Wrestling Tops Rider To Kick Off Quest For Fourth Straight National Title
Penn State wrestling kicked off its quest for a fourth straight national title with a decisive 34-8 victory over Rider on Saturday afternoon. Wrestling in front of a sold out crowd in Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville, NJ., the No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions won eight out of ten bouts en route to a commanding road victory to begin the dual-meet season.
No. 3 Nico Megaludis opened up the match with a 5-0 victory over No. 17 Robert Deutsch at 125 lbs. Megaludis, a two-time NCAA finalist, scored a takedown :30 into the second period and didn’t let up, building more than a minute in riding time before sealing the victory for Penn State.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the day, top-ranked David Taylor faced off against No. 13 Ramon Santiago at 165 lbs. The 2011 National Champion and three-time All-American jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and went on to pin Santiago at the 4:27 mark to earn his fifth fall in six matches this season.
Starting at 184 lbs. in place of suspended No. 1 ranked Ed Ruth was sophomore James Frascella, who made his dual-meet debut for the Nittany Lions. Frascella dropped a 17-2 tech fall to Rider’s Clint Morrison, who earned two takedowns with 2:35 in riding time.
Wrestling in his first dual-meet as a Nittany Lion, true freshman Zain Retherford earned a 12-3 major decision over Rider’s Paul Kirchner at 141 lbs. A highly touted recruit out of Benton, PA., Retherford came into Saturday’s action off a strong performance at the Kaloust Bearcat Open in Binghamton, NY., where he earned two pins in five matches en route to a title.
Filling in at 149 lbs. for No. 8 Andrew Alton, who is still recovering from off-season surgery, was senior James English. With the score tied 4-4, the bout went into sudden victory. Delia went for a single that was countered by English, but he was able to score the takedown after a scramble, earning a 6-4 win.
Other wrestlers earning victories include No. 3 Matt Brown at 174 lbs. (Pin), No. 4 Morgan McIntosh at 197 lbs. (8-2 decision), No. 11 Jimmy Lawson at 285 lbs. (10-2 major decision), Jordan Conaway at 133 lbs. (12-4 major decision), and James Vollrath at 157 lbs. (10-2 major decision).
Penn State continues its weekend road trip with a match against Lehigh on Sunday at 3 pm.