Head coach Cael Sanderson's Penn State wrestling squad finds itself in first place at the conclusion of day one at the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The Nittany Lions, working for their fourth straight Big Ten crown, will have five wrestlers in the Championship Finals tomorrow afternoon. Penn State leads rival Iowa by a slim one point margin, 122.0 to 121.0, in the team race.
Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 1 at 125, withstood a strong effort from fourth-seeded Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin. Megaludis battled his way to a 4-3 win on 1:45 in riding time to advance to tomorrow's Big Ten title bout against Illinois' Jesse Delgado.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 141, dominated Michigan's Stephen Dutton in his semifinal bout, rolling to a 4-0 win with 1:15 riding time to advance to the finals tomorrow against Ohio State's Logan Stieber.
Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 1 seed at 165, made short work of fifth-seed Jackson Morse of Illinois in the semifinals, gaining control of the Illini's shoulders, stepping over his chest and turning his shoulders flat to the mat for a pin in just 0:40. The pin was Taylor's 13th of the year and the 50th of his career, leaving him three shy of the Penn State record of 53. Taylor will take on Iowa's Nick Moore in the finals tomorrow.
Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 184, took care of Michigan's Dom Abounader in the semifinals, rolling to a 9-1 major decision with over 3:00 in riding time (3:05). Ruth's impressive victory moves him into tomorrow's finals where he will face third-seed Ethan Lofthouse of Iowa.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), the No. 1 seed at 197, used a late reversal in the tie breaker period to grab a 3-2 (tb) win over Iowa's Nathan Burak, the fifth-seed. Each wrestler had an escape in regulation and wrestled a minute of scoreless action in the sudden victory period. McIntosh rode Burak for all but a second of the opening tie-breaker stanza but the Hawkeye's late escape gave him a 2-1 lead. McIntosh was steady on bottom, however, deftly working his way into control of Burak with :07 left for a reversal. A short ride out gave the Lion sophomore the 3-2 (tb) win and moved him into the finals tomorrow where he will take on Nick Heflin of Ohio State.
Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, suffered a 3-2 upset at the hands of Iowa's Mike Evans, giving up a first period takedown that would prove to be the difference. Brown shifts down to the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning.
Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 8 seed at 285, could not follow up his upset of the tournament's top seed by defeating the defending NCAA Champion. Tony Nelson of Minnesota was able to pin Gingrich at the 1:58 mark and send the Lion junior into the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning.
Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), the No. 7 seed at 133, punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with a solid 9-4 win over Nebraska's Shawn Nagel in his first consolation bout. He then dropped a tough 6-1 decision to Ohio State's Johnni DiJulius in the conso quarters and will wrestle for seventh place tomorrow morning
Senior James English (York, Pa.), the No. 7 seed at 149, picked up his first career win at the Big Ten Championships in the first round of consolation action, riding Purdue's Brandon Nelsen for the entire third period to post a 3-2 decision thanks to 1:23 in riding time. Needing one more win to move on to NCAAs, used a second period near fall and ride-out to post a 5-2 win over sixth-seed Ian Paddock of Ohio State, earning his first trip to the NCAA Championships, Penn State's 10th qualifier.
Junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 5 seed at 157, posted a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ohio State's Randy Languis in his first consolation bout, using a quick third period escape to secure 1:00 in riding time to post the critical point. The win moves Alton on to the NCAA Championships as well. In the consolation quarters, Michigan's Brian Murphy notched a late takedown to post a 3-1 win over Alton, sending Alton to the seventh place bout.
The Nittany Lions went 9-3 in the second session, including a 5-2 mark in the semifinals and are now 23-7 overall. Penn State's bonus point tally stands at 15 off two pins, one default win, two techs and six majors. The event continues on Sunday with consolation and seventh place bouts at 12 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Central). The Championship Finals begin at 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central) and air live on the Big Ten Network. 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. 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships - Team Standings After Session 2 Saturday, March 8, 2014 - Kohl Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wis.
1: PENN STATE, 122.0
2: Iowa, 121.0
3: Minnesota, 86.0
4: Ohio State,73.5
5: Illinois, 69.5
6: Nebraska, 68.0
7: Wisconsin, 58.0
8: Michigan, 49.5
9: Northwestern, 44.0
10: Indiana, 34.0
11: Purdue, 30.0
12: Michigan State, 15.0