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    Alton twins, Cowburn, Sherlock sign with Penn State

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling coach Cael Sanderson received more good news on the first day of the NCAA's early signing period. Four of the nation's top high school wrestlers have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Penn State and become members of the Penn State wrestling family.

    The vaunted foursome, all homegrown Pennsylvania talent, has combined for six PIAA state titles already as each young man readies for the 2009-10 high school season. Alphabetically, Sanderson received NLI's from twin brothers Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), Dirk Cowburn (Coudersport, Pa.) and Sam Sherlock (West Mifflin, Pa.). Each wrestler is among the tops at his respective weight class, according to Intermat (www.intermatwrestle.com).

    "This is an outstanding group of young men and we are pleased that they have made the decision to become Nittany Lions," Sanderson said. "As we continue to build the kind of program we envisioned when we arrived in State College, it is the hard work and dedication of wrestlers like this that will help us achieve our goals."

    Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) is ranked No. 1 at 145 by Intermat and, heading into the new high school season, is the No. 2 ranked overall recruit in the country (at any weight). Andrew is coming off a 140 pound title at last year's PIAA championships, going 46-0 overall. Andrew went 47-1 at 140 as a sophomore, taking third at PIAAs, and was 40-7 as a high school freshman at 130 (also placing third at states). He carries a 133-8 career record into his senior season at Central Mountain High School in neighboring Clinton County. The Mill Hall native is also an outstanding freestyle wrestler, having won the last two (2008 and 2009) Junior National Championships. He took third at the FILA Junior Nationals in 2009, won the 2008 Super 32 Challenge and took second place at the 2008 Junior Nationals in Greco-Roman. Andrew is the son of Neil and Donna Alton of Mill Hall, Pa., and the twin brother of fellow signee Dylan.

    Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) is ranked No. 1 at 152 by Intermat and, heading into the new high school season, is the No. 5 ranked overall recruit in the country (at any weight). Dylan is a two-time PIAA state champion, having claimed the 145 pound title last year after a 47-0 junior campaign. The year before, he went 45-1 at 135 and claimed the state title as well. As a high school freshman, Dylan posted a 39-4 mark and took seventh at states. Heading into his final year at nearby Central Mountain High School, Dylan sports a 131-5 career record. The Mill Hall native is, like his twin, an outstanding freestyle wrestler as well. Dylan won the 2008 and 2009 Junior National crowns, took the 2008 Junior National championship in Greco Roman, won the 2008 Walsh Ironman title and took third at the 2008 Super 32 Challenge. Dylan is the son of Neil and Donna Alton of Mill Hall, Pa., and the twin brother of fellow signee Andrew.

    Dirk Cowburn (Coudersport, Pa.) is ranked No. 4 at 160 by Intermat and, heading into his final year at Coudersport High School, is the No. 47 ranked overall recruit in the country (at any weight). Cowburn is a two-time PIAA state champion, having claimed the 152 pound title in each of the last two years. As a junior, he went 30-2 to claim the title and as a sophomore he went 38-0. Heading into his senior year, Cowburn carries a 101-7 overall mark with him on his quest to three-peat. An outstanding freestyle and Greco wrestler as well, Cowburn won the 2007 Cadet National title in Greco-Roman and took second in freestyle at that event. In 2008, Cowburn placed second at the 2008 Junior Nationals in Greco as well. Dirk is the son of Dan and Darla Cowburn of Coudersport, Pa.

    Sam Sherlock (West Mifflin, Pa.) is ranked No. 2 nationally at 130 by Intermat and, heading into the 2009-10 high school campaign, is ranked No. 16 overall at any weight. Sherlock is the defending PIAA state champion at 125 after going 38-3 last year and winning his first crown. He went 35-3 as a sophomore in 2007-08 and placed fourth. Sherlock is 73-6 in two years as the starter for West Mifflin High School as he preps for his final season. A standout in both freestyle and folkstyle, Sam took second place at the 2008 Super 32 Challenge and Beast of the East and placed third at the 2009 Junior Nationals. Sam is the son of Sam and Nancy Sherlock of West Mifflin, Pa.

    Penn State opens up the dual meet season at Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. Penn State's first home dual is slated for Sunday, Nov. 15, at noon when the Bloomsburg Huskies invade Rec Hall. Penn State Wrestling season tickets for the 2009-10 season are on sale now. The five-event package (which does not include the Nittany Lion Open) costs $30 for adults ($6 per event) and $25 for youth ($5 per event). Single event tickets will cost $8 for adults and $6 for youth. Group sales are available once again for groups of 15 people or more. Group prices are $5 in advance and $6 walk-up. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1.800.NITTANY between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC (1390 AM) and on www.GoPSUsports.com as well. The 2009-10 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.

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