Penn State Wrestlers Eye National Championship
Last weekend at Northwestern University, Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lion wrestlers captured their first ever Big Ten team championship edging out Iowa by just one point. Andrew Long, Frank Molinaro, David Taylor, Ed Ruth, and Quentin Wright all claimed individual crowns.
Penn State will send eight wrestlers to the NCAA tournament this weekend at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia in an effort to win a national championship for the first time since 1953. Among the five champions, Brad Pataky, Andrew Alton, and Cameron Wade also earned trips to the tournament.
2011 NCAA Qualifiers:
Brad Pataky (11-5 record at 125 pounds) enters the tournament as an at-large bid and unseeded after taking seventh place in the Big Ten. He will face Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett in round one.
Andrew Long (15-1 at 133) was crowned Big Ten champion last weekend and will enter the tournament as the number three seed overall. Long was the national runner-up last season at 125 pounds and will take on Northern Colorado’s Casey Cruz in his first match.
Andrew Alton (28-8 at 141) took fifth place in the Big Ten and earned the number six seed overall for the weekend. In the opening round Alton will wrestle Binghamton’s Anwar Goeres.
Frank Molinaro (28-2 at 149) won his second Big Ten title on his way to a number two overall seed. He will face Rider’s Zac Cibula in the opening round in an effort to become an All-American for the third consecutive season.
David Taylor (34-0 at 157) stayed perfect while cruising to a Big Ten title. The freshman stand-out will enter the tournament as the number three overall seed facing Robert Erisman of Oklahoma State.
Ed Ruth (32-1 at 174) was crowned Big Ten champion last weekend continuing his dominance. Ruth will be seeded second overall to Maryland’s Mike Letts, who is responsible for his only loss of the season. In round one, he will take on Liberty’s Royal Brettrager.
Quentin Wright (16-6 at 184) won three matches in the Big Ten tournament on his way to a title. All three victories came over opponents who had beaten him earlier in the season. Wright is the ninth overall seed and will face Virginia’s Jonathan Fausey in the opening round.
Cameron Wade (28-6 at 285) took fifth place in the Big Ten with his final victory clinching Penn State’s team title. He enters the NCAA tournament seed ninth and will face the winner of a pig-tail bout between Jeremy Johnson of Ohio and Clayton Jack of Oregon State.