No. 1 Penn State muscles to third consecutive Southern Scuffle crown
No. 1 Penn State used a team effort to claim its third consecutive Southern Scuffle crown. Penn State ran away from second place No. 2 Oklahoma State, posting 178.5 points to 158.0 for the Cowboys. No. 3 Minnesota and No. 6 Missouri finished third and fourth.
The Nittany Lions used a dominating 5-1 performance in the semifinals to set up a 3-2 run in the finals, crowning three champions. In all, 11 of Penn State's 17 competing wrestlers placed at the event.
Sophomore All-American Nico Megaludis, ranked No. 2 at 125, began his day with a 3-1 win against No. 10 Nashon Garrett in the semifinals. He then took on No. 8 Matt Snyder of Virginia in the finals and rolled to an 8-4 victory. Megaludis used two takedowns and a reversal in the finals to grab the crown. He gave up all four of his points in the first period and dominated action from there Megaludis went 4-0 over the course of the tournament, improving his record to 12-1.
Junior James Vollrath entered the tournament as the fifth-seed at 157 and notched the biggest upset of the finals, grabbing a 2-1 (tb) win against top-seeded Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, ranked No. 8 nationally. Vollrath moved into the finals to face No. 14 Jedd Moore of Virginia. Like his prior bout against a ranked foe, Vollrath took him into extra time before dropping a hard-fought 3-1 (sv) decision. The second-place finish came courtesy of a 4-1 record with two majors. Vollrath is 20-5 overall.
Junior All-American David Taylor, ranked No. 2 at 165, majored No. 4 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State 11-0 in the semifinal, setting up a match-up with No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell in the finals. The duo battled through an even first period. Dake took down to start the second and escaped for a 1-0 lead after two. Taylor chose down in the third and worked his way to a reversal and a 2-1 lead. With just under a minute left, the duo rolled out of bounds and Dake was given a reversal by the official after action moved out of the circle. Taylor then worked to escape, while maintaining a riding time edge to grab the win. Dake held on for most of the bout and Taylor was not awarded an escape at the end of the match (and his riding time fell to :59), giving Dake a 3-2 decision. Taylor went 4-1 with two pins and a tech fall to take second. His record now stands at 13-1.
Sophomore Matt Brown was impressive during the tournament as well. Ranked No. 3 at 174, Brown rolled to a 5-1 record, including two pins and a major, to take third place. Brown rebounded from a loss in the semifinals to roll through to consolation bouts, including a 10-3 victory against No. 16 Jon Fausey of Virginia in the third-place match. Brown's 5-1 record moves his season mark to 14-1.
Junior All-American Ed Ruth, ranked No. 1 at 184, dominated No. 9 Mike Larson of Missouri in the semis, posting an 11-0 major. He moved into the finals where he took on No. 2 Steve Bosak of Cornell. Ruth wasted no time in establishing his dominance over Bosak, using two first period takedowns to bolt out to a 4-1 lead. He then added a reversal and 2:55 in riding time to coast to the 7-3 win and claim yet another Southern Scuffle title. Ruth went 6-0 at the tournament, notching three pins and two majors. He remains undefeated with a 15-0 record.
Senior All-American Quentin Wright downed No. 13 Scott Schiller of Minnesota 9-5 in his semifinal bout and met No. 9 Jake Meredith of Arizona State in the finals. After giving up a takedown in the first period on a throw attempt, Wright waited for his chance to pounce. Tied at two in the second, and with Meredith taking down, Wright used a split-scissors to turn him to his back and get the pin at the 5:33 mark to claim the Scuffle crown. Wright was strong on the weekend, going 5-0 with two pins. He improves his undefeated record to 14-0 overall.
Freshman Jimmy Gulibon rolled through his first three consolation bouts, picking up a tech fall and a major against No. 16 George DiCamillo in the process. Gulibon, wrestling unattached as the sixth seed, then lost to No. 6 Nathan McCormick of Missouri in the third place bout and took fourth place. He finished the tournament with a 5-2 mark with three tech falls and a major.
Senior James English also won his first three bouts of the day in consolation action and, as the 10th-seed, advanced to the bronze medal match where he met Missouri's Drake Houdashelt. English used two takedowns and relentless pressure to post the 5-2 win and take third place. A senior, he went 6-1 overall at the tournament with a pin and a forfeit victory. English is now 13-2 on the year.
Senior Bryan Pearsall entered the tournament unseeded but had a fine showing. Pearsall went 4-3 overall, including a win against No. 15 Justin LaValle of Old Dominion in consolation action, and placed eighth at 141. Redshirt freshman Luke Frey, also unseeded, was solid at 149 for Penn State, posting a 4-2 mark with three majors and placing seventh. Sophomore Jimmy Lawson split his opening consolation bouts and wrestled for seventh place. He met No. 14 Levi Cooper of Arizona State for seventh and rolled to an 11-7 win, going 4-2 and taking seventh.
In addition to those top performances, the entire Nittany Lion contingent picked up wins at the event.
Penn State went 5-1 in the semis, setting up its 3-2 run in the finals. In consolation action, the Nittany Lions combined to go 14-8, giving the team a 22-11 mark on day two. Penn State's 11 placers (of 17 competing wrestlers) included three champs, two second-placers, two third-place finishers, a fourth-place finisher, two sevenths and an eighth. Penn State posted a 63-24 overall record through the two-day tournament with 12 pins, four tech falls and 13 majors as well as two forfeits. Thirty-one of Penn State's 63 wins were for bonus points. Penn State's third consecutive team title makes it the third team in Scuffle history to win (or share) three crowns (joining Minnesota and Cornell).