The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 in the latest InterMat TPI, used a complete team effort to claim its third straight Southern Scuffle crown. Penn State ran away from second place Oklahoma State, posting 178.5 points to 158.0 for the Cowboys.
The Nittany Lions used a dominating 5-1 performance in the semifinals to set up a 3-2 run in the finals, crowning three champions. In all, 11 of Penn State's 17 competing wrestlers placed at the event.
Sophomore All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, began his day with a 3-1 win over No. 10 Nashon Garrett in the semifinals. He then took on No. 8 Matt Snyder of Virginia in the finals and rolled to an 8-4 victory. Megaludis used two takedowns and a reversal in the finals to grab the crown. The Lion freshman gave up all four of his points in the first period and dominated action from there Megaludis went 4-0 over the course of the tournament, improving his record to 12-1.
Junior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) entered the tournament as the fifth-seed at 157 and notched the biggest upse4t of the finals, grabbing a 2-1 (tb) win over top-seeded Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, ranked No. 8 nationally. Vollrath moved into the finals to face No. 14 Jedd Moore of Virginia. Like his prior bout against a ranked foe, Vollrath took the ranked Tiger into extra time before dropping a hard-fought 3-1 (sv) decision. The second place finish came courtesy of a 4-1 record with two majors. Vollrath is 20-5 overall.
Junior All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, majored No. 4 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State 11-0 in the semifinal, setting up a match-up with No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell in the finals. The duo battled through an even first period, Dake took down to start the second and escaped for a 1-0 lead after two. Taylor chose down in the third and worked his way to a reversal and a 2-1 lead. With just under 1:00 left, the duo rolled out of bounds and Dake was given a reversal by the official after action moved out of the circle. Taylor then worked to escape, while maintaining a riding time edge to grab the win. Dake held on for most of the bout and Taylor was not awarded an escape at the end of the match (and his riding time fell to :59), giving Dake a 3-2 decision. Taylor went 4-1 with two pins and a tech fall to take second. His record now stands at 13-1.
Junior All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, dominated No. 9 Mike Larson of Missouri in the semis, posting an 11-0 major. He moved into the finals where he took on No. 2 Steve Bosak of Cornell. Ruth wasted no time in establishing his dominance over Bosak, using two first period takedowns to bolt out to a 4-1 lead. He then added a reversal and 2:55 in riding time to coast to the 7-3 win and claim yet another Southern Scuffle title. Ruth went 6-0 at the tournament, notching three pins and two majors. He remains undefeated with a 15-0 record.
Senior All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) downed No. 13 Scott Schiller of Minnesota 9-5 in his semifinal bout and met No. 9 Jake Meredith of Arizona State in the finals. After giving up a takedown in the first period on a throw attempt, Wright steadily waited for his chance to pounce. Tied 2-2 in the second, and with Meredith taking down, Wright used a split-scissors to turn the Sun Devil to his back and get the pin at the 5:33 mark to claim the Scuffle crown. Wright was superb on the weekend, going 5-0 with two pins. He improves his undefeated record to 14-0 overall.
True freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) rolled through his first three consolation bouts, picking up a tech fall and a major over No. 16 George DiCamillo in the process. Gulibon, wrestling unattached as the sixth seed, then lost to No. 6 Nathan McCormick of Missouri in the third place bout and took fourth place. He finished the tournament with a 5-2 mark (including one win over a non-collegiate grappler) with three tech falls and a major.
Senior James English (York, Pa.) also won his first three bouts of the day in consolation action and, as the 10th-seed, advanced to the bronze medal match where he met Missouri's Drake Houdashelt. English used two takedowns and relentless pressure to post the 5-2 win and take third place. The senior went 6-1 overall at the tournament with a pin and a forfeit victory. English is now 13-2 on the year.
Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) entered the tournament unseeded but had a fine showing. Pearsall went 4-3 overall, including a win over No. 15 Justin LaValle of Old Dominion in consolation action, and placed eighth at 141. Red-shirt freshman Luke Frey (Montoursville, Pa.), also unseeded, was superb at 149 for Penn State, posting a 4-2 mark with three majors and placing seventh. Sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) split his opening consolation bouts and wrestled for seventh place. He met No. 14 Levi Cooper of Arizona State for seventh and rolled to an 11-7 win, going 4-2 and taking seventh.
In addition to those top performances, the entire Nittany Lion contingent picked up wins at the event. Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) was Penn State's scoring wrestler at 133. Conaway lost his first consolation bout of the day and ended his initial Southern Scuffle run with a 1-2 mark. True freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) did not compete in consolation action on day two, taking a medical forfeit (non-loss) as a precaution. Beitz, wrestling unattached, finished his first Scuffle with a 3-1 mark at 141. Senior Nick Fischer (Unionville, Pa.) dropped his first conso bout, losing 7-0 to No. 15 Zach Toal of Missouri. Fischer ended his tournament with a 3-2 mark. Sophomore Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) dropped a tough 9-3 decision to No. 17 Jeremy Johnson of Ohio in his conso bout today and ended his tourney run with a 2-2 mark. Yesterday, freshman James Frascella (Carmel, Ind.) went 1-2 at 174 and Nick Ruggear (Oxford, Pa.) went 2-2 at 285.
Penn State went 5-1 in the semis, setting up its 3-2 run in the finals. In consolation action, the Nittany Lions combined to go 14-8, giving the team a 22-11 mark on day two. Penn State's 11 placers (of 17 competing wrestlers) included three champs, two second placers, two third place finishers, a fourth place finisher, two sevenths and an eighth. Penn State posted a 63-24 overall record through the two-day tournament with 12 pins, four tech falls and 13 majors as well as two forfeits. 31 of Penn State's 63 wins were for bonus points. Penn State's third straight team title makes it the third team in Scuffle history to win (or share) three crowns (joining Minnesota and Cornell).
Penn State returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, when Michigan State invades Rec Hall for a 2 p.m. meeting. Penn State's full season of home duals is sold out but limited Standing Room Only tickets are available for select dual meets. For information on which duals have a limited number of SRO tickets available and to purchase tickets, fans can call 1-800-NITTANY or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office windows from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2012-13 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
2013 SOUTHERN SCUFFLE FINAL TEAM STANDINGS TOP FOUR TEAMS:
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - Chattanooga, Tenn.
1: PENN STATE - 178.5
2: Oklahoma State - 158.0
3: Missouri - 147.5
4: Minnesota - 139.5