Penn State takes Southern Scuffle
Lions’ Taylor wins event, named most outstanding wrestler
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Penn State stormed through the finals of the 2012 Southern Scuffle, crowning four champions and winning the team title ahead of No. 3 Minnesota by 14 points. Penn State won the title with 191.5 points while Minnesota was second with 177.5. The Nittany Lions entered day two with a slim 7.5 point lead ahead of the Gophers and used a superb 6-3 run in the semifinals and a 4-2 showing in the finals to claim the crown.
The morning’s semifinal fireworks led way to Penn State crowning four individual champions and getting the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award, given to All-American David Taylor for his 165-pound title. Joining Taylor as titlists were All-American Frank Molinaro at 149 pounds, All-American Ed Ruth at 174 pounds and All-American Quentin Wright at 184 pounds.
In the morning’s semifinals, Penn State sent nine grapplers into action at seven weights and came away with six finalists in five weights. Three-time All-American Molinaro, ranked No. 1 at 149 pounds, downed No. 20 Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State 4-0; No. 10 Dylan Alton beat Corey Mock of North Carolina 4-1 at 157; teammate James Vollrath dropped a tough 6-0 decision to No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell at 157; Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165 pounds, downed No. 20 Kyle Blevins to the tune of a 12-3 major; Ruth, ranked No. 2 at 174 pounds, beat Patrick Wright of Illinois 10-1; teammate Matt Brown downed No. 11 Logan Storley in the other semifinal at 174 pounds, 7-5, to set up a meeting with teammate Ruth in the finals; Wright, ranked No. 5 at 184 pounds, beat No. 15 Luke Rebertus of Navy 7-3; true freshman Morgan McIntosh, ranked No. 11 at 197, lost 12-5 to No. 1 Cam Simaz of Cornell; and senior Cameron Wade, ranked No. 8 at 258, lost a close 4-3 decision to No. 4 Clayton Jack of Oregon State.
The blistering run through the semifinals set up five championship finals matches featuring six Nittany Lions. For Penn State the championship finals began at 149 pounds where No. 1 Molinaro met No. 11 Dylan Ness of Minnesota. Molinaro scored big for Penn State with a dominating 9-1 major against Ness. Molinaro won his first Scuffle title with a 5-0 mark with two techs and a major. Redshirt freshman Alton, ranked No. 10, met No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell in the finals at 157 pounds. Alton battled the two-time NCAA champ tough before dropping a 3-0 decision to take second place in his first Scuffle. Alton went 4-1 with two pins and a major.
Top-ranked Taylor took on No. 10 Cody Yohn of Minnesota in the finals at 165 pounds. Already owning a tech fall against the 10th-ranked Gopher, Taylor did it one better this time with a team-title clinching pin in the first period (2:36). Taylor, who claimed his second Scuffle crown, went 5-0 with three pins, a tech and a major. At 174 pounds, the all-Penn State final pitted No. 2 Ruth against teammate Brown. In a spirited battle, Ruth downed his talented teammate, posting a 6-3 decision. Ruth’s win gave him his second consecutive Scuffle title and he went 6-0 with three pins, a tech and a major. No. 5 Wright met No. 4 Steve Bosak of Cornell in the title bout at 184 pounds and put the exclamation point on the team title by dominating the fourth-ranked Bosak to the tune of a 10-3 win. Wright claimed his first Scuffle title with the victory as he went 5-0 with three pins.
Penn State had 11-place winners at the event. True freshman Nico Megaludis opened up the day in consolation action at 125 and rolled three consecutive wins to advance to the third place bout at 125. Megaludis downed No. 7 Matt Snyder of Virginia in the conso semis to advance to the bronze medal bout. In the third place bout, the Lion freshman lost another close decision to No. 7 Perrelli of Cornell, this one by a 6-4 score. He ended the tournament with a 5-2 record for fourth place. Vollrath dropped a tough 3-2 (OT) decision to Chattanooga’s Daniel Waddell in the conso semis before moving to the fifth place bout. Vollrath ended the tournament with a tough 4-1 loss to Mock of UNC and placed sixth with a 3-3 mark.
McIntosh had a 5-4 win taken from him when a last second reversal was waved off when clock operator was asked by the official and overruled the officials call, sending him to a 4-3 loss to No. 4 Matt Powless of Indiana. He then lost in the fifth place bout and ended the day with a 3-3 mark and with a sixth place finish. Wade rebounded from his close loss to Jack by picking up a key pin at the 1:34 mark against No. 5 Jeremy Johnson of Ohio in the consolation semifinal. He finished the day an upset loss in the third place match and went 4-2 to take fourth place. Red-shirt freshman Jon Gingrich was in the heavyweight consolation bracket for Penn State and won his first match, clinching a place. Gingrich ended the day with two losses in consolations but still took eighth place with a 4-3 record.
Junior Bryan Pearsall was in action in consolations at 141 and dropped his first match of the day to No. 15 Michael Nevinger of Cornell. The loss eliminated Pearsall with a 3-2 mark.
Yesterday, Penn State had three wrestlers eliminated but still picked up important wins from them. Redshirt freshman Seth Beitz had a solid showing at 141, going 3-2 before being eliminated. Junior Nick Fischer posted a 2-2 mark at 165 before being eliminated. At 133 pounds, Nittany Lion junior Derek Reber went 0-2 one day one.
Penn State posted a superb 56-23 overall mark among its 15 wrestlers, collecting 18 pins, nine tech falls and 11 majors along the way. Thirty-eight of Penn State’s 56 wins were of the bonus point variety.