Wrestling Intrasquad Dual Fills Rec Hall
With the regular season set to start in just over a week, the wrestlers took to the mat last night at in a packed Rec Hall for an intrasquad duel to determine this year’s starting line-up.
Coming off the team’s first national championship since 1953 and first ever Big Ten title last year, expectations are high for Cael Sanderson’s wrestlers. They are the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the nation with nine wrestlers ranked in the Top 25, according to Intermat.
Here are the results of last night’s wrestle-off and what you can expect to see this season:
125 pounds: No. 19 Nico Megaludis def. Jordan Conaway, 5-1
The true freshman Megaludis comes to Penn state as the No. 5 ranked recruit in the nation. He was a three-time PIAA state champ posting a career record of 170-1. He will fit right into the line-up and be an immediate force in the Big Ten.
133: Derek Reber def. Cameron Kelly, 4-0
Reber is a junior transfer from Bucknell, where he was an NCAA qualifier as a freshman. In high school, he went 165-10, winning a state title in 2008. He has big shoes to fill with the departure of All-American Andrew Long from the team after an offseason incident, but Reber’s quite capable.
141: Sam Sherlock def. Bryan Pearsall, 10-5
Sherlock is coming off a red shirt season where he went 18-5 as an unattached wrestler. He won a PIAA state title his junior year, but an injury left him unable to defend it the following season. Sherlock looks like he can fill what many people thought would be Andrew Alton’s spot.
149: No. 1 Frank Molinaro def. Seth Beitz, 8-1
Senior Molinaro is a three-time All-American and last year’s national runner-up. This season he’s looking to not only become Penn State’s fifth four-time All-American, but win a national title. I wouldn’t bet against him.
157: No. 13 Dylan Alton def. Dirk Cowburn, 5-3
Alton, also coming off a red shirt season, went 17-2 as an unattached wrestler last year. He was the No. 5 recruit in the country at 152 after going 178-5 in his career with three PIAA state titles. Dylan’s twin brother Andrew qualified for the NCAAs last year—look for him to do the same.
165: No. 1 David Taylor def. Nick Fischer, 21-6
Taylor is coming off a disappointing loss in last year’s national championship match that capped his 38-1 freshman campaign. He will be one of the nation’s most dominant wrestlers this season with one goal in mind: an NCAA title.
174: No. 2 Ed Ruth def. Matt Brown, 7-4
Last season, Ruth took third at the NCAA tournament and captured a Big Ten crown after going 38-2. He returns to 174 as a sophomore and will be top contender for the national title.
184: No. 1 Quentin Wright def. David Crowell by fall
Wright persevered through a midseason shoulder injury last year to eventually win an NCAA title. The two-time All-American returns for his junior campaign with thoughts of repeating on his mind.
197: No. 9 Morgan McIntosh def. Justin Ortega, 13-5
The true freshman McIntosh, out of Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation’s No. 1 recruit. He was a three-time California state champ going 189-5 in his career. He’s a gifted athlete and it will be fun to see what he can accomplish this season.
285: Nick Ruggear def. Jon Gingrich, 5-3
Ruggear started last season for the majority of the matches at 197, going 15-14. He bumped up to 285, and with an injury to Cameron Wade, finds himself in a starting role for the time being.
The Nittany Lions have two other ranked wrestlers: No. 5 at 141, Andrew Alton, and No. 5 at 285, Cameron Wade. Alton, who is unable to make weight at 141 and still function, will red shirt this season after qualifying for the NCAA tournament last season. Wade is working his way back from an injury but is expected to be ready for the season opener.
The season begins next Sunday, November 13, against Bloomsburg in Rec Hall at 2 p.m.