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Wrestling Wroundup

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We're halfway through another glorious wrestling season. Let's take a look around.

[EDIT: this post was written Sunday - 4 days ago, before bveo, jtothep, swha, james, bman, ole Pete, Frank, and the rest of the BSD wrestling team wrote it all out in Galen's weekend recap. Damn servers? Oh well - let's read it again, because it's all good news.]

Stupid Statistics

  • Penn State's wrestled seven dual meets, including three against ranked opponents. They're 63 - 7 in those 70 matches, outscoring the opposition 279 - 21. That's an average score of 40 - 3.
  • They earned bonus points in 38 of those 70 matches.
  • Nico Megaludis leads the team with most takedowns, followed closely by David Taylor.
  • Taylor has the most tech falls, with 6. Redshirting freshman Jimmy Gulibon is second with 4.
  • Andrew Alton leads with most pinfalls - 10 - despite sitting out the Southern Scuffle. Taylor, Dylan Alton, and Quentin Wright are tied for second with 8.
  • Redshirting Morgan McIntosh leads the squad with 6 major decisions. Ed Ruth and Matt Brown are tied for second with 5.
  • Quentin Wright got his 100th career win with a first period pin of Wisconsin's #20 Jackson Hein. Nice job, Q.
  • Three of PSU's current starters - Wright, Taylor and Ruth - are top 10 in Penn State's All-Time Career Falls list. Taylor and Ruth are juniors. Sophomore Andrew Alton is a good bet to surpass all three of them.

Shorty Hitchcock Classic

While the travel squad went to West Lafayette, IN to put a whoopin' on Purdue, a group of wrestlers made the trip to Millersville to wrestle in the Shorty Hitchcock.

  • Andrew Alton placed 1st at 149lbs, with a 3-2 decision over Ohio State's Ian Paddock in the final.
  • Dylan Alton placed 1st at 157lbs, with a 4-2 decision over Bloomsburg's Bryce Busler. Busler had beaten Dylan in University Freestyle two years ago. They may have tangled in the PIAA finals three years ago - too lazy to look it up.
  • Nick Fischer placed 1st at 165lbs, with an 8-2 decision over Army's Chandler Smith.
  • Jimmy Lawson placed 1st at 285lbs, with a forfeit over Penn State's Nick Ruggear. Lawson beat Lock Haven's Jack Delia, and Chambersburg's Dawson Peck on his way to the finals.
  • Wes Phipps went 2-2 at 184lbs. Cam Kelly went 2-2 at 133lbs. Derek Reber went 2-2 at 141lbs. Rex Lutz went 2-2 at 165lbs. Scott Syrek went 1-2 at 197lbs.

Watching the Recruits

With just 9.9 NCAA-approved scholarships to offer, and a room chock full 'o studs, there can't be a lot of scholly cash to wave around at potential recruits. Even if the recruit didn't care about the scholly cash, he has to know he's signing up for one hell of a fight just to make the lineup. But instead of using those two excuses as....uh...excuses...a lot of top flight kids are taking it as a challenge.

  • Zain Retherford (Benton) is the nation's #1 recruit at 141lbs, and #3 at all weights. He won a PIAA state title as a sophomore, but wasn't allowed to compete last season after his transfer to Benton. He's been punishing his opponents for that all season. He placed first (again) at Super32's, and first (again) at Escape the Rock.
  • Matt McCutcheon (Kiski Area) is the nation's #1 recruit at 195lbs, and #23 overall. He's a returning PIAA state champ. You can catch a little interview with Matt at this link, where he mentions potentially dropping down to 182 by the end of the year.
  • Garrett Hammond (Chambersburg) comes in at #13 at 152lbs, and #79 overall. He's a returning PIAA state champ, and placed first (again) at Escape the Rock.
  • Cody Law (Forest Hills) placed 2nd in last year's PIAA's (2A) at 160lbs - his first year qualifying for states. He placed 5th at Super32's, is a Fargo All-American, and is exactly the kind of guy that you want in your room: all wrestling, all the time.
  • PJ Steinmetz (CR South) finished 3rd at States last year at 195lbs, with his lone loss coming in the semis against Perry Hills - Maryland's current QB. Steinmetz finished 3rd at last year's Escape the Rock, but took home gold in his last go round.
  • Of course, it doesn't hurt to have guys that are interested in school. Devon Bentley (Trinity) is a coach's son, and has yet to qualify for PIAA's (that'll get remedied this year). What attracted him to PSU? Smeal College of Business for the win.
  • And 2014 is just around the corner. It's never too early to lock up a commitment from a guy like Thomas Haines (Solanco). He's going for his 3rd PIAA state title this season - as a junior. But just a quick look at a little video and you can see why - athleticism. Haines, unlike most of the guys in this list, is relatively new to wrestling - meaning, he hasn't been rolling around the mats since age 5. To be ranked #3 in the nation at 220lbs, as a junior, with only a few years of wrestling under his belt - wow.

So....yeah. It's pretty cool to see slightly less heralded studs like Law, Steinmetz and Hammond still making their ways to State College, along with the blue chippers like Retherford and McCutcheon, despite the tight 9.9 scholarship restriction. It can't hurt the Sandersons' pitch to point out a guy like Bryan Pearsall, who never placed at PIAA's, but has worked his tail off over the last 5 years and is probably going to end up ranked and qualify for NCAA's. Or, that he starts ahead of a guy like Luke Frey who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd all 4 years of high school. The best guy gets the spot, pedigree be damned.

That Penn State room is getting awfully, awfully deep. It's another pretty cool thing when "backups" like English, Vollrath, Gulibon and Luke Frey all place at the Southern Scuffle. Zach Beitz probably places as well, if the coaches don't pull him out for medical. And only two guys - Pearsall and Quentin Wright - are graduating seniors, from the current squad? If you've been a Penn State wrestling fan for more than two seasons, this program's becoming exactly what you've always thought it could be.

Good times, fellas. Good times.

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