State Closing in on Another Crown

Five Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA finals as PSU is poised to win another wrestling title. The Lions were undefeated in the semifinals. UPDATE: Alton takes third.

Penn State is cruising toward its second-straight NCAA wrestling championship.

Friday, Cael Sanderson's top-ranked Nittany Lions advanced all five of their semifinalists on to Saturday's championship bouts. In the team race, PSU had built a practically insurmountable lead.

Midway through the final consolation bouts, Penn State had 128.5 points. Minnesota was a distant second (111.5), followed by Iowa (99.5) and Cornell (90.5). Though the outcome was still mathematically in question, it would take a series of unlikely events for the Lions to lose their lead.

State's three undefeated and top-ranked wrestlers all advanced in relatively easy fashion.

Frank Molinaro decisioned unseeded Justin Accordino (5-0) at 149 pounds and will face Minnesota's Dylan Noss (No. 7 seed) in the final.

David Taylor had his fourth straight pin of the tournament at 165, decking Clarion's fourth-seeded Bekzod Abdurakhmono in 4:44. Taylor faces No. 11 seed Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh in the final.

Ed Ruth dominated fourth-seeded Logan Storey of Minnesota (7-1) at 174. Ruth now squares off with third-seeded Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford in the final.

Of Penn State's other two finalist, one was a surprise and one was not.

At 125 pounds, Nico Megaludis entered the tournament as the No. 10 seed. But he beat the No. 7, No. 2 and No. 6 seeds to advance to the final. Friday's double-overtime semifinal win was over sixth-seeded Frank Perrolli of Cornell. Megaludis faces Iowa's top-ranked Matt McDonough in the final.

Meanwhile, PSU 184-pounder Quentin Wright once again picked the right time to heat up. After winning a national title as a No. 9 seed last season, Wright entered this tournament as a No. 6 seed. He breezed through to the semis, where he got an early lead on No. 2 seed Robert Hamilin of Lehigh. Wright was never seriously threatened in a 3-2 decision. He faces No. 4 seed Steve Bosak of Cornell in the final.

At 157 pounds, Penn State's Dylan Alton advanced to the consolation semifinals. He won two matches, including a decision over Northwestern's Jason Welch (6-2) in the third-place match.

Alton and the finalists have all won All-America honors this year.

Nittany Lions Frank Martellotti (133), Morgan McIntosh (197) and Cameron Wade (275) have all been eliminated from the tournament.


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