MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the guidance of head coach Cael Sanderson, was upset 18-17 by No. 3 Minnesota in the Big Ten dual finale for both teams. Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) took down previously unbeaten and top-ranked Scott Schiller at 197 in the dual's marquee match-up as each team won five bouts with the Gophers winning the dual on bonus points.
All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, opened up the dual with a dominating 19-5 major decision over Jordan Kingsley. Minnesota got on the board next when No. 8 David Thorn posted a hard-fought 2-0 win over No. 16 Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), cutting Penn State's lead to 4-3. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally, stayed unbeaten by dominating No. 6 Chris Dardanes 4-0 with 2:35 in riding time.
At 149, Zack Beitz nearly upset No. 3 Nick Dardanes, dropping a thrilling 6-4 (SV2) decision. Beitz got called for a contested fleeing call that was upheld upon review in the third period, sending the bout into extra time. Dardanes connected on a takedown with just :04 left in the second sudden victory period to grab the win. Minnesota took the lead at the break when No. 8 Dylan Ness of Minnesota pinned No. 4 Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) at the 5:57 mark, giving the Gophers a 12-7 lead at the break.
Top-ranked David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) dominated Danny Zilverberg for a 13-3 major to pull Penn State to within one point, 12-11. Minnesota, however, picked up an upset win at 174 when No. 6 Logan Storley downed No. 3 Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), 8-4. All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 184, beat No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus 7-1 to bring Penn State back to within a point, 15-14.
McIntosh then dominated previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Schiller at 197, notching three takedowns and a reversal to roll to an 8-4 win, putting Penn State up 17-15 with one bout remaining. Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) battled No. 5 Tony Nelson tough but the defending national champion posted the 5-0 win and sent Penn State to its first dual meet loss of the year, 18-17.
The Nittany Lions 7-1 dual meet record gives Penn State a share of its second Big Ten dual title in the last three years, sharing the crown with at least two other teams. The seven wins also ties a Penn State record for Big Ten dual wins in a season. Penn State owned a slim 12-8 edge in the takedown battle as well. The five-five dual meet split was broken as Minnesota got three bonus points to Penn State's two.
Taylor stays unbeaten with a 24-0 mark, including 11 pins, seven tech falls and six majors. He is 124-3 for his career, seventh all-time at Penn State. He closes out his Big Ten dual meet career unbeaten, going 32-0 over four seasons. He is currently 53-0 all-time against Big Ten competition. Ruth moves to 23-1 on the season with eight pins, eight tech falls and six majors. He is 125-3 all-time, tied for fifth on Penn State's all-time wins list. Ruth also finishes his Big Ten career unbeaten in dual meets, going 32-0 over four seasons. He is 54-0 all-time against Big Ten competition.
Megaludis improves to 21-2 on the year with one pin, four tech falls and nine majors. Retherford remains unbeaten on the year with a 24-0 mark, including four pins, two tech falls and seven majors. McIntosh improves to 23-2 on the year with four pins and ten majors. Brown falls to 23-2 with six pins, four tech falls and seven majors. Alton is now 15-1 on the year.
Penn State is now 13-1 on the year overall and ends the Big Ten dual meet season with a 7-1 mark. The Nittany Lions claimed a share of their second Big Ten dual meet crown in the last three years. Minnesota is now 10-1 overall and ends its Big Ten season with a 7-1 mark to share the conference title with Penn State and at least one other team. Penn State will host Oklahoma State in already sold-out Rec Hall next Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m.
--Penn State Athletic Communications