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Penn State Wins Fourth Straight Southern Scuffle

The Penn State wrestling team scored 189 points with two individual champions to win their 4th straight Southern Scuffle


Penn State has a simple recipe for success over the last 4 seasons: win the Southern Scuffle, and then win the National Title.  If that recipe holds true, then Penn State is on their way to their 4th straight title--because they ran away with the Scuffle, out pacing Minnesota and Oklahoma State.  At the beginning of day 2 it looked like Minnesota was going to be the only challenger, but the Gophers took it on the chin in the semifinals and fell off the radar, eventually falling to 3rd.  Penn State only crowned 2 individual champs but it was a balanced team effort that won  it for the Lions.


1: Penn State - 189.0

2: Oklahoma State - 164.5

3: Minnesota - 161.0

4: Cornell - 114.5

5: Missouri - 102.5

(Listings courtesy of GoPSUSports.)

125: #2 Nico Megaludis (No. 2 seed):
1st Round: W, 14-2 maj. dec. Alfredo Gray, Kent State
2nd Round: W, 10-4 dec. Zach Synon, Missouri
3rd Round: W, 12-3 maj. dec. Jordan Kingsley, Minnesota
Qtrs: W, 12-4 maj. dec. #12 Evan Silver, Stanford
Semis: W, 7-2 dec. #6 Josh Martinez, Air Force
Finals: L, 4-6 dec. #1 Nashon Garrett, Cornell
5-1 overall - 2nd Place

I know Nico will be disappointed he lost to Nashon Garrett, but considering he beat two ranked wrestlers and only lost to Garrett by 2, it was a pretty successful tournament by anyone's standards.  To his credit, Garrett came out and pushed the action from the start.  He out-Nicoed Nico.  I'm sure if these two clash later in the year, Nico will be ready.  I really think 125 could be won by several guys this season and Nico is definitely one of them.

133: #17 Jimmy Gulibon (No. 7 seed):
1st Round: W, 2-1 dec. Nick Zanetta, Pittsburgh
2nd Round: W, 6-1 dec. Troy Heilmann, North Carolina
3rd Round: W, 5-4 dec. Joe Martinez, Virginia
Qtrs: W, 2-1 dec. #5 Ryan Mango, Stanford
Semis: W, 4-3 dec. #10 David Thorn, Minnesota
Finals: L, 0-4 dec. #1 Jon Morrison, Oklahoma State
5-1 overall - 2nd Place

Without a doubt the best tournament of any Penn Stater was Jimmy Gulibon's.  It appears Jimmy has moved to the next level, as he not only beat two ranked wrestlers (including No 5 Ryan Mango of Stanford), but he also beat veteran David Thorn of Minnesota and Nick Zanetta of Pitt.  That's an impressive list of scalps, especially for a redshirt freshman.  Gulibon is still having trouble getting out from bottom but he's getting better and he can go toe to toe with the top guys.

Jorden Conaway also wrestled, beating #12 Shelton Mack of Pitt and #18 Mack McGuire of Kent State but lost to Thorn and #11 Joe Roth of CMU twice to take 6th place.

141: #2 Zain Retherford (No. 2 seed):
1st Round: bye
2nd Round: W, 14-4 maj. dec. Mike Carlone, Cleveland State
3rd Round: WBF over Joey Moon, North Carolina (2:30)
Qtrs: W, 2-0 dec. #11 Zach Horan, Central Michigan
Semis: W, 2-0 dec. #7 Chris Mecate, Old Dominion 
Finals: W, 6-4 (sv) #19 Joe Spisak, Virginia
5-0 overall - CHAMPION

Z-pain had a good tournament, facing three ranked wrestlers and beating them all on his way to an individual championship.  His championship bout was particularly interesting; Retherford gave up a late takedown but managed to make it to sudden victory overtime on riding time (big surprise).  In sudden victory, Zain wasted little time, notching the winning points on a strong double leg takedown.  He also collected bonus early on with a major and a pin.

149: Luke Frey (No. 10 seed):
1st Round: L, 2-6 dec. Alexander Richardson, Old Dominion
Con 2: WBF over Beau Roberts, Northern Colorado (3:38)
Con 3: W, 9-1 maj. dec. Raymond Borja, Navy
Con 4: W, forfeit over Scott Mattingly, Central Michigan
Con 5: W, 8-0 maj. dec. Luke Goettl, Iowa State
Con 6: W, 2-0 dec. Zack Beitz, Penn State
Con Qtrs: L, 3-5 dec. #9 Scott Sakaguchi, Oregon State
7th: L, inj. def. Alexander Richardson, Old Dominion
5-3 overall - 8th Place

With both Altons still out, Penn State sent Luke Frey and Zack Beitz at 149.  Beitz upset Sakaguchi early but went 2-2 and did not place.  Frey lost his first match but won 5 straight before losing to the same Sakaguchi in the consolation quarters and finished 8th.

157: James Vollrath (No. 9 seed):
1st Round: W, 13-5 maj. dec. Andrew Romanchik, Ohio
2nd Round: W, 8-6 (sv) dec. Mitchell Polkowski, Northern Colorado
3rd Round: L, 1-2 dec. Luke Smith, Central Michigan
Con 4: L, 4-7 dec. Immanuel Kerr-Brown, Duke
2-2 overall - DNP

This was not a memorable tournament for James Vollrath.  After winning 2 in a row (including a sudden victory decision), Vollrath lost 2 to unranked wrestlers to end his tournament.  We've seen much stronger showings from James, and I'm sure he's disappointed.  I know this will be Alton's position in a week but this was a real opportunity for Vollrath.

165: #1 David Taylor (No. 1 seed):
1st Round: bye
2nd Round: W, 21-5 tech fall Mitchell Wightman, Boston (TF; 5:24)
3rd Round: WBF over Jesse Stafford, Air Force (1:47)
Qtrs: W, 17-6 maj. dec. #15 Dylan Palacio, Cornell
Semis: WBF over #9 Zach Toal, Missouri (4:59)
Finals: W, 9-1 maj. dec. #2 Tyler Caldwell, Oklahoma State
5-0 overall -- CHAMPION

David Taylor can score in bunches so fast that PSU golden voice Jeff Byers has a hard time keeping up with him.  Taylor went 5-0 in winning 165, including 2 falls and a tech fall.  Don't let the major decision in the quarters fool you; Palacio wanted nothing to do with Taylor.  He spent the entire match stalling, trying his hardest to just lose by major.  It sounded like Taylor was getting extremely frustrated with him.  It was good to see Tyler Caldwell again; last season I thought he would give Taylor a match.  There's your answer in the form of a 9-1 major that wasn't as close as the score looks.

174: #3 Matt Brown (No. 2 seed):
1st Round: W, Forfeit Carsten Kopp, Campbell
2nd Round: WBF over Joey Krulock, Bucknell (3:40)
3rd Round: W, 12-3 maj. dec. Scott Marmoll, North Carolina
Qtrs: WBF over Joe Latham, Oregon State (4:25)
Semis: W, 3-2 dec. #5 Logan Storley, Minnesota
Finals: L, 0-4 dec. #2 Chris Perry, Oklahoma State
5-1 overall - 2nd Place

Matt Brown did pretty much what we expected of him, finishing 2nd including a win over Storley of Minnesota.  In the finals, a rematch of last year's NCAA finals, Brown was just a step slower than Perry of Okie State.  Brown might have to polish his work from the down position; Perry is a tough customer.   The NCAAs will be very interesting at this weight.

184: #1 Ed Ruth (No. 1 seed)
1st Round: bye
2nd Round: WBF over Ben Schwery, South Dakota (5:30)
3rd Round: WBF over Ryan Garringer, Ohio (2:51)
Qtrs: WBF over #15 Sam Wheeler, Kent State (1:07)
Semis: W, 22-7 tech fall #12 Lorenzo Thomas, Penn (TF; 6:46)
Finals: L, 4-7 dec. #7 Gabe Dean, Cornell
4-1 overall - 2nd Place

Ed Ruth lost. Wait--did I just type that?!?!  Those three words don't make sense together; my brain can't comprehend that sentence.  Ruth lost to Gabe Dean of Cornell, a redshirt freshman no less.  You have to tip your hat to the young Dean--but what just happened?   Let's just leave it at this: I'm glad it happened in the scuffle and NOT in the NCAA's.  Hopefully this is a warning to Ruth and he'll come back refocused.

197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (No. 3 seed):
1st Round: bye
2nd Round: W, 12-3 maj. dec. Jackson Lewis, Central Michigan
3rd Round: W, 17-4 maj. dec. Jace Bennett, Cornell
Qtrs: L, 0-2 dec. #14 J'Den Cox, Missouri
Con 6: W, med. forf. #13 Phillip Wellington, Ohio
Con Qtrs: W, inj. def. #12 Brandon Palik, Drexel
Con Semis: W, 2-1 (TB) dec. #16 Nick Bonaccorsi, Pittsburgh
3rd: L, 2-8 dec. #14 J'Den Cox, Missouri
5-2 overall - 4th Place

I thought McIntosh's inconsistent wrestling was a thing of the past, but I guess not.  Morgan lost to two guys ranked significantly below him and failed to make his seed.  He showed signs of a strong offense, but scoring a total of 2 points in two loses doesn't look good.   I'm not so sure he would have finished 4th if not for a medical forfeit and an injury default.

285: #12 Jimmy Lawson (No. 4 seed):
1st Round: bye
2nd Round: W, 3-2 dec. Justin Heberlie, Missouri
3rd Round: W, 4-1 dec. Matt Tourdot, Old Dominion
Qtrs: W, 3-2 (TB2; RT) dec. #15 Austin Marsden, Oklahoma State
Semis: L, 1-3 dec. #1 Tony Nelson, Minnesota
Con Semis: W, 2-1 dec. John Gingrich, Penn State
3rd: W, med. forf. #11 Jeremy Johnson, Ohio
5-1 overall - 3rd place

It was a good tournament for Jimmy Lawson; he finished above his seed, beat a ranked wrestler in a ride out (11 seconds of riding time advantage), and closed the gap between he and Tony Nelson.  Nelson is a tough nut to crack, especially on top.  If Lawson can get to the podium this March, I like Penn State's chances of four-peating (we need to come up with something catchy for that). John Gingrich also wrestled well finishing 6th and losing a tough 1-point consy semi to teammate Lawson.

Next Up: Penn State hosts Purdue next Sunday January 12.