YEARS...
Sanderson came to Penn State after three extremely successful years as the head coach at his alma mater. Sanderson's teams did not finish any lower than fifth at the NCAA Championships and never had a wrestler not qualify for nationals, getting 30 of 30 grapplers through to the championship tournament. In 2007, Sanderson's rookie campaign, he led ISU to a 13-3 dual meet record and the first of three straight Big 12 Championships. An NCAA Runner-Up finished in Detroit capped off a wildly successful year as the Cyclones crowned one national championship and Sanderson was honored as Big 12 Coach of the Year, National Rookie Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year. The next year, Sanderson led ISU to a 16-4 dual meet mark, another Big 12 title and a fifth place finish at nationals. Iowa State's seven All-Americans in 2008 were the most at the school since 1993. In his final year at ISU, Sanderson's team went 15-3 in duals, won its third straight Big 12 title and took third place at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis (just 12 points out of first place). The Cyclones also crowned another national champion. In three years, Sanderson's teams went 44-10, won three conference crowns, qualified all 30 wrestlers for nationals, and earned 15 All-America awards and two individual national titles.
PENN STATE WRESTLING RADIO NETWORK TO CARRY NWCA ALL-STAR MEET LIVE!
The full body of the Penn State Wrestling Radio Network will air Jeff Byers' call of the entire NWCA All-Star Classic live on Nov. 3. The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., features four Nittany Lions (Nico Megaludis at 125, Dylan Alton at 157, David Taylor at 165 and Quentin Wright at 197). Forever Broadcasting's WRSC-AM, 1390; WLAK-FM, 103.5, in Huntingdon; WMRF-FM, 97.5, in Lewistown; and WBPZ-AM, 1230, will all broadcast the event.
NITTANY LIONS RANKED NO. 1 NATIONALLY BY W.I.N. TO START 2012-13 CAMPAIGN
With three returning national champions and five returning All-Americans who placed in the top three during its NCAA title run last year, the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will enter the year ranked No. 1 in TPI by W.I.N. Magazine. Penn State's Tournament Power Index (TPI) of 97.5 edges out No. 2 Iowa, who will enter the year as the No. 2 ranked team with a 79.5 TPI. Oklahoma State follows at No. 3 with a 79.0 TPI. Defending NCAA champion David Taylor will enter the year ranked No. 1 at 165 and defending NCAA titlist Ed Ruth, moving up to 184, will enter the year ranked No. 1 at his new weight. 2011 NCAA Champ Quentin Wright is moving up to 197 and will enter the season ranked No. 2. Sophomore Nico Megaludis, All-American as national runner-up last year, is ranked No. 2 at 125 and classmate Dylan Alton, All-American at 157, enters the year ranked No. 3. Sophomore Matt Brown will begin the season ranked No. 7 at 174 by WIN and sophomore Andrew Alton, coming off a red-shirt season, is ranked No. 8 at 149.