Penn State wins four individual titles to claim third consecutive Big Ten crown
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Penn State won its third consecutive Big Ten championship on Sunday, winning four individual titles and scoring 151.0 points. Minnesota finished in second with 139.0 points and Iowa was third with 133.5.
Cael Sanderson has won three Big Ten crowns in his four years as head coach at Penn State, which went a perfect 4-0 in the finals and claimed half the postseason hardware, as well. Junior Ed Ruth was named 2013 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and Sanderson won his third consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year (sharing this year's honor with Minnesota's J Robinson). All 10 Nittany Lions will make their way to the NCAA championships on March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa, as Penn State looks to win its third consecutive NCAA crown.
Junior David Taylor was Penn State's first finalist. Taylor, ranked No. 2 nationally at 165 pounds and the top seed, took on second-seeded Conrad Polz of Illinois in the finals. Taylor notched two takedowns, a reversal and more than three minutes in riding time to roll to a 9-1 major, picking up key bonus points and becoming Penn State's third three-time Big Ten champion. Taylor went 3-0 on the day and heads to Des Moines to defend his national title with a 26-1 overall record.
Sophomore Matt Brown, ranked No. 7 nationally at 174 pounds and the fifth seed, battled No. 3 Mike Evans of Iowa in the finals. After Evans, the No. 2 seed, was given an early lead on a penalty point due to a pulled sock, Brown went on a rampage. He escaped to start the second period and then bulled through a high double, taking Evans to his back to take a commanding 6-1 lead off the five-point move. He tallied 2:29 in riding time after riding Evans out for most of the third period and rolled to the 7-4 win, becoming a Big Ten champion in his first trip to the conference tournament. Brown went 4-0 during the course of the weekend and heads to NCAAs with a 25-4 record.
Ruth, ranked No. 1 nationally at 184 pounds and the top seed, met Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus, ranked No. 5 nationally and the No. 2 seed, in the finals. Ruth took care of the Steinhaus and nearly clinched the team title with a 5-3 win, using takedowns in the first and third periods to roll to victory. Ruth, like Taylor, won a third Big Ten title, Penn State's fourth. Ruth went 3-0 at the tourney and heads to the NCAA tournament looking for a second consecutive national title with a 28-0 record.
Senior Quentin Wright, ranked No. 2 nationally at 197 pounds and the top seed, took on second-seeded Scott Schiller of Minnesota in the finals. Never threatened, Wright rolled his way to a 5-3 win, using second- and third-period takedowns for the margin. Wright's win gives him his second Big Ten title and clinched the team title for Penn State. Wright heads to Des Moines looking to become a four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion with a 27-0 record.
Penn State closed out the tournament with a 20-9 record with all 10 wrestlers placing in the top eight. Penn State stacked up 20.5 bonus points off five pins, three tech falls and six majors. In addition to Ruth's Wrestler of the Year and Sanderson's Coach of the Year awards, all four champions (Taylor, Brown, Ruth and Wright) were named First Team All-Big Ten honorees. Wisconsin heavyweight Connor Medberry was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Illinois' Jesse Delgado was the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler to round out postseason honors. Delgado won the 125-pound championship, beating top-seeded Matt McDonough of Iowa 10-4 in the final.
Minnesota got championships from Dylan Ness (149 pounds) and Tony Nelson (285). Ness pinned Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska. Nelson beat Northwestern's Mike McMullan 4-1.
Ohio State got championships from Logan Stieber (133 pounds) and Hunter Stieber (141 pounds). Logan Stieber beat Tony Ramos of Iowa 3-1. Hunter Stieber defeated Iowa's Mark Ballweg 8-3.
Northwestern's Jason Welch won the 157-pound title. He pinned Nebraska's James Green.