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PENN STATE VS. LEHIGH
|Sunday, Nov. 9 - 2 p.m. ET|
|Rec Hall | University Park, Pa.|
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No.5 by Intermat in its pre-season Tournament Power Index (TPI), will host No. 17 Lehigh in the 2014-15 season opener. The dual, in already sold out Rec Hall, will begin at 2 p.m. The Nittany Lions are coming off four straight NCAA and Big Ten titles and head into the new season with a number of key returners red-shirting and looking to replace two of the nation's all-time great collegiate wrestlers.
Head coach Cael Sanderson will showcase a young and talented line-up as the team heads into the 2014-15 campaign. With the graduation of two of collegiate wrestling's all-time greatest wrestlers and two more All-Americans red-shirting, Sanderson will rely on an exciting combination of tested veterans and talented new faces.
Junior Jordan Conaway, a 2013 NCAA qualifier who missed All-America laurels at 133 by just one victory in Des Moines, will step in at 125 (his natural weight) as three-time All-American Nico Megaludis gets a red-shirt this year. Conaway, ranked No. 12 at 125 by Intermat, went 15-5 in open tournaments and duals last year at 133 and was 19-10 the year before. Sophomore Jimmy Gulibon, an NCAA qualifier a year ago, is ranked No. 8 at 133 by Intermat and is coming off a solid 18-15 freshman campaign. True freshman All-American Zain Retherford red-shirting this year, setting up an intriguing battle at 141 for the starting nod. The contest early on is between University National Greco-Roman champion Kade Moss, a red-shirt freshman, and talented junior Michael Waters. Moss is coming off his red-shirt season while Waters went 10-7 in open tournaments a year ago.
Sophomore Zack Beitz heads into the year ranked No. 16 at 149 by Intermat and will compete with outstanding junior Luke Frey for the nod at 149. Beitz had a solid freshman year, posting an 11-9 mark and picking up key wins in dual meets for Penn State. Frey was 5-4 when his season was cut short by injury. Senior Dylan Alton heads into his final campaign ranked No. 9 at 157. The 2012 All-American as a third place finisher during his freshman year, Alton has battled injury since and appears to be nearing full speed. He went 20-7 a year ago and is a three-time NCAA qualifier. Red-shirt freshman Cody Law leads a strong pack of contenders backing Alton up, ready to step in at 157 as well. Red-shirt freshman Garret Hammond has the inside track at 165 for Penn State after posting a 29-7 record as an unattached grappler in open tournaments a year ago.
Senior Matt Brown, a two-time All-American and 2013 NCAA finalist, is ranked No. 3 at 174. Brown carries an 89-13 career record with him into his final campaign, one that has him squarely in the hunt for an NCAA title. Red-shirt freshman Matt McCutcheon has his eyes set on the starting spot at 184 and will compete with sophomore Wes Phipps for the call at that weight. McCutcheon went 14-5 in open tournaments during his red-shirt campaign while Phipps posted a 5-4 mark as a rookie a year ago, including a 2-2 dual meet record. Junior All-American Morgan McIntosh heads into the new year ranked No. 4 at 197 and has his focus firmly set on winning an NCAA title. McIntosh went 32-5 a year ago and earned his first All-America tag for the Nittany Lions. The 285-pound weight class is a heated three-way battle between a trio of talented seniors. Jon Gingrich, an NCAA qualifier last year, is ranked No. 7 and went 23-10 a year ago; Jimmy Lawson, an NCAA qualifier in 2013, was 16-5 last year before an injury ended his season; and Nick Ruggear, who was 6-4 last campaign, are all fighting it out for the starting spot.
Lehigh comes into the year with a superb line-up that features three ranked wrestlers and a bevy of talented upper-classmen. Junior Mason Beckman enters the season ranked No. 2 at 133, setting up a key battle at that weight with No. 8 Gulibon. Junior Nate Brown is ranked No. 3 at 184 and junior Elliot Riddick is No. 18 at 197. The Mountain Hawks host Hofstra on Thursday, Nov. 6, post-press.
Penn State leads the all-time series with Lehigh 65-34-3. The Nittany Lions have won the last four, including last season's 22-12 win at Lehigh. Penn State also won the last meeting in Rec Hall, a 29-6 victory on Nov. 16, 2012.
Penn State continues its dual meet season with a two dual road swing in two weeks. Penn State is at No. 18 Pittsburgh on Friday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. in a dual to be wrestled in Pitt's Petersen Events Center. The Lions then visit Clarion on Saturday, Nov. 22, for a 7 p.m. dual. A very limited number of standing room only (SRO) tickets are available for Penn State's Rec Hall duals. Fans can call the Penn State ticket office at 1-800-NITTANY to purchase. 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 2014-15 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
#5 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (0-0, 0-0 B1G)
WT NAME EL HT/HS REC
125 #12 Jordan Conaway Jr. Abbottstown, Pa./New Oxford 0-0
133 #8 Jimmy Gulibon So. Latrobe, Pa./Derry Area 0-0
141 Kade Moss Fr. South Jordan, Utah/Bingham 0-0
OR Michael Waters Jr. Advance, N.C./Davie 0-0
149 #16 Zack Beitz So. Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata 0-0
OR Luke Frey Jr. Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville 0-0
157 #9 Dylan Alton Sr. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 0-0
OR Cody Law Fr. Windber, Pa./Forest Hills 0-0
165 Garett Hammond Fr. Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg 0-0
OR Cody Law Fr. Windber, Pa./Forest Hills 0-0
174 #3 Matt Brown Sr. West Valley City, Utah/Cyprus 0-0
184 Matt McCutcheon Fr. Apollo, Pa./Kiski Area 0-0
OR Wes Phipps So. Grove City, Pa./Grove City 0-0
197 #4 Morgan McIntosh Jr. Santa Ana, Calif./Calvary Chapel 0-0
285 #7 Jon Gingrich Sr. Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area 0-0
OR Jimmy Lawson Sr. Toms River, N.J./Manchester Township 0-0
OR Nick Ruggear Sr. Oxford, Pa./Oxford 0-0
ALL `ORs' LISTED ALPHABETICALLY
#17 LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS (0-0*)
WT NAME EL HT/HS REC
125 Scott Parker Fr. Sellersville, Pa./Pennridge 0-0
133 #2 Mason Beckman Jr. Transfer, Pa./Reynolds 0-0
141 Randy Cruz So. Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic 0-0
149 Will Switzer So. Severna Park, Md./Archbishop Spalding 0-0
OR Drew Longo Fr. Ardsley, N.Y./Ardsley 0-0
157 Michael Stepien Jr. Berkeley Heights, N.J./Governor Livingston 0-0
165 Santiago Martinez Sr. Oviedo, Fla./Coral Glades 0-0
OR Marshall Peppelman Sr. Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin 0-0
174 Marshall Peppelman Sr. Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin 0-0
OR Ben Haas Jr. Little Valley, N.Y./Salamanca 0-0
184 #3 Nate Brown Jr. Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg 0-0
197 #18 Elliot Riddick Jr. Allentown, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic 0-0
OR John Bolich Jr. Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland 0-0
285 Doug Vollaro Jr. Oviedo, Fla./Pine Castle Christian 0-0
*Does not include Lehigh's 11/6 dual meet vs. Hofstra
Team ranking is Intermat Tournament Power Index (TPI) as of 11/4/14
Individual rankings are Intermat as of 11/4/14
HEAD COACH Cael Sanderson
Cael Sanderson is in his sixth season as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team. The veteran head coach now has four straight NCAA and four straight Big Ten titles in hand. He has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year four straight times and was named the 2013 National Coach of the Year (his second such honor).
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 2010-11, Sanderson guided the Nittany Lions to its first-ever Southern Scuffle Co-Championship and its first Virginia Duals Championship since 1991. 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.
In 2011-12, 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 sixth team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles.
In 2012-13, Penn State went 13-1 overall in dual meets this year and won its third straight Southern Scuffle title in early January. The Nittany Lions followed that up with a third straight Big Ten Championship on March 9-10 at Illinois and a third straight NCAA National Title in Des Moines on March 21-23. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third straight season (sharing this year's honor as a co-CotY) and 2013 National Coach of the Year (the second time he has earned that honor).
In 2013-14, Sanderson led Penn State to a 15-1 overall record, yet another share of the Big Ten dual meet title with a 7-1 mark, a fourth straight Southern Scuffle title, a fourth straight Big Ten title and a fourth straight NCAA Championship. He was once again named Big Ten Coach of the Year, the third time he has been so honored..
In this, his sixth season as Penn State's coach, Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to four straight Southern Scuffle titles (including this year's), two B1G dual meet co-titles (including this year's), four straight Big Ten Championship titles (including this year's), four straight national titles (including this year's), collected 26 All-Americans, seven national champions, three Gorriaran winners, two NCAA tourney OWs and two Hodge Trophy winners. Coach Sanderson now sports a 115-20-2 dual meet mark in this, his seventh year as a head coach. He is 71-10-2 and in his fifth year at Penn State.
NICKAL CLAIMS 174-POUND TITLE AT CLARION OPEN
Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler Bo Nickal (Allen, Tex.) posted a perfect 4-0 mark in his debut event at the collegiate level to win the 174-pound title at the Clarion Open late Sunday. Nickal led a contingent of five Nittany Lion true freshmen, all wrestling unattached at the event. Nickal posted four wins at 184, including an 11-2 major in the semifinals. He downed Edinboro's Nick Mitchell in the championship bout by a 3-2 score. True freshman Kenneth Yanovich (Effort, Pa.) posted a strong 3-2 record at 125 while classmate George Carpenter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) also picked up a win at 125. Devon Van Cura (Washington, N.C.) competed at 174 and Nicholas Weldon (Birmingham, Ala.) competed at 184.
MOLINARO JOINS PENN STATE COACHING STAFF
Former Penn State National Champion and four-time All-American Frank Molinaro is returning to Happy Valley as an assistant coach. One of Penn State's all-time greats, Molinaro joins head coach Cael Sanderson's staff after two years as an assistant at Rutgers.
Molinaro closed out a stellar Penn State career in 2012 with an undefeated senior campaign. He posted a 33-0 record, including 11 majors, seven tech falls and four pins. Molinaro won his second straight Big Ten 149-pound title in Purdue and then followed that up by claiming the NCAA title in St. Louis with a decisive 4-1 win over Minnesota's Dylan Ness. Molinaro earned 2012 Big Ten Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler honors as well that year. He left Penn State as the school's fifth four-time All-American with a 121-29 career record. As a junior, Molinaro went 32-3 this season and advanced to the NCAA finals at 149. He ended his junior year as the 2011 NCAA National Runner-Up and the 2011 Big Ten Champion at 149, thus earning first team All-Big Ten laurels. During his sophomore year, Molinaro went 32-3 and placed fifth at NCAAs in his first season at 149. Molinaro went 23-19 as a red-shirt freshman and went from an unseeded grappler to an eight-place All-America finish at 141 pounds.
He left Penn State as a two-time Big Ten Champion, a four-time All-American, a two-time NCAA finalist and one-time National Champion. He is currently 10th on Penn State's all-time wins list with 121 and 11th on the all-time matches wrestled list with 150. Molinaro is tied for seventh on Penn State's all-time NCAA tournament win list with 17. Molinaro began his collegiate coaching career at Rutgers in 2011-12 and spent two years with the Scarlet Knights. During his time with Rutgers, he assisted in coaching the school's first All-American since 2002. Molinaro is married to Kera (Bolen) Molinaro, an assistant coach with the Penn State women's gymnastics team.
REC HALL SRO AND BJC SINGLE DUAL SALE DATES
A limited number of Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets for Penn State's six Rec Hall home dual meets went on sale on Wednesday, October 21, and two duals sold out quickly (Lehigh and Minnesota). A limited number of SRO tickets remain for Penn State's four other home duals. Fans may purchase the single-match SRO tickets only by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Only about 300 SROs will be made available for each dual meet. The public sale for the 2014-15 BJC Dual against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Feb. 8 will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. Group sales for this event start Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. The BJC Dual pricing is as follows: Adults ($16), Youth 12-and-under ($10) and groups of 15 or more ($8). Penn State students are admitted for free. Fans may purchase BJC dual tickets online at www.GoPSUsports.com/accountmanager or by calling 1-800-NITTANY.
LIONS RANKED #5 ON INTERMAT'S TPI
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team is ranked No. 5 on the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index (TPI). Eight Nittany Lions are ranked nationally at their respective weights as well: Jordan Conaway is No. 12 at 125; Jimmy Gulibon is No. 8 at 133; Zain Retherford is No. 3 at 141; Zack Beitz is No. 16 at 149; Dylan Alton is No. 9 at 157; Matt Brown is No. 3 at 174; Morgan McIntosh is No. 4 at 197 and Jon Gingrich is No. 7 at 285.