Matt McDonough edged Nico Megaludis 2-1 in tiebreaker at 125 (Photo/Bob Mayeri)
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team dropped its first dual meet of the year, falling 22-16 at Iowa in a sold out Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won six of ten bouts, including three thrilling one-point decisions in the dual's key match-ups.
A rematch of last year's NCAA title bout at 125 was the first bout of the night, and Lion sophomore Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2, and Iowa senior Matt McDonough, ranked No. 1, did not disappoint. The duo battled to a 1-1 tie and through a sudden victory period before McDonough was able to ride Megaludis out and then escape in his tie-breaker period for a thrilling 2-1 (TB) win. Tony Ramos, ranked No. 3 at 133, then pinned Lion freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), handing Conaway his first dual meet loss, to put Iowa up 9-0 early.
Iowa's Matt Ballweg, ranked No. 8 at 141, then posted a 12-2 major over Lion senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), giving Iowa a 13-0 lead. Penn State sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, put Penn State on the board with a sound 18-8 major over Iowa's Brody Grothus. Then, in another epic rematch of a key NCAA bout from a year ago, Lion All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 157, took on No. 1 Derek St. John. Like the 125-pound bout, the All-American duo did not disappoint. Alton took a lead midway through the second period and carried that lead into the third. Alton looked to increase his lead late in the bout, but St. John was able to counter and get a late takedown to post a thrilling 4-3 win. The victory, Iowa's fourth in the first five, put the Hawkeyes up 16-4 at intermission.
The second half began with a bang for Penn State as All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, dominated No. 13 Nick Moore. Taylor turned Moore three times in the first period alone and rolled to an 18-2 technical fall at the 6:42 mark. Iowa won a third epic battle by a single point. This time, No. 6 Mike Evans used a late third period counter takedown to down No. 4 Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) in a thriller at 174, putting the Hawkeyes up 19-9 with only three bouts left.
All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, remained undefeated on the year with a dominating 21-10 major over Iowa's Grant Gambrall. All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 197, then pulled Penn State to within striking distance, picking up an 8-3 win over No. 19 Nathan Burak to cut the Iowa lead to 19-16. In the dual's final bout, No. 6 Bobby Telford of Iowa stopped Penn State's comeback short with a 9-2 win over No. 17 Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) at heavyweight.
While Iowa won six of ten bouts, Penn State owned a 22-13 lead in takedowns. The loss snaps a 20 dual win streak for Penn State.
Penn State will now move on to Champaign, Ill., and a date with No. 8 Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m. (Eastern)/1 p.m. (Central). Penn State's only remaining dual meet is Sunday, Feb. 17, when Rider visits Rec Hall. The dual is sold out but a limited number of SRO tickets may be available. For availability, 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.
125: #1 Matt McDonough IOWA dec. #2 Nico Megaludis PSU, 2-1 (TB) 0-3
133: #2 Tony Ramos IOWA pinned Jordan Conaway PSU, WBF (4:23) 0-9
141:#8 Matt Ballweg IOAW maj. dec. Bryan Pearsall PSU, 12-2 0-13
149: #8 Andrew Alton PSU maj. dec. Brody Grothus IOWA, 18-8 4-13
157: #1 Derek St. John IOWA dec. #5 Dylan Alton PSU, 4-3 4-16
165: #2 David Taylor PSU tech fall #13 Nick Moore IOWA, 18-2 (TF; 6:42) 9-16
174: #6 Mike Evans IOWA dec. #4 Matt Brown PSU, 4-3 9-19
184: #1 Ed Ruth PSU maj. dec. Grant Gambrall IOWA, 21-10 13-19
197: #3 Quentin Wright PSU dec. #19 Nathan Burak IOWA, 8-3 16-19
285: #6 Bobby Telford IOWA dec. #17 Jon Gingrich PSU, 9-2 16-22
Records: Penn State 8-1, 5-1 Big Ten; Iowa 16-1, 6-0 Big Ten
Up Next for Penn State: At #8 Illinois, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m. (Eastern)
125: In a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship battle at 125, No. 2 Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) took on No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa. Megaludis came out quick, looking for low singles off shoulder ties from the onset. Megaludis got in on a quick single but McDonough was able to work action out of bounds and force a reset with 2:00 on the clock. Megaludis continued to set the pace, fighting off a McDonough shot at the :40 mark and keeping the bout scoreless. McDonough chose down to start the second period and quickly turned it into a chance for a reversal. But Megaludis was able to maintain control of McDonough's ankle and force a stalemate at the 1:11 mark. McDonough worked his way to an escape and a 1-0 lead at the :56 mark and action resumed with both wrestlers on their feet. Megaludis shot low, gaining control of the Hawkeye's ankle, but McDonough forced a stalemate and ending the period. Megaludis chose down to start the final period and worked his way to an escape and a 1-1 tie at the 1:45 mark. Megaludis had a :50 riding time edge. Megaludis continued to force McDonough to the edge of the mat and the bout was tied 1-1 with :50 left. After a reset at the :24 mark, Megaludis got in on in a single. He nearly got the takedown but time ran out and the bout moved into a sudden victory period. The duo battled evenly until Megaludis nearly scored again at the buzzer. With time running out, the bout went to a tie breaker. Megaludis chose down and was not able to escape in his tie breaker. McDonough was able to escape in his tie-breaker session with just :04 left and grabbed a hard fought 2-1 TB win.
133: Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway, riding a four-bout win streak, entered his bout with No. 2 Tony Ramos of Iowa undefeated in duals at 133. Ramos got in on a high single, forcing a scramble in the center of the mat at the 1:30 mark. Conaway escaped to a 2-1 deficit quickly and action resumed in the center circle. Ramos added a second quick takedown, this time taking control of Conaway and building up some riding time with a ride-out. Trailing 4-1, Conaway chose down to start the second period and escaped. Ramos quickly picked up a third takedown to lead 6-2 with 1:40 on the clock. Conaway escaped to a 6-3 deficit but Ramos added another takedown on a counter. After cutting Conaway loose, Ramos then gained control of the freshman's shoulders and turned him to his back for a pin at the 4:23 mark, putting Iowa up 9-0.
141: Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), the only member of the Nittany Lion squad to have wrestled in Carver-Hawkeye Arena prior to the dual, met No. 8 Matt Ballweg at 141. Pearsall fought off the first Ballweg shot and then looked to connect on a single leg of his own. Each man was good on defense and the bout remained scoreless at the 1:30 mark. Pearsall connected on a low single with ;30 left but Ballweg was able to counter, working his way on top of Pearsall and getting the counter takedown at the :10 mark to take a 2-0 lead. Ballweg chose down to start the second period and Pearsall was able to break the Hawkeye down for :30 before the Hawkeye reversed the Lion to lead 4-0. Ballweg then turned Pearsall for three back points and a 7-0 lead a the :40 mark. Pearsall escaped to a 7-1 deficit with :10. Trailing by six, Pearsall chose down to start the third period but could not escape a strong Ballweg ride. Ballweg worked up over 1:00 in riding time and Pearsall got hit with a first stall warning before escaping to a 7-2 deficit. Ballweg bulled his way through another takedown at the ;30 mark and upped his lead 9-2. A two point turn and a riding time point gave the Hawkeye a 12-2 major, putting Iowa up 13-0 after three bouts.
149: Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, faced off against Iowa's Brody Grothus. Alton quickly took the Hawkeye to his back, using a shoulder throw for a takedown and three back points to lead 5-0 early. Grothus escaped quickly and action resumed in the center circle. Alton added another quick takedown, this one on a low double, to take a 7-1 lead. Grothus escaped again at the 1:18 mark and Alton quickly blew through another takedown with three more back points and a 12-2 lead. Grothus escaped before the period ended and Alton led 12-3 after one period. Grothus chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 12-4 lead. He shot low only to be countered by Alton who got another takedown and led 14-4 with over 2:00 riding time. After a Grothus escaped, Alton quickly hit a high double for another takedown and a 16-5 lead. Alton chose neutral to start the third period and fought off a Grothus shot early on, forcing a stalemate at the 1:29 mark. With the clock hitting the 1:00 mark, Grothus notched his first takedown at the :40 mark, cutting Alton's lead to 17-8. That was the final tally of the bout and Alton, with 2:36 in riding time, posted the 18-8 major.
157: All-American Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 157, took on No. 1 Derek St. John. The All-American tandem battled through an even two minutes, with neither wrestler finding an opening to score. The first period ended in a scoreless tie and action headed to the second stanza at 0-0. St. John chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Alton connected on a low single, getting the bout's first takedown at the 1:05 mark to take a 2-1 lead. St. John escaped to a 2-2 tie with :49 left and the Iowa bench asked for a video replay. The call stood after review and action resumed in the center circle tied 2-2 with :49 left in the period. The rest of the period was scoreless and Alton chose down to start the third period. A quick escaped gave the Lion a 3-2 lead with 1:50 left to wrestle. With 1:25 on the clock, Alton got in deep on a single leg and nearly scored again. St. John countered and nearly scored himself. The scramble continued and with :30 left, St. John worked his way to a takedown and a 4-3 lead. With :19 left, Alton needed an escape to tie the bout. After a reset with :09, St. John was able to ride Alton out and grab a hard-fought 4-3 win, putting Iowa up 16-4 heading into the halftime break.
165: Defending NCAA Champion David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, met Iowa's Nick Moore, who entered the dual ranked No. 13. Taylor took the first two shots, connecting on the second for an early 2-0 lead. The junior then controlled Moore for over 1::24 before cutting him loose. Taylor used a quick low double for a 4-1 lead and, with the ride out led 4-1 with 1:41 in time after one period. Moore chose down to start the second and Taylor quickly cut him loose. The Lion's pressure led to another takedown and this time, Taylor used a two on one title for two back points and an 8-2 lead. Taylor then turned Moore for two more back points and upped his lead to 10-1. Taylor added a three-point turn and led 13-2 after two. Taylor chose down to start the third period, quickly escaped and then took Moore down once again to lead 16-2. Taylor spent the rest of the period, looking for a tilt. He added two more back points and posted the dominating 18-2 technical fall at the 6:42 mark.
174: Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 4 at 174, faced off against No. 6 Mike Evans of Iowa. Each man worked for control up top as action stayed in the center of the mat. Evans had the first chance to score, gaining control of Brown's left foot. But Brown was able to work his way free and force a stalemate to keep the bout scoreless at the :20 mark. Brown chose down to start the second period, stood up and worked his way into control of Evans' feet, notching the reversal. Evans escaped and Brown led 2-1 at the 1:30 mark. The duo then battled through the rest of the period scoreless and Brown led 2-1 heading into the third. Evans chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 2-2 tie. Brown gained control of Evans leg and looked to score. But Evans was able to fight the move off and countered for his own takedown and led 4-2 with :30 on the clock. Brown escaped with :14 left and looked for a final takedown, but Evans was able to kill the clock and posted the 4-3 win, giving Iowa a 19-9 lead.
184: Defending 174-pound NCAA Champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, met Iowa's Grant Gambrall. Ruth opened up the match with a quick throw of Gambrall, picking up a takedown just :20 into the bout. Ruth then controlled the action from the top, looking for a chance to connect on a cradle and pick up a pin. Ruth cut Gambrall loose and the Hawkeye quickly turned in on a takedown of his own, tying the bout at 3-3. Ruth quickly took Gambrall down again, working his riding time over 1:00 in the process. A Ruth ride-out gave the Lion a 5-3 lead with 2:00 riding time after one period. Gambrall chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 5-4 deficit. Ruth quickly shot and grabbed another takedown to lead 7-4 with 1:01 on the clock. Ruth cut Gambrall loose and began collecting takedowns. Three second period takedowns gave the Lion an 11-6 lead with a clinched riding time point thanks to 3:36 in time. Ruth chose down to start the third and quickly escaped to a 12-6 lead. Ruth picked up another takedown and cut Gambrall loose again. Ruth tacked on three more takedowns and, with 4:26 in riding time, rolled to a 21-10 major decision.
197: Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 197, faced off against No. 19 Nathan Burak. Wright scored quickly, taking a 2-0 lead at the 2:00 mark. Wright then controlled the action from the top, building up :47 in time before Burak escaped. The duo battled for the rest of the period without any scoring and Wright led 2-1 after the opening stanza. Wright chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped. He then pushed through a low double leg for another takedown and a 5-1 lead. Burak escaped and then shot on Wright's left leg. But Wright quickly countered to a low double and a 7-2 lead after another escape. Wright then rode Burak out to carry that lead and 1:51 in time into the third period. Burak chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped. The third period was otherwise scoreless and Wright posted the 8-3 win with the riding time point.
285: Sophomore Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 17 at 285, took to the mat against No. 6 Bobby Telford, looking to forge a tie or more with an upset victory. Telford gained control of Gingrich's shoulders and notched the first takedown of the bout, taking a 2-0 lead at the 1:56 mark. Telford then put together a strong ride, maintaining control of Gingrich for the rest of the period. Trailing 2-0, Gingrich chose down to start the second period but Telford was once again able to maintain control. Gingrich gave up two stall points and trailed 4-0 while the Hawkeye put together another ride out. Telford chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 5-0 lead. Telford countered a low Gingrich shot and notch another takedown, taking a 7-0 lead. Gingrich countered, however, with a swift reversal to cut the lead to 7-2. Telford countered that with his own reversal and, with the riding time, posted the 9-2 win.