PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Penn State created a buzz early in the 2010-11 season with some highlight-reel performances from a freshman-laden squad.

The first day of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships inside Wells Fargo Arena showed it was no fluke.

The Big Ten champion Nittany Lions lost just one match and totaled 20 points during the opening session and take a two-point lead into tonight’s action. Iowa (18), Cornell (16 ½), Wisconsin (15), Oklahoma State (14) and Minnesota (14) round out the top five.

PSU collected first-period pins by rookies Andrew Alton (141) and Ed Ruth (174) and major decisions by Frank Molinaro (149) and David Taylor, (157), another freshman.

Taylor (35-0) hammered Oklahoma State’s Neil Erisman 13-2.

Andrew Long (133), an NCAA runner-up a year ago, heavyweight Cameron Wade and Quentin Wright (184) also stayed in the championships bracket with decisions. Only 125-pounder Brad Patacky, who lost to Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett, failed to win on Thursday morning.

Iowa, the reigning NCAA champions, jumped off to a solid start with Matt McDonough’s pin at 125; a pair of wins by 133-pounder Tony Ramos and Grant Gambrall (184); and decisions by Montell Marion (149), Derek St. John (157), Ethen (174) and Luke (197) Lofthouse; and Blake Rasing (285).

The Hawkeyes’ Aaron Janssen lost a 4-2 decision to Virginia Tech’s Peter Yates at 165 pounds.

Cornell brought nine to Philadelphia. Seven won first-round matches including All-Americans Mike Grey (133), Kyle Dake (149), Mack Lewnes (174) and Cam Simaz (197). Steve Bosak, who had a technical at 184 pounds, was the lone Big Red entry with a bonus-point win.

Wisconsin went 6-1 with Trevor Brandvold picking up a first-period pin at 197 and Tyler Graff winning 19-6 at 133 pounds.

Oklahoma State qualified 10 and went 5-5 in Round 1 with sixth-seeded Dallas Bailey losing in overtime at 165 and ninth-seeded 125-pounder Jon Morrison falling 8-4 to Penn’s Mark Rappo. Jordan Oliver (133) and Clayton Foster (197) each had bonus-point victories.

Virginia Tech won six of seven to start the tournament.

The highest individual seed to fall in the first round was fourth-seeded heavyweight Dominic Russo of Rutgers, who dropped a 5-2 match to Arizona State’s Levi Cooper. The heavyweight bracket saw five of the 16 first-round bouts go to overtime. Sixth seeded Ryan Tomei of Pittsburgh fell in overtime to Kent State’s Brendan Barlow.

Tonight’s session features a number of tantalizing match-ups, including:

  • Cornell’s Grey meets talented Virginia Tech freshman Devin Carter at 133 pounds
  • Edinboro’s Torsten Gillespie, an All-American in 2010, gets Dake at 149 pounds
  • Cornell’s Justin Kerber (31-4) faces Rutgers’ Scott Winston (21-3) at 165 pounds
  • Oklahoma State’s Mike Benefiel (16-6) gets fifth-seeded Chris Henrich of Virginia, a two-time All-American who is 33-2, at 174
  • Penn State and Minnesota go head-to-head at 184 and 285 with Gopher rookie Kevin Steinhaus (31-9) up against PSU’s Wright (17-6) at 184 and UM’s Tony Nelson (30-6) meeting Wade (29-6) at heavyweight.

First Session News & Notes
• The 81st NCAA Wrestling Championships are being held in the state of Pennsylvania for the 13th time, but only the third time in five decades. The 1930 tournament was held in University Park, Pa. The state of Pennsylvania has produced 592 All-Americans all time with Oklahoma (526) and Iowa (457) in hot pursuit.

• Top-seeded Anthony Robles picked up his 23rd technical fall of the season with a 17-1 victory against Matt Snyder of Virginia. The senior is 32-0 entering tonight’s second round.

• There were 17 pins in the first session, the quickest by Ruth. The freshman 174-pounder locked up Liberty’s Royal Brettager with a cradle and scored a 24-second fall to move to 33-1.

• Two of the pins came from the neutral and/or defensive position. Lehigh’s Joey Napoli stacked Northwestern’s Andrew Nahir in a 149-pound bout with Wyoming’s Joe LeBlanc, just after Purdue’s AJ Kissel tied the bout in the final period, trapped Kissel on his back from underneath to end it at 6:41.

• Fourteen first-round matches needed overtime, including a match between two All-Americans. Oklahoma’s Zack Bailey beat Chattanooga’s Cody Cleveland 9-7 in sudden victory at 141 pounds.