Taylor Leads PSU to Second-Straight Title

The Nittany Lions blow away the competition in St. Louis, crowing three national champions along the way.

Penn State went into the finals of the NCAA wrestling championship in St. Louis Saturday night with the team title already clinched.

The Nittany Lions capped their second straight title with a flourish by crowning a school-record three champions and building upon their already significant lead. State finished with a program-best 143 points, blowing away second-place Minnesota (117.5) and the rest of the field.

“The guys did a great job,” PSU coach Cael Sanderson told ESPN. “I'm very happy for them and proud of them.”

Lion 165-pounder David Taylor was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament, Most Dominate Wrestler for the 2011-12 season and captured the award for most falls in the least time.

Here is how things went down Saturday night, as all three top-ranked and unbeaten Nittany Lions stayed that way.


At 149, top-ranked senior Frank Molinaro beat No. 7 seed Dylan Ness of Minnesota, 4-1.

Molinaro did so with a first-period takedown (using a single-leg) and then rode out the final 17 seconds for a 2-0 lead. Molinaro had a quick escape in the second period to go up 3-0. In the final period, Ness chose down, and Molinaro maintained control until guaranteeing the riding-time point, then cut him loose, accounting for the final score.

It was Molinaro's first national title and the first time Penn State crowned a 149-pound champ. It also capped an undefeated season (33-0) for the four-time All-American, nicknamed “Frank The Tank” for his overpowering style.

“That was a little tight for me,” he told ESPN after the match. “Sometimes you just have to gut them out like that.”

At 165, top-ranked David Taylor dominated No. 11 seed Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh, taking a 20-7 tech fall.

Fishing for his first national title, Taylor played a game of catch and release vs. Hatchett. After pinning his way to the final, Taylor toyed with the Mountain Hawk, taking him down and then letting him go over and over.

Hatchett seemed more concerned with avoiding a pin than winning the match. Taylor kept building and building on his lead until earning the tech fall in the third period. He finished the season at 32-0.

Asked by ESPN to describe his approach to the final, the sophomore said, “Relentless. Trying to score every second. That's what I've done my whole life. That's what I've done every match.”

Taylor scored 30.5 team points in the tournament, which was more than 50 of the teams represented in the event.

At 174, top-ranked Ed Ruth dominated third-seeded Nick Amuchastegal of Stanford with a 13-2 major decision.

Both wrestlers came into the final undefeated, and there was some debate over the seedings because Amuchastegal beat Ruth in the NCAA quarterfinals last year.

There was no debate over the seedings once the match was complete. Ruth set the tone with an early takedown and back points off his patented cradle. From there, Amuchastegal managed a reversal to cut the lead to 4-2. But then Ruth controlled the action the rest of the way. Ruth finished the match with more than three minutes of riding time.

He told ESPN his goal was to, “Just go out and lay it on him. Don't give him a chance to breath. Just suffocate him.”

Ruth finished the season at 32-0.


At 184, sixth-seeded Quentin Wright lost a controversial 4-2 sudden victory decision to No. 4 seed Steve Bosak of Cornell. Bosak is a State College native.

After a scoreless first period, Wright started the second period down and eventually scored a reversal for a 2-0 lead. Bosak escaped to cut it to 2-1. Bosak was down to start the third and escaped to tie it at 2-2.

Most of regulation was a taffy pull, with neither wrestler pressing the action, and the bout went to sudden victory.

In the first one-minute OT period, there was finally a flurry, and -- though neither wrestler appeared to have control -- Bosak was awarded a takedown. The match was over.

Wright finished the season at 30-4.

At 125, Penn State's 10th-seeded Nico Megaludas dropped a 4-1 decision to top-ranked Matt McDonough of Iowa.

A true freshman, Megaludas gave up a third-period takedown to McDonough. It broke open a tight match, and McDonough added a riding-time point for a 4-1 win and his second national title.

Megaludis finished his rookie season at 28-8.

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