Nits rip Purdue on mats
UNIVERSITY PARK – Although some of the bouts might have been a little closer than first anticipated, the final outcome was never in doubt.
Winning nine of the 10 bouts, Penn State boiled Purdue to the tune of 34-3 Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 6,369 at Rec Hall.
“I thought we saw some good things in that our guys that were real consistent, but we also saw some lows in a few weight classes that’s kind of frustrating,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “We don’t judge our performance based on the score. I don’t think we are happy with the way we competed today and a lot of that has to do with the way we trained them this week. We were coming in a little cold maybe, but still you have to find a way to be at your best regardless part of the process.”
Nico Megaludis got the Lions off and running as he gave Camden Eppert a clinic in takedowns, Megaludis sticking Eppert six times en route to a 15-4 major decision.
Jimmy Gulibon couldn’t cope with lanky Cashe Auiroga at 133. Gulibon fell behind 8-0 after two periods before dropping a 9-2 decision. As it turned out, the Auiroga win would be the only one for Purdue during the meet.
Zain Retherford remained unbeaten at 141 when he also showed his ability on his feet. Retherford put together four takedowns, an escape and time advantage for a 10-2 major decision.
The next two bouts featured the return of Central Mountain graduates Andrew and Dylan Alton with mixed reviews.
“It was good to see the Altons back in there,” Sanderson said. “That’s part of the process for them although they are not 100 percent yet. They had to get out here because we are running out of time to make decisions one way or the other.”
Andrew appeared to have some discomfort with his shoulder as he gave up three stalling points before escaping with a 7-6 win over Brandon Nelson.
“He put his shoulder in a bad position coming off the shoulder injury that’s a bad thing to do,” Sanderson said.
“It felt good to be out there,” Andrew Alton said. I was a little nervous so what I need to do is get more mentally prepared. I wouldn’t say I was tired. I just need to get more of an urgency in the third period to get off bottom and keep scoring points.”
While Andrew struggled, Dylan didn’t as he dominated Dustin Schultz for a solid 6-1 decision.
“I plan on getting better every match and just getting out there was feeling pretty good to compete again in Rec Hall,” Dylan Alton said. “You want to get back out there on the mat as soon as possible.”
With four wins in the first five bouts, the Lions roared to a 14-3 lead and they never looked back.
If the Boilermakers thought things might get a little better after halftime, they were dead wrong.
Not only did the Lions sweep the last five bouts, they did it with a fall and a pair of major decisions for a 20-0 bulge to set the final.
Following the break, unbeaten David Taylor got the Lions off to a quick start when he built up a 9-2 lead over Chad Welch before decking the Boilermaker at the 2:23 mark of their bout.
Taking a cue from Taylor, Matt Brown and Ed Ruth followed with bonus point wins as Brown showed good quickness on his feet while recording a half dozen takedowns en route to a 14-4 win over Patrick Kisel before Ruth toyed with Tanner Lynde for five takedowns on his way to a 13-3 major.
With the Ruth win, the Penn State lead had ballooned to 28-3 with the feature bout of the dual waiting in the wings where, eighth-ranked Morgan McIntosh of Penn State squared off with 16th-ranked Braden Atwood.
Not awed in the least by Atwood’s credentials coming in – which included a runner-up finish in the Midlands Tournament – McIntosh made his three takedowns stand up for a 6-4 win over Atwood.
In the afternoon’s finale, Jimmy Lawson continues to look impressive as he dominated Purdue’s Alex White for an 8-1 win. Lawson used three takedowns, and escape and four minutes of riding time for his eight points.
The Ridge Riley Award for the outstanding wrestler of the meet went to David Taylor for his first-period fall at 165. The fall by Taylor was the 47th of his career, leaving him six short of the all-time Penn State career record.
As expected, newly hired Penn State football coach James Franklin and his family made an appearance in Rec Hall, and Franklin made the most of the opportunity to mingle with and sign autographs for the fans. Franklin made a brief appearance at center mat during intermission, and the Franklin’s two girls gave their version of “We are, Penn State” over the public address system much to the delight of the fans.