Nittany Lion Wrestlers Repeat As NCAA Champions
After capturing their first NCAA title since the 1953 season last year, Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lions went back-to-back after a dominant showing at the national tournament this weekend in St. Louis, Mo.
Penn State outscored second place Minnesota by 25.5 points in the final standings. Before the finals even started, the Nittany Lions and their six All-Americans had the team championship clinched.
Five Penn State wrestlers made it to Saturday night’s championship round (the most in school history) and three came away with individual gold medals. Frank Molinaro, David Taylor, and Ed Ruth all captured individual crowns while going undefeated throughout the entire season. Nico Megaludis and Quentin Wright both took silver.
As for Coach Sanderson, he was led Penn State to two team titles and four individual champions in three years. With another stacked class of recruits coming in the fall and only two starting seniors; a dynasty is in the making.
Here is a breakdown of Penn State’s nine wrestlers and how they performed:
125: No. 10 Nico Megaludis (28-8) – NCAA Runner-Up
Megaludis knocked off three wrestlers with higher seeds on his way to capping off his freshman campaign with a silver medal. His lone loss, in the championship bout, was to four-time All-American Matt McDonough of Iowa.
133: Frank Martellotti (9-11) – DNP
Martellotti lost his first match by fall to Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver, the defending national champ at 133. After winning his next match, Martellotti dropped his third to No. 6 Devin Carter of Virginia Tech ending his tournament run.
149: No. 1 Frank Molinaro (33-0) – NCAA Champion
Despite a knee injury that appeared to slow Molinaro down in the second round, he cruised to a national title defeating Minnesota’s Dylan Ness 4-1 in the championship bout. It marks Molinaro’s fourth time achieving All-American status; the fifth PSU wrestler in history to accomplish that feat.
157: No. 7 Dylan Alton (31-6) – Third Place
The red-shirt freshman Alton, after losing his quarterfinal match to eventual national runner-up Derek St. John of Iowa, fought his way through the consolation ladder to take home a bronze medal. Alton went (7-1) on the tournament, the most wins by a PSU wrestler.
165: No. 1 David Taylor (32-0) – NCAA Champion
Taylor absolutely dominated the competition over the weekend going (5-0) with four pins and a tech fall. The Big Ten wrestler of the year also took home the Gorriaran Award for the most pins in the least amount of time and was named Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament. If that wasn’t enough, Taylor was also named 2012 NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler for the season. From start to finish, Taylor’s was unstoppable this season; dominant is an understatement.
174: No. 1 Ed Ruth (31-0) – NCAA Champion
It’s hard to look more impressive then David Taylor, but Ruth was every bit as good over the weekend. He was locking up cradles from any position on the mat that he pleased, cruising to his first individual crown. In the championship round, he beat Stanford’s Nick Amuchastegui 13-2. Amuchastegui, who was the No. 2 seed in tournament, was undefeated going into the bout.
184: No. 6 Quentin Wright (30-4) – NCAA Runner-up
Wright fell inches short of a second consecutive individual title, losing in overtime to Cornell’s Steve Bosak, a State College high school graduate. The junior Wright achieved All-American status for the third straight year. Next season he will look to join Molinaro on the short list of four-time All-Americans at Penn State.
197: Morgan McIntosh (18-10) – DNP
The freshman McIntosh won his opening bout of the tournament but then ran into top seeded and eventual champion at 197, Cam Simaz of Cornell. McIntosh dropped his next match to Ohio State’s Andrew Campolattano 8-3 ending his first trip to the NCAA tournament.
HWT: No. 6 Cameron Wade – DNP
The senior Wade finished one win shy of All-American status for the second straight season. In his must-win bout he lost to Binghamton’s Nick Gwiazdowsk 7-4 ending his chance at a medal.
Check out these videos from the weekend: