Lions take out Lehigh

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 nationally in Intermat’s Tournament Power Index, continued its season-opening dual weekend with another road victory, this time a thrilling 22-12 win at Lehigh.

Wrestling without four ranked wrestlers, Cael Sanderson’s team won six bouts while senior David Taylor notched his 100th career bonus-point win.

Lion freshman and Juniata graduate Zack Beitz made his dual debut, taking on No. 19 Mitch Minotti at 149. Beitz, a 141-pounder, was strong as the third straight Nittany Lion freshman thrilled the Penn State faithful with a near upset, only to lose a close 4-3 decision.

Junior All-American Nico Megaludis, ranked No. 3 at 125, got Penn State off to a hot start, notching a dominating 19-4 technical fall over Lehigh’s Darian Cruz at the 6:48 mark. Penn State freshman Jimmy Gulibon, No. 16 at 133, made his Penn State dual meet debut against No. 6 Mason Beckman of Lehigh and nearly knocked off the Hawk, dropping a 7-6 decision on riding time.

True freshman Zain Retherford continued his hot start to the season, rolling to a 10-4 win over Lehigh’s Laike Gardner at 141 to put Penn State up 8-3. Lehigh’s Joey Napoli, ranked No. 10 at 157, needed riding time to hold off the efforts of Lion senior James Vollrath. The bonus point gave Napoli a 4-3 win and put the Mountain Hawks up 9-8 at halftime.

Senior All-American Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165, then dominated Lehigh’s Brian Brill, rolling to a 20-7 major with more than 4:00 in riding time. He is now 107-3 with 42 pins, 35 tech falls and 23 majors. Junior All-American Matt Brown followed that up with an 8-5 win over LU’s Elliott Riddick to put Penn State up 15-9.

Penn State iced the dual at 197 as sophomore Morgan McIntosh notched a 10-2 major over Lehigh’s John Bolich. Junior Jon Gingrich capped off the strong team win with a 5-2 upset of Doug Vollaro at heavyweight.

The Lions improve to 2-0 on the year. The win was Penn State’s 25th straight non-conference dual meet victory.

The Nittany Lions’ home opener is Nov. 24 against Lock Haven.

Penn State 34, Rider 8

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Penn State opened the 2013-14 dual meet season with a convincing 34-8 win over Rider in a Comcast Sports Network national telecast. Wrestled in front of a sold out crowd, the Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts to roll to the victory.

Zain Retherford made his Penn State dual meet debut dominating Rider’s Paulie Kirchner at 141. Retherford used two late third period takedowns to roll to a 12-3 major and up Penn State’s lead to 11-0.

Three-time All-American David Taylor continued to add to his pin total, this time dominating No. 13 Ramon Santiago and getting a second period fall at the 4:27 mark. The pin was Taylor’s fifth in six bouts this year and the 42nd of his career, putting him just 11 shy of tying the all-time Penn State career record of 53. Matt Brown followed Taylor’s pin up with one of his own, turning Rider’s Conor Brennan to his back for a first period pin at the 1:14 mark, putting the Nittany Lions up 27-3.

Penn State won the takedown battle 28-5 and amassed ten bonus points off two pins and four majors, winning eight of ten bouts.