Despite No. 2 Nico Megaludis starting the afternoon with a major decision, for the first time this year, Penn State wrestling lost. No. 3 Minnesota stretched its unbeaten streak against Penn State to ten matches with an 18-17 win, giving the top-ranked Nittany Lions its first loss since February 1, 2013. Penn State’s loss gave both teams a share of the Big Ten dual meet title.
After Megaludis (125 lbs.) defeated Minnesota’s Jordan Kingsley 19-5 to give Penn State a 4-0 lead, the two teams traded bouts to up the score to 7-3. The Gophers’ David Thorn (133 lbs.) rode out Jimmy Gulibon and earned a 2-0 victory, and No. 2 Zain Retherford (141 lbs.) earned a dominant 4-0 victory over Minnesota’s Chris Dardanes.
Redshirt freshman Zach Beitz (149 lbs.) had a tough task ahead of him, as he would be pitted against No. 3 Nick Dardanes. Beitz had the first takedown of the match, but the match went back and forth, and moved into tie breakers, where Dardanes took down Beitz to win 6-4 and cut Penn State’s lead to just one point.
No. 4 Dylan Alton (157 lbs.) faced No. 8 Dylan Ness in a key matchup before the break. Alton looked to take Ness down early in the match, but Ness turned Alton for a takedown and rode him out for the rest of the period. Ness escaped to start the second period, and Alton looked for a takedown again, but Ness turned him for a pin at 5:57 to give Minnesota a 12-7 lead into the break.
Top-ranked David Taylor (165 lbs.) came out in hopes of changing the momentum, but a slow start in the first period had Taylor tied 2-2 with Danny Zilverberg. However, Taylor was able to impose his will on Zilverberg and won a 13-3 major decision.
One of the most anticipated matchups of the day featured No. 3 Matt Brown (174 lbs.) and No. 6 Logan Storley. The two faced off in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships last year, when Brown defeated Storley 3-2.
After a scoreless first period, Brown chose down to start the second. He escaped, but Storley quickly took Brown down again and added two back points. Brown escaped and ended the the period trailing 4-2. Storley escaped from down in the third period. After a scramble, Storley took Brown down again. Storley was called for a stalling point to make his lead 7-3. Brown escaped late, but there was not enough time to score, losing an 8-4 decision.
No. 2 Ed Ruth (184 lbs.) looked for bonus points against No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus, who Ruth defeated last year in a 5-3 decision to win the Big Ten championship. Ruth dominated Steinhaus en route to a 7-1 victory, but it was still two points short of a much needed major decision. The victory was Ruth’s first win that didn’t include bonus points, and the decision cut Minnesota’s lead in the team score to 15-14.
No. 5 Morgan McIntosh (197 lbs.) had his toughest opponent of the season against No. 1 Scott Schiller, and needed to pull the upset if the Nittany Lions wanted a chance to beat Minnesota. However, through several takedowns, McIntosh was able to get the win via an 8-4 decision, which gave Penn State a 17-15 lead and set up a winner-take-all bout at 285 pounds to end the meet.
Jon Gingrich faced two-time national champion No. 5 Tony Nelson. Nelson escaped to start the second period, and took Gingrich down for a 3-0 lead. Gingrich chose neutral for the third period, and Nelson had another take down and a riding time point for a 6-0 decision. Gingrich got the victory and Minnesota won the match, 18-17.
Despite the loss, Penn State still earned a 7-1 Big Ten record, which is good enough to win a share of the regular season Big Ten title. Penn State has won the last three NCAA Championships after losing a dual during the season, including a loss to Minnesota in the 2011-2012 season. Penn State also tied Minnesota during in the 2010-2011 campaign.
Penn State faces No. 5 Oklahoma State next Sunday in a sold-out dual in Rec Hall at 2 p.m.
125: #2 Nico Megaludis (PSU) defeated Jordan Kingsley by major decision, 19-5.
133: #8 David Thorn (Minn) defeated #16 Jimmy Gulibon by decision, 2-0.
141: #2 Zain Retherford (PSU) defeated #6 Chris Dardanes by decision, 4-0.
149: #3 Nick Dardanes (Minn) defeated Zack Beitz by decision, 6-4 in sudden victory.
157: #8 Dylan Ness (Minn) pinned #4 Dylan Alton at 5:57.
165: #1 David Taylor (PSU) defeated Danny Zilverberg by major decision, 13-3.
174: #6 Logan Storley (Minn) defeated #3 Matt Brown by decision, 8-4.
184: #2 Ed Ruth (PSU) defeated #8 Kevin Steinhaus by decision, 7-1.
197: #5 Morgan McIntosh (PSU) defeated #1 Scott Schiller by decision, 8-4
285: #5 Tony Nelson (Minn) defeated Jon Gingrich by decision, 6-0.