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Dec. 31, 2013
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 in the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index, will head into the 2014 Southern Scuffle tomorrow morning with 12 seeded wrestlers. With 15 grapplers wrestling attached and two competing unattached, seven of those individuals are seeded among the top four at their weights.
Three-time All-Americans David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) are Penn State's two top seeds. Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165, is the No. 1 seed and enters the tournament with a 12-0 mark with seven pins, three technical falls and two majors. Ruth, ranked No. 1 at 184, is the No. 1 seed with an identical 12-0 mark. He is riding an 80-match win streak dating back to his freshman year.
Junior All-Americans Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) and Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) are No. 2 seeds at the event. Megaludis, a two-time All-American and ranked No. 2 nationally at 125, enters the tournament with an 11-1 record. All-American Brown carries a perfect 12-0 mark into the event as the two-seed at 174.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally, is the No. 2 seed at 141. Retherford sports an unblemished 12-0 record. Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 3 nationally, will be the No. 3 seed at a stacked 197-pounds. McIntosh is, like Retherford, unbeaten and has an 11-0 record, giving Penn State five wrestlers with perfect marks and more than 10 wins. Junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) rounds out Penn State's top-four seeded wrestlers. Lawson, who is ranked No. 12 nationally, is the No. 4 seed at 285 with a 10-1 mark.
Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) is the No. 7 seed at 133. Gulibon is ranked No. 18 nationally with a 4-6 mark. Sophomore teammate Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) is the No. 12 seed at 133 as well and is 9-2 on the year. Sophomore Luke Frey (Montoursville, Pa.) returns after missing most of the year with an injury and is the No. 10 seed at 149.
Senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.), a Scuffle finalist last year, will be the No. 9 seed at 157. Vollrath sports an 8-4 record. Rounding out Penn State's 12 seeded grapplers is junior heavyweight Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), who is the No. 10 seed with a 13-1 mark.
Rounding out Penn State's 15-man attached contingent is a talented trio. Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) is 7-4 at 149 with key wins in Penn State dual meet victories over Ohio State and at Iowa; junior Nate Morgan (McCook, Neb.) is 12-4 on the year and will compete at 141 and red-shirt freshman Wes Phipps (Grove City, Pa.) is 2-2 at 184, including two major victories in early season duals for the Nittany Lions.
Competing unattached at the event will be red-shirting true-freshmen Garret Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.) at 165 and Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) at 184. Twin brothers Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 7 and No. 5 at 149 and 157 respectively, will not compete in the Scuffle. The duo debuted at the Wilkes Open this past Saturday.
The brackets for the 2014 Southern Scuffle will be released tomorrow morning after weigh-ins, shortly after 7 a.m. Remember; when a team has multiple attached wrestlers at a given weight, there is no need to indicate a `scoring wrestler' in terms of the team score. The wrestler who accrues the most team points at that weight is automatically the scoring grappler.
The two-day Scuffle begins tomorrow morning, Jan. 1, at 9 a.m. and concludes on Jan. 2. Penn State's next home dual is set for Sunday, Jan. 12, when the Lions welcome Purdue to Rec Hall for a 2 p.m. showdown.
With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the remaining Rec Hall duals. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. 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.