Usually a chance to watch two of the Big Ten’s best go toe to toe makes for a fantastic afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, watching Penn State win 7 matches in a row and beat the 2nd ranked Hawkeyes 22-12 was pure delight, but it couldn’t make up for the news of Joe Paterno’s passing. Penn State has a lot of rabid wrestling fans that follow our beloved Nittany Lions through good times and bad but we all lost a true treasure Sunday morning. Before the match started, Rec Hall had a moment of silence for Paterno that ended in a long standing ovation, it was a small gesture but one that almost brought me to tears.
We will miss you Joe!
Details of the beat-down after the break…
|Wt||Winner||dec.||Loser||Bout Score||Team Score|
|125:||#2 Matt McDonough||dec.||# 10 Nico Megaludis PSU||3-1 (sv)||0-3|
|133:||#2 Tony Ramos||pinned||Frank Martellotti PSU||WBF (4:20)||0-9|
|141:||#3 Montell Marion||dec.||Bryan Pearsall PSU||7-3||0-12|
|149:||#1 Frank Molinaro PSU||dec.||Mike Kelly||11-5||3-12|
|157:||#8 Dylan Alton||dec.||Nick Moore||5-3||6-12|
|165:||#1 David Taylor PSU||dec.||#6 Mike Evans||9-4||9-12|
|174:||#2 Ed Ruth PSU||maj. dec.||#9 Ethan Lofthouse||10-1||13-12|
|184:||#3 Quentin Wright PSU||dec.||Vinnie Wagner||8-2||16-12|
|197:||#13 Morgan McIntosh PSU||dec.||Grant Gambrall||5-3 (sv)||19-12|
|285:||#6 Cameron Wade PSU||dec.||Blake Raising||4-0||22-12|
Nico Megaludis continues to close the gap between him and the nation’s elite at 125. It took an overtime sudden victory takedown by the nation’s 2nd ranked wrestler for Iowa’s Matt McDonough to leave the mat with a victory. Nico was aggressive from the start and wasn’t intimidated by the guy that won a national championship as a freshman two years ago. I’ll be shocked if Megaludis doesn’t finish the year an All-American.
Speaking of continued improvement, Bryan Pearsall does what he needs to do to contribute to this team. Pearsall needed to keep the score close and not give up bonus points. Not only did he do that but he also kept the pressure on till the final whistle. Bryan could wrestle himself into a national qualifier if he continues to improve at the rate he is.
Don't anger Frank, he will rip your face off (photo: BSD/Galen)
Frank Molinaro just missed out on bonus points but had a great match winning 13-5 and amassing over 3 minutes in riding time. The same can be said for Taylor who dominated 6th ranked Evans from Iowa with over 2 minutes in riding time. Both Penn State wrestlers were the aggressor and dominated even if the score didn’t show it.
Ed Ruth was the only Penn State wrestler to get bonus points and he got it through stall calls. After Ruth wrestled his way to a 7-1 second period lead he worked his way toward backpoints. Lofthouse laid on the mat to end the second period, got a stall warning and started the third on bottom. Ruth couldn’t turn Lofthouse but got two more points off of stall warnings. Those points plus the bonus point for over 3 minutes of riding time gave Ruth the 10-1 major.
Quentin Wright came out of the gate looking for a big throw and a pin. The Hawkeyes knew that was going to be the case so Vinnie Wagner stayed away from the upper body throws. Q tried everything, including an elevator after Wagner got in on a single, but could not get the throw and 6 points. With a small 3-1 lead after a 3rd period escape for Wagner, Wright switched to leg work and added two more takedowns for the 8-2 final. If Q had started out that way he probably gets a major but he was going for the 6 team points to take the pressure off McIntosh and Wade.
Probably the best match for a Penn State wrestler was that of Morgan McIntosh. McIntosh faced Grant Gambrall who is not currently ranked at 197, but finished 3rd at 184 last season and beat Quentin Wright in the dual last year. Gambrall is no slouch and got the bouts first takedown. But McIntosh worked his way to a reversal and tied the match after the 1st. Two escapes later and the match went into sudden victory overtime tied 3-3. Morgan countered two Gambrall shot attempts converting the second into the bout ending takedown. Morgan’s victory put the dual out of reach for Iowa.
Cameron Wade only beat Blake Raising by a 4-0 score but Cam dominated the match. More importantly, Wade had an early takedown with a quick double leg shot in the first. Cam’s matches usually end up like two lumbering bears battling over a pile of day-old donuts but it was great to see him shoot early. Cam has the ability and quickness to get leg takedowns but doesn’t often try. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
I usually focus my reviews on Penn State and not the opponent but this match was different. Iowa’s strategy was painfully obvious, they went for bonus in the first three matches and then tried to keep the rest close and hopefully win a couple of the close ones. The bad thing is, they didn’t keep it close by wrestling smart and taking calculated shots, they kept it close by stalling and staying away from Penn State’s strengths. It turned what should have been an exciting match into a boring snoozefest. It’s that kind of wrestling that many in the sport want to eliminate. You can wrestle at the edge of the mat and stall to keep a match close or you can wrestle like Bryan Pearsall; take smart shots and remain aggressive even though you are out-manned. The latter is far more entertaining than the former.
Frank Martellotti is not back to where he was a year ago when he left the lineup for academic reasons. That match was arguably his worst in a Penn State singlet. He needed to keep things close and he did the worst thing possible: get pinned. Not only that, but his shots were not crisp and were easily countered by Ramos. I didn’t expect Frank to win but I expected better than that. There’s still a lot of time before now and the Big Ten’s, hopefully Frank can get back on track.
It was a great win for Penn State and sets up a really tough dual with Ohio State next Sunday. The Buckeyes are young but will be a tough out for Penn State. The dual next weekend sets up pretty much like the Iowa dual with OSU’s strengths at weights where Penn State isn’t ranked. With their win over Iowa, tOSU will come to Rec Hall with a lot of confidence. It’s sold out and should be a good one.