UNIVERSITY PARK - A year ago at Nelson Field House, the Penn State wrestling team kicked off its 2010-2011 campaign with a 41-3 thumping of the Bloomsburg Huskies that eventually led to the Lions winning the Division I NCAA crown.
Sunday afternoon, although the venue changed, it was much the same beginning for the Lions as they again manhandled the Huskies to the tune of 39-3 at Rec Hall.
"For the first match of the year, I felt we wrestled pretty well," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. "I think some of the guys were a little frustrated because they would have liked to have scored a few more points, but Bloomsburg is a tough team. They are one of the better coached teams in the country and they did a really nice job in the tie-ups. It is a team that really gives us an idea of what we need to work on."
Penn State got out of the chute at a fast pace when one of the young Lions, freshman Nico Megaludis, wasted no time in picking up his first collegiate win when he decked Sean Boylan at 2:15 of the first period at 125.
"It was just awesome," Megaludis said. "To be in the huddle with those guys and then to be the first one to step on the mat was pretty cool. I was not surprised, but I was happy with the way I wrestled on top. He (Boylan) is a solid kid, but once I got that bar, I wasn't about to let go of it."
After Megaludis's win, the Huskies picked up their only win of the afternoon when Nick Wilcox reversed Derek Reber in the final minute to walk away with a 2-0 win.
However, on the heels of Wilcox's win, you could color it all Blue & White as the 'Nits reeled off eight straight victories.
After battling back-and-forth with Bryan Pearsall in the room, Sam Sherlock was given the nod at 141 and he made the most of his initial varsity win in Rec Hall as he doubled up on highly-touted Husky freshman Matt Rappo (Council Rock South) by a 10-5 final. Eight of Sherlock's points came on the four takedowns.
Three-time All-American Frank Molinaro gave notice that he is right where he wants to be heading into the season as he mauled Bryce Busler for a 17-0 technical fall in 5:05. Included in Molinaro's win were three takedowns and nine back points.
"We prepared pretty hard this week and it is always nice to get the first one (win) out of the way," Molinaro said. "It's important to get your nerves out, see where you are at and see where your conditioning is. We have a good number of freshmen in the lineup and I thought they all wrestled hard and did a good job."
After Molinaro's tech fall, former Central Mountain standout Dylan Alton (ranked 12th) made his first official Penn State effort a winning one as he showed his superiority on his feet by recording four takedowns on Frank Hickman (ranked 14th) for a 10-8 win.
"It was exciting to finally get out there," Alton said about competing for real after a redshirt year.
As for moving up to 157 from 141, Alton said it is something that never enters his mind.
"I just go into a match and I never think about it because I feel that I am pretty good sized for my weight," he said. "I don't really worry about that so I just go out there and wrestle."
Following the halftime intermission, it was simply David being David at 165 as Taylor picked up a pair of takedowns to offset a Kevin Hartnett escape before Taylor planted Hartnett to his back for the fall in 2:21.
Although not his usual flamboyant self, Ed Ruth had plenty of gas in his tank as he built up a 6-1 lead after one period before cruising to a 10-4 win over Mike Dessino.
With the win well in hand, the 184-pound bout marked the first time Quentin Wright stepped on the Rec Hall mats against a foreign opponent following his 2011 NCAA championship, and the Lion junior didn't disappoint. The former BEA standout slicked Mike Mirra three times before nailing Mirra for the fall five seconds short of the two-minute mark.
As was the case with Megaludis, the long-awaited appearance of Morgan McIntosh in the Lion lineup was a good one for the PSU true freshman. After a scoreless first period, Blooms's Richard Perry chose to work from the defensive position, and McIntosh made him pay for his decision as he cranked Perry for three back points and a 3-0 lead heading home.
In the final two minutes, McIntosh scored an early reversal on Perry and coupled with 3:52 time advantage, the three-time California state champ posted his first career shutout as a Nittany Lion matmen by the final of 6-0.
In the afternoon's finale, Lion 285-pounder Cameron Wade displayed his agility on his feet as he recorded a trio of takedowns, an escape and 2:16 of time to close out the dual meet with an 8-0 major decision over Bloom's Zac Walsh.
Now 1-0, the Lions are idle until Nov. 20 when they roll out the welcome mat to the Minnesota Gophers in a key Big Ten early season showdown.