Nittany Lions Pin Way into Quarters

Bonus points put Penn State in great shape at NCAA wrestling championships in Des Moines. Cael Sanderson's squad is shooting for it third straight title.

Penn State sits in first place at the end of day one at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, sending six wrestlers to the quarterfinals on a day the Lions went 17-5, including 10-1 in the night cap, to take a 32.5-29 lead over Oklahoma State heading into Day 2.

Nico Megaludis (125 pounds), David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197) all advanced to the championship bracket quarterfinals with a pair of victories on the opening day of the tournament, while 157-pound redshirt freshman Dylan Alton needed three bouts to get there. Nine of the Lions' 10 qualifiers are still alive in the tournament, as three of PSU's four consolation bracket wrestlers were victorious.

Megaludis kicked off second round action in Session II, and the sophomore took Central Michigan's Christian Cullinan down twice en route to a 5-2 victory. Alton followed just over a half-hour later with a dominating 13-5 major decision over Zac Cibula of Rider, giving the tournament's No. 8 seed a bout against tournament No. 1 seed Jason Welch Friday morning, a wrestler with whom he split a pair of bouts a year ago.

It was after Alton left the mat that Cael Sanderson's heavy hitters racked up the bonus points, as No. 2 Taylor, No. 2 Brown and No. 1 Ruth all picked up falls before the third period was reached in their respective bouts.

Taylor tormented Appalachian State's Zach Strickland before going chest-to-chest to flatten Strickland in 2:41. Brown caught Pittsburgh's Nick Bonaccorsi in the same move he caught Iowa's Mike Evans to win the Big Ten title, flattening the Panther to his back in 1:30.

And while Ruth spent the most time on the mat of the three, the junior led Arizona State's Kevin Radford 5-1 early in the second period before hitting his trademark cradle to send Radford to the consolation bracket in 3:41.

Wright was the final Nittany Lion to compete in championship round action, and the senior was patient with Drexel's Brandon Palik in a 3-2 decision, blasting through for a third-period double-leg takedown to break a 1-1 tie after each wrestler earned an escape.

It was then off to consolation bracket to close down the second of six sessions, and the Lions were near perfect there, too.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway turned in a gritty performance against Air Force's Dylan Hyder in 133-pound first-round action, driving through a strong head inside single before grabbing the Falcon's loose leg to finish the two-point move for a 6-4 victory.

Bryan Pearsall (141) picked up his first NCAA tournament win with a 10-2 major decision over Maryland's Frank Goodwin

Later Andrew Alton (149) and Jimmy Lawson (HWT) were in the Lions' final two bouts of the day, with Alton staying alive, and the heavyweight Lawson dropping out of the tournament.

Oklahoma State qualified the most wrestlers for the quarterfinal round, sending seven. Minnesota and Iowa round out the team race top four, as the Golden Gophers accrued 24 team points on day one, and the Hawkeyes 22.

Action resumes Friday at 11 a.m. EST with Session 3 of the championships. Bracket order was still undetermined as of time of publication.

Penn State Friday Morning Matchups

Championship Bracket

125 pounds: No. 4 Nico Megaludis vs. NR Dominic Parisi, Appalachian State

157 pounds: No. 8 Dylan Alton vs. No. 1 Jason Welch, Northwestern

165 pounds: No.2 David Taylor vs. No. 7 Conrad Polz, Illinois

174 pounds: No. 2 Matt Brown vs. NR Tanner Weatherman, Iowa State

184 pounds: No. 1 Ed Ruth vs. NR Max Thomusseit, Pittsburgh

197 pounds: No. 2 Quentin Wright vs. No. 10 Scott Schiller, Minnesota

Consolation Bracket

133 pounds: No. 12 Jordan Conaway vs. NR Dane Harlow, Binghamton

141 pounds: NR Bryan Pearsall vs. NR Steven Keith, Harvard

149 pounds: NR Andrew Alton vs. No. 12 Eric Grajales, Michigan



Fight On State Top Stories