PSU Wrestling Still in 1st Place After 2 Days at NCAA's

Published 03/22 2014 12:02AM

Updated 03/22 2014 12:06AM

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will have two veteran leaders in the championship finals at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championship. Seniors David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) will both seek NCAA titles in the National Finals tomorrow night. Penn State, under the guidance of head coach Cael Sanderson, sits in first place after two full days of the three-day event.  The Nittany Lions have 91.0 points while second place Minnesota has 90.5 and third place Oklahoma State has 87.5.
Penn State also welcomed three more All-Americans to the fold, upping its tournament total to seven.  Senior James English and sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) became first-time All-Americans while junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) earned his second All-America laurel.
Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 1 seed at 165, became a rare four-time NCAA finalist with a resounding 13-5 major decision over No. 4 Steven Monk of North Dakota State.  Taylor broke open the match early, using two takedowns and two near fall points to lead 6-4 after the opening period.  Monk chose top to start the second stanza but Taylor was undaunted, quickly reversing Monk to lead 8-4.  Taylor then rode Monk out to build up over 2:00 in riding time to carry that lead into the third period.  Taylor, looking for bonus points for the Nittany Lions, then controlled the third period as well.  He collected two takedowns and ended the match with 4:11 in riding time to post the 13-5 major decision and move into tomorrow night’s national semifinals against No. 2 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State.
Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 184, met No. 3 seed Gabe Dean of Cornell in the national semifinals.  Ruth, who pinned Dean earlier in the year but suffered an upset loss to him in the finals of the Southern Scuffle in January, quickly took the Big Red grappler down in the first period to lead 2-1 early.  The duo traded shots for the remainder of the period and the Lion senior led by one after one.  Dean chose down to start the second stanza but Ruth had the answer, dominating the action from the top position and riding Dean out to lead 2-1 after two.  The Nittany Lion chose down to start the third and escaped to a 4-1 lead with a clinched riding time point.  Dean countered a Ruth shot late for a takedown, but the story was written as a Ruth escape and riding time gave the Nittany Lion a 5-3 decision.  The win moves Ruth into tomorrow’s national finals against top seed Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland.  Ruth is looking to become Penn State’s first-ever three-time national champion.
Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 125, took on No. 2 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell as Penn State’s first national semifinalist of the night.  Garrett scored quickly, notching a takedown in the first :20 to open up a 2-1 lead.  That score carried into the second period where Garrett chose down.  The Big Red grappler notched and escape and a takedown to mount a 5-1 lead heading into the final period, where Megaludis mounted a furious comeback.  The Lion junior, now a three-time All-American, chose down and escaped quickly to cut the lead to 5-2.  He then took Garrett down with under a minute to wrestle and cut him loose to a 6-4 score.  Megaludis then got in on a deep single leg and was scrambling for a tying takedown when Garrett fled the mat and got called for stalling.  But the Cornell defense was enough, coming at :11 and Garrett grabbed the hard fought 6-4 win.  Megaludis will continue action the placing bouts Saturday morning, looking to finish as high as third place.
True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 141, met No. 2 Logan Stieber in the semis at 141.  The Buckeye used two first period takedowns to open up a 4-1 lead after one period.  After taking neutral, Stieber took the Lion freshman down for a third time and opened up a 6-2 lead after Retherford worked for an escape.  The Nittany Lion freshman chose down to start the third period but Stieber was able to control the action from the top and build up over 2:00 in riding time.  Retherford escaped to a 6-3 score with under :10 and Stieber, with riding time, posted the 7-3 win.  The loss sends Retherford into tomorrow morning’s consolation semifinals, looking to finish as high as third place.
Senior James English (York, Pa.), unseeded at 149, became an All-American with a thrilling 6-4 (SV) win over No. 10 Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech in the round of 12.  The Nittany Lion senior, who received a sixth year of eligibility due to injury and still missed most of this season coming back from an early season injury, took down Neibert early in the first period for a 2-0 lead but was reversed and went to the second period tied 2-2.  English chose down to start the second period and Neibert controlled the action for most of the period. But English was able to reverse him in the final seconds and led 4-2 after two. Neibert chose down and escaped in the third and used the riding time point to send the match into sudden victory tied 4-4.  The duo battled evenly for :55 seconds of the extra period when English turned a low single into a standing cradle and notched the winning takedown with just :01 on the clock.  The victory made English Penn State’s 184th All-American.  A short time later in the consolation quarterfinals, English took on No. 8 David Habat of Edinboro.  English battled Habat tough, leading throughout the bout off a first period takedown.  But Habat turned English in the third period and got a fall at the 4:52 mark.  The loss sends English to the seventh-place match tomorrow morning.
Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 5 seed at 174, took on No. 16 Matt Miller of Navy in the round of 12 and rolled to a 10-6 victory to become a two-time All-American.  Brown notched takedowns in every period, leading 2-1 after one and 5-2 after two.  The duo traded scores in the third period.  Miller chose down and escaped to a 5-3 score and Brown quickly took him down to lead 7-3.  Looking for bonus points with the riding time clinched, Brown cut Miller loose to a 7-4 score.  He quickly took Miller down again but Miller managed a scrambling reversal.  Brown’s riding time point gave the Nittany Lion junior a 10-6 victory and made him Penn State’s sixth All-American of the year.  In the consolation quarters, Brown dominated Cal State-Bakersfield’s Bryce Hammond.  The two-time All-American rolled up early takedowns to control the bout and then rode his way to a 9-3 decision. Brown now moves into tomorrow’s consolation semifinals, looking to finish as high as third.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 197, rolled through Binghamton’s Cody Reed to become Penn State’s 185th All-American in his consolation round three match-up.  McIntosh scored early and often, opening up a 4-1 lead after one period and widening that throughout the bout.  McIntosh picked up five takedowns during the match.  The Lion sophomore added two escapes and the riding time point to post the important 13-4 major decision.  The win made McIntosh an All-American for the first time.  Later in the evening in the consolation quarters, McIntosh faced No. 5 seed Kyle Gadsen of Iowa State and dropped a tough 5-3 decision.  Gadsen used a first period takedown as the difference maker. The loss sends McIntosh into the seventh-place match tomorrow morning.
Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) all bowed out of the tournament in session three.  Gulibon went 1-2, Alton went 2-2 and Gingrich went 2-2.
Taylor and Ruth are making their final runs through the NCAA Championships, looking to cap off historic collegiate careers with NCAA titles.  Taylor is now 133-3 for his career.  He has 53 pins (tying Penn State’s all-time record), 42 techs and 30 majors, meaning 125 of his 133 wins are for bonus.  Taylor is 33-0 with 16 pins, eight techs and eight majors this year.  He also has 17 career wins in the NCAA tournament and 11 career pins at nationals.  Ruth is now 135-3 all-time at Penn State.  He has 46 pins, 25 techs and 33 majors, giving him 104 bonus victories in his 135 wins.  The Lion senior now has 20 career NCAA tourney wins, tops at Penn State and is 33-1 this year with 11 pins, nine techs and 10 majors.
Taylor and Ruth also became Penn State’s seventh and eighth four-time All-Americans today, joining Lion four timers Quentin Wright, Frank Molinaro, Phil Davis, Sanshiro Abe, Jim Martin and Greg Elinsky. Megaludis became a three-time All-American with his win, the 23rd all-time at Penn State.  Penn State’s seven All-Americans (Taylor, Ruth, Megaludis, Retherford, Brown, English and McIntosh) are the most at Penn State since 1992.
The Nittany Lions went 6-4 overall in session four and are now 30-13 overall.  Penn State has collected 22.0 bonus points off  seven majors, two techs and four pins. Penn State is looking to win its fourth straight NCAA title after claiming the crown in 2011 in Philadelphia, 2012 in St. Louis and the 2013 title last year in Des Moines.

--Penn State Athletic Communications

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