Penn State Wrestling won its third consecutive national championship tonight under Cael Sanderson, and Quentin Wright and Ed Ruth both took home individual titles.
Matt Brown faced Chris Perry of Oklahoma State in the 174 weight class to start off the finals. The two wrestlers grappled for the better part of the first period. Matt Brown started down in the second period and quickly escaped. The two exchanged shots near the end of the period, but time ran out. Perry escaped from down early in the third period. Perry received a stall warning at the end of the third period. The match headed into sudden victory where neither wrestler could score. It then moved into tiebreakers where Brown started from down. Brown could not escape from down, and Perry escaped during his tiebreaker to win 2-1.
Ed Ruth saw Robert Hamlin of Lehigh at 184 for the third time this year. Previously Ruth beat Hamlin in an 11-9 decision in the season’s opening dual and again in a 7-3 decision at the Southern Scuffle. Less than 30 seconds into the bout, Ruth had a takedown to lead 2-1 after Ruth was called on a locked hand penalty. Ruth clinched a minute of riding time before the first period was over. Ruth escaped from down less than 10 seconds into the second period and got a second takedown with 15 seconds left. In the third, Hamlin had an escape with just over a minute left in the bout. With just 30 seconds left, Ruth had two more takedowns and with the riding time point, Ruth was able to clinch a 12-4 major decision to put Penn State ahead of Oklahoma State in the standings after the Cowboys took the lead after the first match.
Quentin Wright faced Dustin Kilgore of Kent State at 197, who had been undefeated since December 2010, after redshirting last season. Wright had an early takedown but Kilgore was able to escape and took down Wright shortly after for a 3-2 score. After a restart, Wright escaped to tie the match 3-3 going into the second period. Wright escaped from down early in the second period. A coaches review was called based on the fact that Wright had a takedown, but the officials ruled that it was out of bounds. Kilgore started on the bottom in the third period, but he escaped with about 15 seconds into the bout. Wright delivered two more takedowns to win 8-6 and secure the third consecutive team championship for Penn State.
Nico Megaludis and Jesse Delgado of Illinois battled for the third time this season in the 125 bout. Megaludis had beaten Delgado in the regular season, but Delgado got his revenge at the Big Ten Tourament. Megaludis had an early shot on Delgado but could not follow through on the takedown. After a stalemate, the two continued to take shots at each other throughout the first period. Delgado got an escape from down shortly into the second period. Megaludis attempted a single leg, but Delgado was able to take him over and added three back points to lead 6-2 after a Megaludis escape. Megaludis added a takedown with 15 seconds left, but after a Delgado escape there was no time left for Megaludis to get the needed points as Delgado prevailed 7-4.
David Taylor and Kyle Dake had been waiting months for the match of the century, and it certainly did not disappoint. Taylor took down Kyle Dake within the first fifteen seconds. Dake attempted a reversal on Taylor but they went out of bounds, so Dake was awarded an escape. Dake asked for a coaches challenge on whether or not it was a reversal, but the call stood. Dake took down Taylor with little time left in the first period. Taylor attempted to escape, but Dake threw him down again and time ran out in the second period with Dake leading 4-2 after another escape. Taylor almost took down Dake, but the two went out of bounds. A Taylor escape and Dake being called for stalling evened the match 4-4 late in the third period, but Dake had riding time advantage and Taylor was unable to get the final takedown he needed as the Cornell wrestler hung on to win 5-4.
Despite the close loss by Taylor, it was certainly a memorable night for Penn State wrestling in Des Moines, Iowa. With eight of their 10 starters returning next year, it doesn’t look like this dynasty will be ending anytime soon.
Shortly after the matches concluded, Coach Sanderson won his second Coach of the Year Award.