UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State, three-time defending NCAA champions, welcomed intrastate rival Pittsburgh to a sold-out Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday and came away with a rousing 28-9 victory. Despite a developing snow storm, the dual meet was wrestled in front of 15,996 fans, setting a NCAA all-time dual meet record and a record for a Penn State athletic event in the BJC.
The sold-out attendance figure of 15,996 sets two Penn State records. First, it sets the new NCAA all-time record for dual meet attendance, out-doing the mark set by Iowa on Dec. 6, 2008, against Ohio State. It is an all-time best for a wrestling dual meet in Nittany Lion grappling history, besting the old mark of 11,245 set on Dec. 6, 1996, when Penn State hosted Iowa in the BJC (a 22-15 Iowa win early in the '96-97 season). It is also the largest crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center for a Penn State athletic event. The old mark was 15,472, set on Feb. 1, 1997, when the Nittany Lion basketball team entertained Purdue. The sell-out is also the 13th consecutive home sell-out for Penn State, dating back to the 2011-12 season (with the prior 12 occurring in Rec Hall).
Junior Nico Megaludis, ranked No. 3 nationally at 125, opened up the dual meet with a 4-1 win against No. 9 Anthony Zanetta of Pittsburgh. Pitt tied the dual meet at 133 when No. 17 Shelton Mack notched two late takedowns to beat Penn State’s Jordan Conaway 5-2.
True freshman Zain Retherford, ranked No. 11 at 141, put Penn State back on top with a hard-fought 3-2 win against Pitt’s Edgar Bright. Mike Racciato put the Panthers on top with a late pin (6:52) of Lion senior James English at 149 but James Vollrath got Penn State back to even with a strong 7-2 win against Panther Cole Sheptock at 157.
Senior All-American David Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165, put Penn State up for good however, decking Pitt’s Geno Morelli just nine seconds into the second period. The fall at the 3:09 mark put Penn State up 15-9 and was the 44th of Taylor’s career. He is now just nine shy of the all-time Penn State record of 53. Taylor is 10-0 on the year with seven pins, two tech falls and one major.
All-American Matt Brown, ranked No. 3 at 174, kept Penn State rolling after intermission with a dominating 9-3 win against No. 9 Tyler Wilps. Brown forced Wilps into three stall warnings in the bout. Red-shirt Wes Phipps clinched the dual meet for the Nittany Lions, dominating Panther Aaron Rothwell on his way to a 13-3 major with 4:29 in riding time.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh, ranked No. 4 at 197, then posted a hard-fought and thrilling win against Panther Nick Bonaccorsi. With the bout tied 3-3 after regulation and a first sudden-victory period, McIntosh rode Bonaccorsi out during the first tiebreaker then escaped quickly in his period to post the 4-3 (tb) decision. Junior Jimmy Lawson, ranked No. 10 at 285, closed out the dual meet with hard-fought 3-1 win against Pitt’s P.J. Tasser. A late takedown gave the Lion the decision and put Penn State on top 28-9 for the final score.
Penn State was without the services of junior Andrew Alton, ranked No. 9 at 149 and junior All-American Dylan Alton, ranked No. 5 at 157, who are expected back mid-December following off-season surgery; and senior All-American Ed Ruth, ranked No. 1 at 184, who is serving a one-month suspension for violation of team rules and policies.
The Nittany Lions won the takedown battle as well, holding a 16-5 edge. Penn State won eight of 10 bouts in a dual for the fourth time in five duals as well. The Nittany Lions move to 5-0 with the win while Pittsburgh falls to 3-1.
No. 2 Minnesota 16, No. 5 Oklahoma State 15
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota edged Oklahoma State 16-15 in a close dual on the road. The victory against the Cowboys allows the Gophers to improve to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten competition.
Despite only winning half of the bouts on afternoon, the Gophers were able to claim four decisions and one major decision to barely claim the victory.
The Gophers started the day off with two consecutive losses at 125 and 133 as Sam Brancale and No. 8 David Thorn both fell to ranked opponents. Quickly, the Gophers were down 6-0 after two bouts.
The first win of the day came from No. 4 Chris Dardanes at 141 who was able to defeat No. 15 Anthony Collica by decision 5-3. Second-ranked Nick Dardanes followed suit and picked up a victory against No. 4 Josh Kindig. With the two Dardanes victories the Gophers tied up the dual six all.
The Gophers then suffered three consecutive bout losses from No. 3 Dylan Ness, No. 20 Danny Zilverberg and No. 5 Logan Storley to put the Gophers behind 15-6.
The Cowboys would not win another bout on the afternoon as the Gophers won three in a row to edge the Cowboys 16-15. Top-ranked Scott Schiller and No. 1 Tony Nelson both defeated their opponents in their respective weight classes.
The most noteworthy dual of the day was the season debut of Kevin Steinhaus at 184 pounds. Steinhaus, who had not competed in the Gophers three previous duals this season, returned to the mat with a major decision win against Jordon Rodgers of Oklahoma State 14-5.
The score before the HWT bout was in favor of Oklahoma State 15-13 and Nelson's decision against Marsden of Oklahoma State sealed the deal for the Gophers victory.
The Golden Gophers will now have a break until Jan. 1 when they travel to Chattanooga for the Southern Scuffle.