Lion Lineup Begins to Take Shape

Penn State's two-time defending national champion wrestling squad held Instrasquad Meet at Rec Hall Thursday night.

Unofficially, the White beat the Blue 25-18 Thursday night at Rec Hall, as the two-time defending national champion Penn State wrestling team opened its 2012-13 season with the annual Intrasquad Meet.

But score wasn't the result that mattered. Rather, it was the formation of the Nittany Lions' lineup that began to take place inside a one-third full Rec Hall.

Here is our breakdown of what happened:

PIN OF THE NIGHT: The one that stands out was 174-pound starter Matt Brown's pin of James Frascella at the 1:49 of the first period. Leading 3-2 after Frascella scored a takedown on the outer edge of the mat, Brown wasted no time after the restart to assert his dominance. Brown used an underhook to throw Frascella's back to the mat, pan-caking the redshirt freshman before locking in a half nelson press to secure the fall. It was the first of two pins of the night.

SURPRISE OF THE NIGHT: The biggest eye-opener to this scribe came in the opening bout, where 133-pound redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway turned in a 5-1 victory over junior Frank Martelloti. Head coach Cael Sanderson said Conaway would start the season at 133 pounds after the match, and he wrestled like a starter from the beginning. Conaway converted a pair of single-leg takedowns (with an escape) into a 5-0 lead, looking strong on scrambles and counters when Martelloti shot in. He should fit in nicely in the lower weights' of Sanderson's line-up.

FIT TO BE TIED: Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Lawson may have bested classmate Jon Gingrich 3-2 Thursday night in the duals' final bout at heavyweight. But it didn't give him the starting nod just yet. Sanderson confirmed after the match that Gingrich and Lawson are now 1-1 against each other, and a wrestle-off this weekend or early next week will decide who will start at 285 pounds when Penn State opens ITS dual season with Lehigh Nov. 16. Gingrich won the first match between the two 2-1 inside the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex during practice, with a clasped-hands call on Lawson leading to the margin of victory.

FROM THE STANDS: Returning starters Nico Megaludis (125), Dylan Alton (157), David Taylor (165) and Quentin Wright (197) all sat out of the action Thursday night with the NWCA All-Star classic on tap Saturday at American University. Taylor will headline the card when he squares off with fellow 165-pounder Kyle Dake from Cornell in the duos' first folkstyle match since grade school. The match has a unique feeling to Taylor, who will be an underdog against the pre-eason top-ranked Dake. “A lot of people think I'm going to lose, which is weird to me cause it's not something I'm used to feeling. I feel like this is my weight class, and I want to go out and prove it this weekend.” Both wrestlers were undefeated national champs last season -- Taylor at 165 and Dake at 157. Taylor is 70-1 in two seasons; Dake is 100-4 in three seasons.

YOUNG BLOOD: True freshman Jimmy Gulibon waste no time impressing the Rec Hall crowd in his first match as a Nittany Lion, scoring a 13-5 major decision over Cameron Kelly at 135 pounds. Gulibon posted five takedowns and a reversal while racking up 3:31 in riding time to open the gap on Kelly. Gulibon will redshirt this season if all goes according to plan, but the brief display Thursday night should have Penn State wrestling fans plenty excited.

RUTH IS RUTHLESS: Ed Ruth (184) is a big guy now by his own account, but he's always been big time for Penn State, and he showed why again Thursday night. Wrestling a gritty but clearly overmatched true freshman in Wes Phipps, Ruth scored three takedowns and racked up three points with a near fall tilt to coast to a 21-4 technical fall at the 5:59 mark of the third period.

ALTON HEALING: 149-pound redshirt sophomore Andrew Alton didn't wrestle Thursday night due to injury, but Sanderson expects him to be ready to go soon. “If it would have been the national championship, he could have wrestled,” Sanderson said. “He's about a week away or so. It's hard to tell.”

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN: Penn State opens its dual slate 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16 , when Lehigh invades Rec Hall for a non-conference affair.

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