Penn State pins way to the top

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Penn State used 11 pins to leap into the lead after the first day of the 2013 Southern Scuffle.

The Nittany Lions won 43 bouts on the day, 24 with bonus points, and advanced six wrestlers into today’s semifinals.

Penn State sent a total of 17 wrestlers into action at the Scuffle – 15 scoring and two unattached – and all but two of them remain alive as the Nittany Lions look to claim their third straight Scuffle title. Penn State is in first with 102.0 points, followed by Minnesota in second with 94.0 and Oklahoma State in third with 89.5

The Nittany Lions entered the tournament with nine seeded wrestlers plus an unattached grappler being seeded. All-American Nico Megaludis was the top seed at 125, senior James English was the 10th-seed at 149, junior James Vollrath was the fifth seed at 157 and All-American David Taylor was the No. 2 seed at 165.

Also in the seedings were Matt Brown, third at 174; All-American Ed Ruth, the top-seed at 184; All-American Quentin Wright, another top seed at 197; sophomore Jimmy Lawson, sixth seed at 285; classmate Jon Gingrich was the seventh seed in the same weight class. True freshman Jimmy Gulibon, wrestling unattached at 133, was sixth in his bracket.

Penn State opened the tournament in outstanding fashion, posting a nearly perfect mark through the first round. Ten of Penn State’s first round included bonus points. The two unattached wrestlers – true freshmen Gulibon and Juniata graduate Zack Beitz – went 2-0 as well with Gulibon posting a tech fall. The round ended with the Blue and White recording a 15-1 record with six pins, two techs and three majors.

The Nittany Lions then put together a strong second round, pushing a total of 12 wrestlers through to the quarterfinals.

Megaludis was first up for Penn State at 125. Ranked No. 2 nationally, he made short work of American’s David Terao, rolling to a 9-3 win. The Lion went 2-0 on the day and will wrestle in the semifinals.

At 133, Conaway nearly upset No. 16 George DiCamillo of Virginia, just missing out on a late takedown before losing 6-5. Gulibon dropped a 9-5 decision to No. 7 Jon Morrison of Oklahoma State. Both are in the consolations today.

English took on No. 1 Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State and dropped a tough 12-6 decision, but stayed alive in the wrestlebacks. Red-shirt freshman Luke Frey battled No. 2 Dylan Ness of Minnesota tough as well, losing 9-4. He finished the day 2-1 with two majors and is in action today.

At 157, Vollrath continued a strong run, posting an 11-3 major over Matthew Frisch of the Citadel to advance to the semis.

Second-ranked Taylor capped off a blistering first day by pinning Army’s Paul Hancock at the 4:39 mark to advance to the semifinals. No.1 Ed Ruth capped off a stellar first day by majoring Virginia’s Stephen Doty 13-4 to move to the semifinals. Ruth had Penn State’s only pigtail and went 4-0 on the day with three pins and a major.

No. 3 Quentin Wright advanced to the semis at 197, downing Duke’s Conner Hartmann 9-2 in the quarters. Wright was 3-0 with a pin on the day. Penn State had two heavyweights in the quarters. Lawson took No. 3 Alan Gelogaev of Oklahoma State and dropped a hard-fought 8-1 decision. Gingrich took No. 2 Dom Bradley of Missouri to the wire, nearly pulling off the upset before falling 3-2.

In the evening’s consolation action, 141-pounder Bryan Pearsall bounced back from a second round loss to win two straight consolation bouts with a pin and a medical forfeit. Beitz came back from a second-round loss to win two as well. Senior Nick Fischer also responded after a second round loss and picked up two consolation wins.

Action continues in the Southern Scuffle beginning at 9 a.m. Penn State’s next home dual is Jan. 13 when Michigan State invades Rec Hall for a 2 p.m. meeting.