UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 nationally, blazed past No. 14 Northwestern in front of the 16th-straight home sellout for Penn State. Penn State won eight of ten bouts for the second time in three days and posted the 39-8 Big Ten dual win over the visiting Wildcats.
The dual started at 125 where Nittany Lion All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, put on a takedown clinic on his way to a 23-6 technical fall over Northwestern's Garrison White. Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 15 nationally, then picked up his first Rec Hall dual meet win at 133, posting a convincing 8-2 victory over NU's Dominick Malone. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), unbeaten and ranked No. 2 at 141, then posted an 11-2 major over NU junior Pat Greco.
Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) nearly upset No. 4 Jason Tsirtsis at 149, but the ranked Wildcat was able to post the 5-3 sudden victory decision. Senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) then pinned Northwestern's Ben Sullivan at the 4:01 mark to send Penn State into the halftime break up 18-3.
Senior All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), unbeaten and ranked No. 1 at 165, rolled through No. 9 Pierce Harger, posting the 17-2 technical fall at the 4:45 mark. Junior All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, then downed No. 9 Lee Munster. Brown was up 10-1 at the 3:56 mark before Munster had to take an injury default. Senior All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally at 184, pinned Northwestern's Jacob Berkowitz quickly, getting the fall at the 1:36 mark, giving the Nittany Lions a 35-3 lead.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 7 at 197, was impressive with a 17-8 major over No. 17 Alex Polizzi to put the Lions up 39-2 as Northwestern was deducted a team point for a second bench warning. In one of the dual's most anticipated match-ups, Nittany Lion junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 12 at 285, took on No. 4 Mike McMullan. McMullan used a quick move on the edge of the mat to take Lawson down with at the 2:44 mark when Lawson called for injury time. The Lion junior was not able to continue and McMullan got the injury default victory, making the final scored 39-8 Penn State.
The sell-out crowd of 6,393 was the 16th-straight home sell out for Penn State. Taylor improves to 20-0 on the year with 10 pins, six tech falls and four majors. He is 28-0 all-time in Big Ten duals and 49-0 all-time against Big Ten competition. His 120 career wins is 11th all-time (he is 120-3) at Penn State. Ruth moves to 19-1 with seven pins, seven tech falls and five majors. He is 28-0 all-time in Big Ten duals and 50-0 all-time against Big Ten competition. Ruth is 121-3 as a Penn Stater, tied for eighth all-time.
Retherford remains unbeaten with a 20-0 record, including three pins, two techs and six majors. Brown is 20-1 with six pins, two techs and six majors as well. Megaludis and McIntosh both improve to 19-2.
Penn State improves to 10-0 on the year, 4-0 in Big Ten action, while Northwestern falls to 6-4, 1-4 B1G. Penn State hosts No. 11 Illinois next Friday night, Jan. 24, in a 7 p.m. dual in sold out Rec Hall.
--Penn State Athletic Communications