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Wrestling Wreport: the National Championship Primer

Ed Ruth is one of three Nittany Lions with the top seed (photo BSD/Galen)
Ed Ruth is one of three Nittany Lions with the top seed (photo BSD/Galen)

Win a share of the Big Ten regular season dual meet title: check. Defend the Big Ten conference championship: check. Defend the National Championship: pending. The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will head to St. Louis, Missouri to take part of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The three day event starts Thursday March 15 at noon and concludes with the Championship Finals Saturday at 6:30 PM. Penn State sends 9 of their 10 wrestlers with 7 seeded in the top ten. 3 wrestlers get the top seed; Frank Molinaro at 149, David Taylor at 165, and Ed Ruth at 174. Predictions and breakdowns after the jump.

125 Nico Megaludis 24-7 10
133 Frank Martellotti 8-9 UNSEEDED
149 Frank Molinaro 28-0 1
157 Dylan Alton 24-5 7
165 David Taylor 27-0 1
174 Ed Ruth 26-0 1
184 Quentin Wright 26-3 6
197 Morgan McIntosh 17-8 UNSEEDED
HWT Cameron Wade 26-4 6

125 Nico Megaludis (24-7)

Nico has a pretty decent draw for the 10th seed. Megatron will get unseeded Michael Martine of Wyoming in the first round. If he wins he’ll get a third rematch with Frank Perrelli of Cornell. Nico lost to Perrelli twice this season but closed the gap to 2 points after losing to him by 6 in the Southern Scuffle. If Nico can pull off the upset he would be in the quarterfinals most likely against Zach Sanders of Minnesota.

Reasonable expectation: All-American (8th or better)

133 Frank Martellotti (8-9)

The fact that Frank is here is no small victory for Penn State. Any points Frank can get will be bonus points for the Lions. He’ll have to do any damage in the wrestle backs because he gets top-seeded Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State to start. Martellotti does get one of two unseeded wrestlers in the first round of the wrestle backs but he’s already lost to one of them (Shelton Mac of Pitt).

Reasonable expectation: does not place

149 Frank Molinaro (28-0)

Frank starts off his quest for an individual championship with Chris Villalonga of Cornell, a wrestler Frank beat by 6 points in the Southern Scuffle. Jamal Parks is the 2nd seed and has a similar perfect 30-0 record. The Big Ten is not well represented in this weight class, after Molinaro there isn’t another Big Ten wrestler until No. 7 Dylan Ness of Minnesota. Frank’s wrestling his best right now and I don’t think anyone is going to get in his way of finally getting the elusive National Championship he’s been chasing for 4 years.

Reasonable expectation: National Champ

157 Dylan Alton (24-5)

Alton got a good draw and could go deep into the nationals. He starts off with Jake O`Hare of Columbia, an unseeded wrestler. A probable win will most likely set up a rematch with Anthony Jones of Michigan State, who Dylan beat twice both by a slim 1-point margin. The number 2 seed is Derek St. John of Iowa who Dylan would get if he makes it to the quarters. Alton lost to St John in sudden victory in the Big Ten’s but it’s a very winnable match for Alton. Dylan wouldn’t get top-seeded Kyle Dake of Cornell until the finals because he’s in the other bracket. Alton is setup to get a lot of points for Penn State.

Reasonable expectation: All-American (8th or better)

165 David Taylor (27-0)

David Taylor has lost one college match in his entire life and it was in the finals of last year’s tournament. That has been with him the entire season; he won’t let that happen again. The field at 165 isn’t that deep and there isn’t another wrestler with an unblemished record. Taylor starts off with two unseeded wrestlers, look for him to pile on the bonus points early. A quarterfinal match would most likely be Conrad Polz of Illinois or Robert Kokesh of Nebraska, wrestlers Taylor has both majored this year. Just for fun, try saying the 4th seeded wrestler in David’s bracket: Clarion’s Bekzod Abdurakhmono.

Reasonable expectation: National Champ

174 Ed Ruth (26-0)

The selection committee wised up and dropped the charade of seeding Ed Ruth anything but first. Sure Chris Perry (No. 2) of Oklahoma State and Nick Amuchastegui (No.3) of Stanford are both undefeated, but no one has been close to Ed this season. Ruth is on a mission and unless he slips up, should breeze through his bracket to the finals and a probable matchup against one of the previous two wrestlers mentioned. Ed will get two unseeded wrestlers to start and should be piling on the bonus just like teammate Taylor.

Reasonable expectation: National Champ

184 Quentin Wright (26-3)

The only returning champ for Penn State starts his defense seeded 6th. It’s not a bad draw, he’ll likely face Ben Bennett (No. 3) of Central Michigan in the quarterfinals before a rematch with Robert Hamlin (No. 2), a wrestler Wright lost to way back in December. If Q can get that far he’ll have a good chance to make it to the finals. Minnesota’s Kevin Steinhaus, a wrestler Quentin has lost to both last season and this one is in the other bracket, so Q won’t have to wrestle him unless it’s in the finals.

Reasonable expectation: Finals

197 Morgan McIntosh (17-8)

For an unseeded wrestler, McIntosh got a pretty good draw(are you seeing a trend here, PSU wrestlers made out well). Morgan starts off with fellow unseeded wrestler Taylor Meeks of Oregon State with the winner going on to face top-seeded Cam Simaz of Cornell. At the very least, an open-round victory would get Penn State some extra points, but like fellow true Freshman Nico Megaludis, McIntosh will have to do his damage in the wrestle-backs as well.

Reasonable expectation: a couple wins, just misses out on All-American status.

HWT Cameron Wade (26-4)

Cam starts his final push for All-American status with the sixth seed. Wade gets an unranked wrestler to start and Tucker Lane of Nebraska a wrestler Wade beat pretty bad in the dual. A win would put Wade in the quarterfinals, likely against Clayton Jack of Oregon State, who Wade lost to by one point in the Southern Scuffle. Wade could go pretty deep and get Penn State bonus points. I don’t think Cam will win the championship but I think he makes All-American.

Reasonable expectation: All-American (8th or better)


If Penn State can get the three top-seeded wrestlers to the finals I don’t think anyone will beat them. Molinaro, Taylor and Ruth are about the biggest locks to make the finals, and win individual championships. All three had disappointing championships last year and are hungry for a chance to redeem themselves. I wouldn’t count Quentin Wright out either, he didn’t have a good Big Ten championship but he can beat anybody in his weight class.


TV - the entire three-day, six session event, will be broadcast live by the ESPN family of Networks. The entire tournament will be seen on ESPN 3 with ESPN and ESPNU covering rounds as well. Both Friday sessions will air live on ESPNU, Saturday morning’s session will air live on ESPNU and the National Finals will air live on ESPN.

Thur.-Sat. 15-17 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships, St. Louis, Mo. ALL TIMES CENTRAL Coverage
Thursday 15th Session 1 -- 1st Round 11 a.m. ESPN 3
Thursday 15th Session 2 -- 2nd Round/Consolations 6:30 p.m. ESPN 3
Friday 16th Session 3 -- Quarterfinals/Consolations 10 a.m. ESPN U
Friday 16th Session 4 -- Semifinals/All-America Round 6 p.m. ESPN U
Saturday 17th Session 5 -- Medal Rounds 10 a.m. ESPN U
Saturday 17th Session 6 -- Championship Finals 6:30 p.m. ESPN

(ed. note: due to scheduling conflicts, I’ll be in sunny Jamaica during the championships. We’ll try to keep everyone up to date but coverage may be spotty. I should have internet access but it’s Jamaica and I’m not promising anything.)

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