Penn State Leads at Big Tens

The Nittany Lion wrestlers are in position to grab their third straight conference crown. Four PSU grapplers will be fighting for individual titles.

Penn State, ranked No. 1 throughout the year on Intermat’s national TPI ranking, is in first place at the first day’s conclusion of the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. A total of four Nittany Lions will be wrestling for Big Ten titles Sunday and all 10 Penn State wrestlers have already punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships later this month.

Head coach Cael Sanderson’s team is looking for its third straight Big Ten title at the event, being contestted in Champaign, Ill. Penn State is in first place with 123.0 points while Minnesota is in second with 112.5.  Iowa follows in third with 109.0.

Defending NCAA champion David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, became Penn State’s first Big Ten finalist with an impressive technical fall over Iowa’s Nick Moore in the semis at 165.  Taylor rolled to the 15-0 TF at the 2:37 mark, using a takedown and a series of near falls.  He was followed by sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 7 at 174, who dominated Michigan’s Dan Yates on his way to a 5-1 decision and a trip to the Big Ten finals.

Defending 174-pound NCAA champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, posted a strong 10-1 major decision over Iowa’s Ethan Lofthouse, ranked No. 14.  Ruth used a four-point first period and a five point third period to roll to the victory and into the finals tomorrow.  Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 197, escaped with a 1-0 win over No. 15 Andrew Campolattano of Ohio State, making a second period escape stand and becoming Penn State’s fourth finalist.

All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 3 nationally at 125, dropped a tough 6-3 decision to No. 4 Jesse Delgado of Illinois in the semifinals and will shift into the consolation semis Sunday.   Redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 12 at 133, was pinned by No. 1 Logan Stieber of Ohio State at the 1:28 mark and will also wrestle in the consolation semis Sunday.  Both Megaludis and Conaway can still take third place.   

Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), ranked No. 21 in the coaches poll, earned his first trip to NCAAs with a 2-0 session at 141.  Pearsall posted a hard-fought 6-4 win over Indiana’s Alex Gregory in his first consolation bout and then earned an NCAA bid with a 19-11 major over Michigan State’s Camryn Jackson.  Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 13, is also headed to Des Moines after a 2-0 session of his own.  Alton opened it up with a sizzling pin of Northwestern’s Dylan Marriott in just :16.  The Nittany Lion sophomore then took down the tournament’s top seed, No. 7 Eric Grajales of Michigan (14-8O, to earn a trip to Des Moines.

All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5, also went 2-0 in consolation action to advance to NCAAs, posting a quick first period pin of Purdue’s Tommy Churchard (1:03).  He then fought his way to a tough 3-2 win over Michigan State’s Ryan Watts, the seventh-seed, to advance to the consolation semis.  

Sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom’s River, N.J.) made it a perfect 10 for Penn State, advancing to NCAAs with a dominating 13-5 major over Nebraska’s Spencer Johnson in his first consolaton bout. He dropped a tough 7-4 decision to sixth seed Adam Chalfant of Indiana to close out Penn State’s session, which shifted him to the seventh place bout tomorrow.

Penn State went 11-3 in the evening session and 4-2 in the semifinals.  Penn State is 22-7 overall and has tallied 18.5 bonus points off five pins, three tech falls and four majors.

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