BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 nationally in Intermat's Tournament Power Index, continued its season opening dual weekend with another road victory, this time a thrilling 22-12 win at Lehigh. Wrestling without four ranked wrestlers, head coach Cael Sanderson's team won six bouts while senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) notched his 100th career bonus point win.
Junior All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 125, got Penn State off to a hot start, notching a dominating 19-4 technical fall over Lehigh's Darian Cruz at the 6:48 mark. Penn State freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 16 at 133, made his Penn State dual meet debut against No. 6 Mason Beckman of Lehigh and nearly knocked off the Hawk, dropping a 7-6 decision on riding time.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) continued his hot start to the season, rolling to a 10-4 win over Lehigh's Laike Gardner at 141 to put Penn State up 8-3. Another Lion freshman, Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) made his dual debut at 141, taking on No. 19 Mitch Minotti at 149. Like Gulibon, Beitz was strong as the third straight Nittany Lion freshman thrilled the Penn State faithful with a near upset, only to lose a close 4-3 decision. Lehigh's Joey Napoli, ranked No. 10 at 157, also needed riding time to hold off the efforts of Lion senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.). The bonus point gave Napoli a 4-3 win and put the Mountain Hawks up 9-8 at halftime.
Senior All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, then dominated Lehigh's Brian Brill, rolling to a 20-7 major with over 4:00 in riding time. The major was the 100th career bonus point win for Taylor. He is now 107-3 with 42 pins, 35 tech falls and 23 majors. Junior All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) followed that up with an 8-5 win over LU's Elliott Riddick to put Penn State up 15-9. Lehigh picked up a hard-fought win at 184 when Zach Diekel posted a tough 9-6 win over Lion sophomore James Frascella (Carmel, Ind.).
Penn State iced the dual at 197 as sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 4, notched a 10-2 major over Lehigh's John Bolich. Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) capped off the strong team win with a 5-2 upset of No. 19 Doug Vollaro at heavyweight. The win gave Penn State the 22-12 victory.
The Nittany Lions won the takedown battle 30-8. The Lions improve to 2-0 on the year while No. 25 Lehigh falls to 1-2. The win was Penn State's 25th straight non-conference dual meet victory. No. 8 Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, and brother Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 157, are both still recovering from off-season surgery and will return mid-December. Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, is suspended for violation of team rules. Junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 11 at 285, was held out at skin check.
The Nittany Lions return to action next weekend for their home opener on Sunday, Nov. 24, against Lock Haven. The dual starts at 2 p.m. in Rec Hall and will be preceded by the raising of the 2013 Big Ten and NCAA title banners. The dual meet, as is every home dual for the Nittany Lions, is sold out. As of press time, less than 80 Standing Room Only tickets remain.
With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the seven Rec Hall duals. Also, there are still tickets available for Penn State's Dec. 8 dual against Pitt in the Bryce Jordan Center. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. 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 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
125: #3 Nico Megaludis PSU tech fall Darian Cruz LEH 19-4 (TF; 6:48) 5-0
133: #6 Mason Beckman LEH dec. #16 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 7-6 5-3
141: Zain Retherford PSU dec. Laike Gardner LEH, 10-4 8-3
149: #19 Mitch Minotti LEH dec. Zack Beitz PSU, 4-3 8-6
157: #10 Joey Napoli LEH dec. James Vollrath PSU, 4-3 8-9
165: #1 David Taylor PSU maj. dec. Brian Brill LEH, 20-7 12-9
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU dec. Elliott Riddick LEH, 8-5 15-9
184: Zach Diekel LEH dec. James Frascella PSU, 9-6 15-12
197: #4 Morgan McIntosh PSU maj. dec. John Bolich LEH, 10-2 19-12
285: Jon Gingrich PSU dec. #19 Doug Vollaro LEH, 5-2 22-12
Records: Penn State 2-0, Lehigh 1-2
Up Next for Penn State: Home vs. Lock Haven, Rec Hall, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2 p.m.
125: Two-time NCAA finalist Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 125, met Lehigh freshman Darian Cruz. Megaludis quickly gained control of Cruz's shoulders and worked his way into a scoring chance. The Lion junior pulled Cruz onto the mat and notched a takedown off a 2-1 lead at the 1:37 mark. The Lion added a second takedown less than a minute later to up his lead to 4-1. Megaludis dominated the rest of the period from the top position, building up 1:12 in riding time. Leading 4-1 after one, Megaludis chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. Megaludis used a swift low ankle pick to take a 7-2 lead with another takedown and release. A fourth takedown at the :55 mark gave Megaludis a 9-2 lead. He then turned Cruz for three back points and led 12-3 after a Cruz escape. The junior All-American added one final takedown to carry a 14-3 lead with 1:44 in time into the third period. Cruz chose neutral to start the third period but Megaludis continued to attack. Megaludis picked up a point on a second Cruz stall at the 1:05 mark. He then took Cruz down and cut him loose to lead 17-4, needing one more takedown for the tech fall. The Lion junior
133: No. 16 Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) made his Penn State dual meet debut in a battle with Lehigh sophomore Mason Beckman at 133. Beckman was ranked No. 6 nationally heading into the bout. Beckman notched the first takedown early, gaining control of Gulibon for an early 2-0 lead. Gulibon could not break free of a strong Beckman ride until the Mountain Hawk had built up 1:25 in riding time. The escape at the 1:14 mark cut Beckman's lead to 2-1. The bout moved to the second period with Beckman holding a 2-1 lead. Gulibon chose down to start the second stanza and worked his way into a chance to notch a reversal at the 1:40 mark. The Lion freshman continued the scramble until Beckman was called for a first stall at the :29 mark. Gulibon quickly escaped after the reset to tie the bout at 2-2 but Beckman had 3:02 in riding time. Beckman, with a clinched riding time point, chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. Gulibon continued to work the Mountain Hawk's shoulders to the ground, setting the pace and getting the takedown at the 1:13 mark to take a 4-3 lead. Needing another takedown, Gulibon cut Beckman loose to a 4-4 tie at the 1:00 mark. Gulibon forced a late scramble and Beckman was able to counter for a takedown at the :12 mark. Gulibon was not done, however, quickly reversing Beckman to tie the bout and turning him to his back for a chance at winning back points. But time expired before a two-count could take place and Beckman escaped with a tough 7-6 win on 2:47 riding time.
141: Nittany Lion true freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) looked to stay hot in a match-up w Lehigh's Laike Gardner at 141. Retherford exploded out of the gates with a strong high double, lifting Gardner off the mat for an early 2-1 lead. Retherford connected on a low double but Gardner was able to force a stalemate at the :50 mark. No one managed a takedown after that and Retherford held that lead after one period. The Lion freshman chose down to start the second period and steadily worked his way to an escaped and a 3-1 lead with 1:22 on the clock. Retherford shot low off a reset and turned it into a takedown and a 5-1 lead with 1:00 left in the middle stanza. Retherford broke Gardner down and put together a strong ride out to lead 5-1 with 1:05 in time after two. Gardner chose down to start the third period but could not break free of a strong Retherford ride until the Lion freshman cut him at the 1:22 mark. Retherford then tacked on two more quick takedowns to lead 9-4 with :46 left. With the riding time clinched, the Lion gained control of Gardner's right ankle but could not close out the major as Gardner fought the move off to kill the clock. Still, Retherford posted the very strong 10-4 win with 2:01 in time.
149: Nittany Lion red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) made his Penn State dual meet debut, moving up a weight to 149 to take on Lehigh's Mitch Minotti, who was ranked No. 19 nationally. Minotti shot early, forcing a scramble at the outset, but Beitz steadily countered the move, scrambling his way to his own takedown to lead 2-1 midway through the period. Beitz continued to pressure the Hawk grappler, forcing him to the outside circle. Minotti used a solid low single to force a late scramble, gaining control of Beitz and getting the takedown at the end of the period to lead 3-2 after one. Minotti chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 4-2 lead. The duo battled evenly for the bulk of the second period until Beitz pulled Minotti's head down and connected on a low single. But action was stopped for a potentially dangerous hold with Minotti still leading 4-2. Beitz chose neutral to start the third period and quickly got in on a single leg. Minotti was able to counter and fight free to hold his two point lead with 1:30 on the clock. With constant pressure, Beitz forced the ranked Hawk grappler backwards until under 1:00 remained. Beitz forced Minotti into a stall warning with :30 left and a stall point at :05 but Minotti was able to escape with a 4-3 win.
157: Lion senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) took on No. 10 Joey Napoli of Lehigh at in a key battle at 157. The duo battled evenly for the first two minutes with offensive openings hard to find. Vollrath's shots were countered by Napoli's collar ties and the bout moved through three periods scoreless after a late flurry nearly led to takedowns for each wrestler. Tied 0-0, Napoli chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Vollrath, but the Lion senior notched his own reversal. Napoli quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead and action resumed in the center circle with 1:20 on the clock. Vollrath drove through a low double and forced Napoli into an illegal hold, picking up a point before the stalemate. The stalemate came at :04. Vollrath chose down to start the third period. Napoli was strong on top, breaking Vollrath down at the 1:20 mark. The ranked Hawk built up a riding time edge and then fought off Vollrath's final effort to escape. The ride out gave Napoli 1:50 in riding time and posted the 4-3 win, giving Lehigh a 9-8 lead after five bouts.
165: Three-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, met Lehigh freshman Brian Brill. Taylor attacked quickly, gaining control of Brill's head and working around for a takedown and a 2-0 lead just :25 into the bout. Taylor cut Brill loose and then used a Hawk a 4-3 lead and low shot for another takedown and a 4-1 lead midway through the period. He then tilted Brill for three back points and a 7-1 lead. Brill worked his way to an escape, only to be quickly tripped down for another Taylor takedown and a 9-2 Lion lead. A Taylor ride out gave the Lion senior a 9-2 lead with 2:07 in time after one. Brill chose down to start the second and Taylor quickly broke him down, working for a tilt. Taylor cut Brill loose at the 1:00 mark, quickly took him down and led 11-3 with 3:15 in riding time midway through the period. Taylor continued to work to turn Brill but the Hawk was able to belly out for the period. Leading 11-3 with 4:00 riding time, Brill chose neutral to start the final period. Taylor notched four takedowns in the period with Brill trying desperately to wind down the clock. While Taylor posted the 20-7 major, Brill's efforts to keep it from a tech fall or pin kept the result to a major. The victory was the 100th bonus point win of Taylor's career. He is 107-3 with 46 pins, 35 tech falls and 23 majors.
174: All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, wrestled Lehigh freshman Elliott Riddick. Brown, like Taylor, was the aggressor from the start. Bulling through an early takedown, Brown led 2-1 out of the gates. The Lion junior continued to force Riddick backwards as the Hawk grappler worked the outside circle in hopes of staying away from Brown's offense. Riddick's first shot resulted in a takedown at the :30 mark, giving the Hawk a 3-2 lead with :32 left in the opening period. Brown quickly escaped and the bout moved to the second tied 3-3. Riddick chose down to start the second period and maintained control until the 1:12 mark. Riddick's escaped gave the lead. Brown then countered a Riddick shot for a takedown of his own to take a 5-5 lead after cutting Riddick loose at the :27 mark. Riddick got hit for a second stall, giving Brown a 6-5 lead after two periods. Brown chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 7-5 lead while maintaining 1:09 in riding time. Brown worked for a final takedown but Riddick was able to defend the shots and the Lion posted the 8-5 win with 1:07 in time.
184: At 184, sophomore James Frascella (Carmel, Ind.) met Lehigh's Zach Diekel. Frascella fought off two early Diekel shots, keeping the bout scoreless. He then worked how for his own shot, notching the takedown to grab a 2-0 lead at the :55 mark. Frascella then put together a strong ride, working Diekel to the mat for a ride out and a 2-0 lead after one period. Frascella chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Diekel got in on a single and worked Frascella to the mat for a takedown, cutting the Lion's lead to 4-2 after an escape. The duo rolled through a mad scramble at the end of the second period with neither wrestler managing to finish off things for a takedown and Frascella led 4-2 heading into the third. Diekel chose down to start the third and quickly escaped. He then took Frascella down at the 1:28 mark and the bout was tied 5-5 after a Frascella escape. Diekel rolled behind Frascella for another takedown and led 7-6 at the :45 mark. He added one more with :35 left and upped his lead to 9-6. Diekel then maintained control for the rest of the bout and escaped with a hard-fought 9-6 win, cutting Penn State's lead to 15-12. No. 1 Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) did wrestle in the match for violation of team rules.
197: Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 4 at 197, took on LU's John Bolich. McIntosh got in on a low single a minute in and steadily worked his way to a takedown and an early 2-0 lead. Bolich escaped at 1:20 and action resumed in the center of the mat. McIntosh quickly gained control of Bolich's right leg as the Hawk worked the outside circle. But McIntosh pulled Bolich in and notched the takedown to lead 4-1 at the :25 mark. McIntosh nearly completed a nearside cradle as the period ended but time expired. Trailing 4-1, Bolich chose down to start the second period. Bolich worked to an escape after a :30 ride but McIntosh continued to pressure the Mountain Hawk grappler. The Lion sophomore's pressure paid off at the :10 mark as another takedown gave him a 6-2 lead with 1:58 in time after two. McIntosh chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 7-2 lead. Bolich got hit for a stall warning at the 1:05 mark and McIntosh notched another takedown with :33 left, taking a 9-2 lead and clinching the riding time point. He then ended the match on top, getting the major on riding time and clinching the dual meet with the 10-2 major.
285: With junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 11 at 285, held out of the bout (skin), junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) stepped up and met No. 19 Doug Vollaro. The duo battled evenly early, with neither man finding an opening during the first three minutes. Tied 0-0 after one, Gingrich chose down to start the second stanza. He quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead and action resumed in the middle of the mat with each big man working to find an opening to score. But offense was again hard to come by and Gingrich led by one after two periods. Vollaro chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. Gingrich used a strong high double to bull through the bout's first takedown, taking a 3-1 lead with :55 left in the match. Vollaro escaped to a 3-2 Gingrich lead with :40 on the clock but Gingrich continued to shoot, nearly connecting on a low single. The Lion junior then fought off a late Vollaro shot, countered it and took the Hawk down again for a superb 5-2 win, giving Penn State the 22-12