Wrestlers Open Weekend with Sweep
The back-to-back, top-end recruiting classes of 2009 and 2010 finally paid off for head coach Cael Sanderson this weekend as his wrestlers took two victories against the Bloomsburg Huskies and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
The team kicked off the season Friday night in Bloomsburg in front of a crowd of nearly 3,500 people (quite large for the Nelson Field House), and they came out swinging. Winning nine out of 10 possible matches, the Nittany Lions sealed a 41-3 victory for the first win of what looks to be a championship-caliber season.
Leading the team Friday night were 133-pound Bryan Pearsall, 141-pound Andrew Alton and 184-pound Quentin Wright, who each earned pins for their opening victories.
Highly touted redshirt freshmen David Taylor and Ed Ruth each added technical falls in their first Penn State matches at 157 and 165 pounds respectively.
Sunday, when the Mountain Hawks visited Rec Hall, was something of a different story. Freshman Frank Martellotti opened the day with a hard-fought 3-0 win at 125 pounds. The other four victories would come from four other fellow freshmen on their way to a 21-17 edging of Lehigh.
Two matches after Martellotti, the freshman phenom Andrew Alton continued his dominance with a 1:21 fall at 141 pounds. Between the two matches this weekend, Alton wrestled a total of only two minutes and 15 seconds.
Taylor would once again win his 157-pound bout with 3:33 pin. Redshirt freshman Jake Kemerer, who originally committed to Oklahoma, followed Taylor with a 3-1 overtime, sudden death victory over No. 11 Brandon Hatchett. As the crowd of 5,500+ at Rec Hall chanted, “Let’s go Jake,” the 165-pounder shot in on a smooth double leg to upset the ranked Hatchett.
Ruth won the next match at 184 pounds with a score of 7-5 over Austin Meys before the Nittany Lions lost the final three matches. Of those three lost matches was No. 3 Quentin Wright who dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 14 Robert Hamlin.
The wrestling team is back in action this Saturday as they travel to Binghamton, N.Y. for the Sprawl and Brawl Duals.