Our annual rite of wrestling season, the Nittany Lion Open, was held this past Sunday in glorious Rec Hall. Penn State predictably dominated the tournament, with 10 finalists and 5 champions. Let's run down the action. You can take a look at the brackets yourself right here.
Our man Nico Megaludis breezed through his half of the bracket, with a pin, 2 majors and an 8-1 decision to make the finals. There he faced Pitt's red-shirting junior Anthony Zanetta. Nico won a close decision against Zanetta in last year's dual meet. This time it was Zanetta pulling out a hard fought 3-2 win over Nico.
Penn State entered Frank Martellotti, Jordan Conaway and Jimmy Gulibon in this bracket. The bracket was littered with former PA prep standouts - like Nicky Roberts (Ohio State), Mason Beckman (Lehigh), Joe Waltko (Clarion), Corey Bush (Pitt), Zach Horan (Central Mich), and Cody Wheeler (Lock Haven). That's somewhere around 10 PIAA State titles. You also saw Johnni DiJulius of Ohio State, Geoff Alexander (Maryland) and Erik Galloway (Buffalo). So relatively speaking, this weight class was stacked.
Jordan Conaway went 2-2 overall and did not place, losing to Joe Ward of North Carolina in the second round, and Speno of NC State in the wrestle backs. Frankie Martellotti beat DiJulius for 3rd place, 9-6, after losing to teammate Gulibon in the semi-finals. And Jimmy had a 15-0 tech fall, an 8-6 sudden victory over Cornell's Mark Grey, an 11-6 decision over Horan, and a 7-2 decision over Frankie before dropping 2-3 decision to Beckman in the final - his second loss to Beckman this season.
Bryan Pearsall and Seth Beitz both won their first two matches before falling in the 3rd round (lots o' rounds before the quarterfinals when 50+ wrestlers enter). Pearsall dropped a 9-12 decision to William Switzer of Lehigh, and Beitz lost a 2-4 decision to a Mongolian wrestling for The Citadel. Pearsall and Beitz faced each other for 7th/8th in the wrestlebacks, with Beitz coming out on top (though I'm not sure they actually wrestled). Your champ at this weight was VaTech's Devin Gardner.
Welcome back Andrew Alton. Here is Andrew's match rundown: Fall (5:41), Fall (0:44), Fall (0:43), 13-5 major, Fall (1:36), and Fall (2:12). Jim English finished 3rd, losing a sudden victory overtime decision in the semi-finals. Luke Frey finished 5th, after dropping his quarterfinal match to English. Seth Beitz went 2-2.
Andrew Alton lost a sudden victory decision to Clarion's James Fleming, 4-9. Along the way he beat former Penn Stater Jake Kemerer (now of Lock Haven) in the semi-finals, by a completely fitting 3-1 score. Jim Vollrath lost the 5th place match to Rutgers' perennial almost All-American, Scott Winston.
Here's a shocker: David Taylor's closest match was a 23-6 tech fall. Nick Fischer dropped the 5th place match to Nijel Jones of NC State, 2-11.
Matt Brown defeated Turtog%$*kh Luvsandorj of The Citadel in the semis, 9-0. Then finished off Greg Zanetti of Rutgers in the final, 7-4.
In another shocker, Ed Ruth won. He cruised to the final, where he beat Maryland's top-10 Jimmy Sheptock 11-4. Moving right along....
Redshirting Morgan McIntosh beat Maryland's top-5 Christian Boley in the semi-finals 8-2. But Morg dropped the final to Quentin Wright 5-2. Q pinned everyone else he faced except for Cornell's George, whom he decisioned in the semis 6-1.
NC State's Nick Gwiazdowski kept Cameron Wade off the podium in last year's NCAA tournament. And this year he pinned PSU's Jon Gingrich in the semi-finals, and majored Jimmy Lawson in the final 12-1. Gingrich finished 3rd.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Not a lot. 133, 141 and 285 are still question marks as we make our way to the January 1st Southern Scuffle. Nico and Dylan still need a little more offense against the elite competition. And not many other squads are going to score many points against Penn State from 165 - 197. Oh - and Andrew Alton can still pin anyone he faces, and definitely will try to do so.
The Lions open the Big Ten dual season with a December 9th home dual against an Indiana squad that has zero chance of pulling an upset. Let's see who Cael runs out at 133 and 285 - particularly at 285, with the Hoosiers' heavyweight Chalfant a threat for the podium in March.
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