PHILADELPHIA - After a fabulous outing on the first day of the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships that saw the Nittany Lions win 15 of 16 bouts, Penn State ran into a few bumps on the road in Day 2.
However, after a slow start, the Lions picked things up as they opened a 92.5-75 lead over Cornell for the team title.
The good news for the Lions was that the Nittany Lions guaranteed themselves four All-Americans in the championship quarterfinals as Andrew Long, Frank Molinaro, David Taylor and Quentin Wright all advanced to the semis.
Sentinel photo by TAMI KNOPSNYDER
Lock Haven’s Matt Bonson, a graduate of Lewistown Area High School, puts Iowa State’s Christopher Drouin on his back during their 141-pound match at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia on Friday. Bonson won the match by technical fall, 17-0 in 4:43.
Long was hooked up a real battle with Central Michigan's Scotti Sentes when he cranked Sentes for the fall with 14 seconds left in the opening period, then Molinaro assured himself of becoming a three-time All-American when he doubled up on Mario Mason of Rutgers for a 4-2 win.
Taylor had one of his toughest battles of the season in the quarters with Iowa's Derrick St. John before he walked off with a 6-3 win and Wright became the Lions fourth semifinalist as the Bald Eagle Area state champ and PSU All-American downed top-seeded Chris Honeycutt 7-3. Honeycutt had beaten Wright in the Penn State Open earlier in the season.
As for the bad news, the Lions also took a few hits with three losses in the quarters.
Andrew Alton became the first PSU casualty when he was blanked 2-0 by Cal Poly's Borislav Novachkov and then the injury bug hit the Lions when Ed Ruth and Cameron Wade were both forced into the consolation bracket with losses by injury default. Ruth was trailing Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford by a 9-2 count at the time of his injury, while Wade was trailing top-seeded Zac Rey of Lehigh when he was forced to the sidelines.
The remaining Lion wrestler who was still alive in the second day of the tournament, 125-pounder Brad Pataky, was defeated 8-1 by Sean Boyle of Michigan in the consolation bracket and fell out of the competition.
In the semis, Long dropped a 6-4 decision to Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State. Molinaro became the Lions' first finalist with a 4-1 win over Jason Chamberlain of Boise. Taylor made it two on the stage Saturday night with a surprisingly easy 7-1 nod over Steve Fittery of American University and Wright brought the Wells Fargo crowd to its feet with a fall over Iowa's Grant Gambrall in 2:52. Wright was leading 7-0 at the time of the fall.
Joining the four semifinalists as All-Americans with a win in the fourth round of consolations was Ed Ruth, a narrow 7-6 win over Luke Manuel of Purdue, while Alton came out on the short end of a 5-4 decision to Zac Kemmerer of Penn before Wade dropped a tough-luck 4-2 sudden victory decision to Ricardo Alcala of Indiana. Ruth came back later to win another bout and will put himself in a position to finish as high as third.
Three Mifflin County wrestlers came through the third session with mixed results before all of them eventually bowed out of the tournament.
Lock Haven's Matt Bonson went 1-1 for the day to fall out of the money. Bonson opened up with a 17-0 technical fall over Christopher Drouin of Iowa State before he fell 10-5 to Matthew Mariacher of American. For the tournament, Bonson finished with a 2-2 mark.
"I thought he (Bonson) had an overall good performance," Lock Haven coach Robbie Waller. "He wrestled hard the last match in the one he lost. What he needs to do is wrestle a little smarter. You can't give up twos and get one back. If that happens you won't win.
"That is something we can work on and it is something we can work on heading into next year. I had a long talk with him after his last match and he wants to work hard and get on the podium next year."
Indian Valley's Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) fell back into the wrestlebacks when he was defeated 9-5 by Brandon Percin of Northwestern in the championship quarterfinals, while former Lewistown Panther Matt Snyder (Virginia) moved on to the next round with wins.
In the third round of consys, Snyder kept his hopes alive as he moved one step closer to the medal round with a 13-8 win over Joe Langel of Rutgers.
If you win your match in the fourth round of consolations, you earn a spot in the medal round. Both Bedelyon and Snyder came one short of achieving that goal.
Bedelyon dropped a 5-3 decision to James Nicholson of Old Dominion, while Snyder was one point short of medaling in a 6-5 loss to Zach Sanders of Minnesota.
"I really don't know what to say other than today wasn't my day," Bedelyon said. "I never got anything going today and couldn't make it happen. This might mean something to me down the road, but right now, everything I worked for means nothing right now. All I can do is keep working hard for next year and hopefully I can be back here (at nationals)."