Penn State searching for fifth consecutive Southern Scuffle crown
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 4 Penn State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) will head to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the New Year's holiday once again as the Lions bring four consecutive Scuffle crowns into the 2015 Southern Scuffle. The two-day, team-scored event, takes place on Jan. 1-2, 2015, at UT-Chattanooga.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a thrilling 20-15 win against No. 9 Virginia Tech on Dec. 19. The dual featured a number of upsets (each way) with none bigger than Penn State's wins at 125 and 285. Junior Jordan Conaway opened up the dual with a 7-5 win against No. 5 Joey Dance to give Penn State an advantage. Senior Jimmy Lawson then downed No. 6 Ty Walz at 285, posting a 5-3 sudden victory win, to send over 6,300 fans to their feet and clinch the dual for Penn State. In all, Penn State won six of ten bouts and owned a slim 16-14 takedown edge in the hotly contested dual meet.
Penn State will bring 15 wrestlers to Chattanooga and three more unattached red-shirting true freshmen will head to Tennessee as well. Junior Jordan Conaway is now ranked No. 5 at 125 with an 8-0 record. Sophomore Jimmy Gulibon holds the No. 5 spot at 133 with an 8-0 mark. Redshirt freshman Kade Moss is 7-4 and Michael Waters is 8-5, both at 141. Sophomore Zack Beitz is 4-2 at 149 and ranked No. 17 while Luke Frey is 5-1 and will compete as well. Redshirt freshman Cody Law is 10-4 at 157 while senior Dylan Alton is ranked No. 8 at 157 and is set to make his season debut at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2. Redshirt freshman Garett Hammond will bring a 14-2 mark at 165 to the event. Senior Matt Brown is ranked No. 4 at 174 and is 7-1 on the year. Junior Morgan McIntosh is 9-0 at 197 and ranked No. 4. Senior Jimmy Lawson debuts in the rankings at 285 at No. 6 with a 7-0 mark, senior Jon Gingrich is 4-0 at 285 and senior Nick Ruggear is set to debut at 285 as well. Nick Nevills (7-0 at 285), Bo Nickal (11-1 at 174) and Jason Nolf (11-0 at 157) will compete unattached.
Penn State will be joined by a host of top 25 teams and strong contenders from around the nation. Joining the Nittany Lions in Chattanooga will be Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri, Michigan, Lehigh, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Cornell, Virginia, North Carolina Boise State, Appalachian State, Army, Buffalo, Bucknell, Campbell, Central Michigan, Chattanooga, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Drexel, Duke, Gardner Webb, George Mason, Kent State, Navy, Northern Colorado, Stanford and Wyoming.
Penn State has won the last four Southern Scuffle titles. Last year, Penn State ran away with the title, posting 189.0 points to second place Oklahoma State's 164.5. In 2013, Penn State outscored the second place Cowboys by 20.5 points, 178.5 to 158.0. The 2012 Scuffle, the first hosted by Chattanooga, was won by Penn State with 191.5 points with Minnesota taking second with 177.5. With the previous Scuffle hosted by NC-Greensboro before New Year's Day, the Lions won what was technically the 2010 Scuffle, tying for the team title with 151.5 points (Cornell also had 151.5 to share the crown).