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Wrestling Wreport: Penn State Shuts Out Rutgers

Penn State beats the Scarlet Knights 34-0

Points on the way!
Points on the way!

#1 Penn State 34, Rutgers 0

125: #2 Nico Megaludis PSU dec. Joe Langel RU, 8-2 3-0
133: #13 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Vincent Dellafave RU, 6-1 6-0
141: Bryan Pearsall PSU pinned Trevor Melde RU, WBF (2:40) 12-0
149: #12 Andrew Alton PSU dec. Ken Theobold RU, 11-7 15-0
157: #5 Dylan Alton PSU dec. Scott Winston RU, 10-3 18-0
165: #2 David Taylor PSU maj. dec. Nick Visicaro RU, 14-6 22-0
174: #7 Matt Brown PSU dec. #14 Greg Zannetti RU, 6-2 25-0
184: #1 Ed Ruth PSU dec. #10 Dan Rinaldi RU, 11-4 28-0
197: #2 Quentin Wright PSU dec. Dan Seidenberg RU, 7-4 31-0
285: #12 Jimmy Lawson PSU dec.(TB) Billy Smith RU, 3-2 (tb) 34-0

The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team traveled to New Brunswick on Sunday and shut out Rutgers 34-0 for their last dual meet of the season. It was Penn State’s 5th shutout win this season and it was coach Cael Sanderson’s 100th coaching victory. Now the team has two weeks to prepare for the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on March 9-10 in Champaign, Ill., hosted by the University of Illinoi.

125: #2 Nico Megaludis

Nico faced Joe Langel who represented a unique challenge due to his "funky" style. He didn't disappoint, Nico got the first takedown but after a quick Langel escape, he found it difficult to finish off any other shots in the first period. The period ended with Megatron clinging to a slim 2-1 lead. Nico's plan, though, was to wear Langel down and take care of him late and in the second Megaludis did just that. Nico rode Lengel for the entire period and punished him from the top position. When the 3rd started Lengel was noticeably tired and Nico took advantage. He got a quick takedown, cut Langel, and began working for the major. He added another takedown and a stall point but couldn't quite get the major. Nico finished with 2:45 in riding time and won 8-2.

133: #13 Jordan Conaway

Conaway faced Vincent Dellefave who came into the match with a 10-match win streak. It was a big bout for Jordan he needed the win going into the Big Ten's. Conaway pushed the action and got a late takedown with 22 seconds left and rode Dellefave to take an early lead at the end of the 1st. Conaway then built up over a minute or riding time before Dellefave was able to escape. Dellefave almost took Conaway down at the end of the 2nd but Jordan fought off the move. With just over a minute advantage Conaway started the 3rd on bottom needing to get up quick. He got the escape and had the riding time advantage but only by 2 seconds. Despite clinging to a 3-1 lead Conaway pushed the action and got a 3rd period takedown and rode Dellefave out to win 6-1 with almost 2 minutes of riding time advantage.

141: Bryan Pearsall

Bryan Pearsall and Trevor Melde entered the match knowing it was their last because they were both 5th-year seniors. Bryan got caught early by a Melde throw and gave up 2 back points. To make matters worse, Melde had a very good ride going and was putting it to Pearsall getting over a minute of riding time. But Pearsall steadily worked his way back to his base, got an opening and not only got the reversal but locked up a cradle and put Melde on his back. Pearsall took his time and flattened Melde for the pin at the 2:40 mark and sent Mr. Wrestling Jeff Byers into cardiac arrest.

149: #12 Andrew Alton

Alton took on true freshman Ken Theobold who was tasked with staying off his back. Alton almost caught Theobold on a throw but settled for a takedown. Andrew added two more takedowns and rode Theobold out to take a 6-2 1st period lead. Alton started on bottom, got a reversal and added another takedown to up his lead to 10-4 at the end of two. Then the 3rd period woes that have plagued Andrew for the better part of the year showed up again. Theobold started on bottom and got the escape but Alton had a 5 point lead and riding time. Alton was looking for the major and got in deep on a low shot but couldn't finish. After that it was all Theobold, the freshman got a late takedown and rode Alton out to take away his riding time advantage. Alton was content to let the clock run out and win 11-7. Alton won't be able to wrestle in the Big Ten's like he has the last month and a half and Penn State needs him at his best if they want to repeat as Big Ten champs.

157: #5 Dylan Alton

Dylan had a tough test in 5th-year senior Scott Winston who was returning from a shoulder injury which was heavily taped. Winston is a three-time NCAA qualifier so he's no slouch. The first ended with no scoring but Alton was in deep twice, once at the edge of the mat and he had Winston stacked on his back but the senior was able to force a stalemate without giving up the takedown. Alton started the 2nd on bottom, got out quickly, and notched a strong takedown. Dylan was able to ride Winston for the rest of the period to take a 3-0 lead with 1:01 in riding time advantage. Winston got the escape to start the third but Alton got a quick takedown and started to look for the major. He cut Winston and added two more takedowns to take a 9-3 lead. Dylan ran out of time though and just missed the major winning 10-3 with the riding time point (2:08 advantage).

165: #2 David Taylor

What you need to know about David Taylor's match: he won a major decision 14-6 with over 3 minutes of riding time. He also racked up 6 takedown but this was not the usual dominating performance we are accustomed to (yeah, yeah, I know 14-6 is pretty dominating). Taylor got sloppy in the 3rd and almost got caught on his back. He also came out slow and Viscario almost got the bout's first takedown but Taylor fought it off. I'm not sure if it was lack of focus or lack of competition, but Taylor just didn't wrestle sharp. I'm sure it's an isolated match and he'll work on the specifics in the next two weeks and be ready to go for the Big Ten's.

174: #7 Matt Brown

Matt Brown faced a tough 5th-year senior in Greg Zannetti who was ranked 10th. Brown got the bout's first takedown and took an early 2-1 lead after the 1st period. Brown chose bottom and quickly escaped to take a 3-0 lead. Zannetti got in on a good shot but Brown managed to fend off the attempt and got his own counter takedown. Zannetti escaped to a 5-1 deficit after 2 periods. Zannetti added a escape to start the third but time ran out and Brown held on to win 6-2 with over a minute of riding time advantage.

184: #1 Ed Ruth

Ed Ruth only managed a regular decision. I mention that because it's such a rare occurrence that we're not used to seeing it. Granted it was an 11-4 win and he built up 2:32 in riding time, but 10th-ranked Dan Rinaldi's plan was to A) stay away from the cradle, and B) minimize the damage. I know this because Ruth managed to force a stall penalty point in the 3rd period after getting to quick stall calls. Ed was going for the major but just ran out of time.

197: #2 Quentin Wright

Quentin's last dual meet of his Nittany Lion career didn't go as planned. Q was in complete control getting a takedown in the 1st and adding a reversal and takedown in the second, but he gave up a counter-takedown in the 3rd while going for the major. Still he walked off the mat a 7-4 winner with 1:04 in riding time and finished an undefeated senior season.

285: #12 Jimmy Lawson

Jimmy Lawson faced redshirt freshman Billy Smith who entered the match with a 26-5 record which had him on the verge of getting ranked. Smith was beaten 3-2 by Penn State's Gingrich in the Nittany Lion open earlier in this year so a win for Lawson was paramount if he wanted to secure the Heavyweight position for the Big Ten's. The match went as most Heavy's go, a lot of shaved-bear-like hugging and very little scoring. The two traded escapes and went into overtime tied 1-1. The sudden death period went uneventful and the match went to the tiebreaker periods. Smith managed to just get out with 17 seconds left of his period so Lawson had to get an escape to keep it tied in his period. It looked like Lawson was going to get rode out but with 6 seconds left got to his feet and in the same motion, freed himself and snapped down behind Smith for the reversal with 2 seconds left for the thrilling victory, securing Penn State's shut-out.

Looking Ahead

So it appears that Lawson will get the nod at Heavyweight unless Sanderson decides to have yet another wrestle-off between him and Gingrich but I doubt it. The two are very close but I think Lawson has a much higher ceiling and getting him post-season experience will be critical for his future. Besides that, every thing is decided and the team gets two weeks to hone their skills and work on the little things that turn good wrestlers into champions. I think it's clear for some wrestlers what they have to work on, for others it's just repetition, repetition, repetition. The Big Ten Championship will probably be more difficult for Penn State to defend than the National Championship, these guys know each other well.

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