Lions Primed for Title Shot

Penn State has big lead in team standings heading into NCAA wrestling finals. Can PSU grab its first crown since 1953?

The Penn State wrestling team inched closer to a national championship Friday night, grabbing a commanding lead heading into Saturday's championship round at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

The Nittany Lions won three of their four semifinal matches, including a stunning pin by 184-pounder Quentin Wright, to lead the team standings with 92.5 points prior to the title round. Second-place Cornell has 75 points.

Joining Wright in the championship round are 149-pounder Frank Molinaro and 157-pounder David Taylor.

This would be State's first national title since 1953 and only the second in school history.

Penn State put four wrestlers into the semifinal. Andrew Long dropped a 6-4 decision to Boise State's top-seeded Andrew Hochstrasser to fall into the consolation bracket.

From there, however, PSU dominated.

Molinaro muscled out a 4-1 decision over Boise State's Jason Chamberlain and Taylor remained undefeated on the season by dominating American's Steve Fittery (7-1).

Then Wright took the mat. The redshirt sophomore lost a major decision to Iowa's Grant Gambrall in a dual meet earlier this year. At the time, Wright was returning from a shoulder injury.

Friday was a different story. Wright dominated the action early before catching Gambrall in a cradle for a first-period pin.

Meanwhile, in a fun twist, Taylor will meet former Nittany Lion and current Arizona State standout Bubba Jenkins in the title match.

The three title contenders will have a chance to build on Penn State's team lead Saturday.

So will Long and 174-pounder Ed Ruth, who are both alive in the consolations.

After dropping a quarterfinal match to Stanford's Nick Amuchasteguil due to injury default, Ruth battled back with a decision and pin in the consolations, with the fall adding bonus points to State's team total.

ESPNU's coverage of the final day of the NCAA wrestling championships will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.


1: PENN STATE – 92.5
2: Cornell – 75.0
3: Iowa – 74.0
4: Oklahoma State – 65.5
5: American – 56.0
6: Lehigh – 53.5
7: Arizona State – 52.5
8: Boise State – 52.0
9: Minnesota – 49.5
10: Wisconsin – 44.5


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