Penn State Fields Five Champs at Nittany Lion Open
Collin Van Ooyen / December 4, 2012 - 11:39pm
Penn State University reminded the country just why they are the top ranked school in American college wrestling this weekend, and did it in their own backyard at the the Nittany Lion Open. PSU fielded a champion in five of ten weight classes while having a representative in all but one of the finals. The tournament was a statement for the PSU home team, who had nearly their entire roster in action, as they maintained alpha dog status in the early national rankings. Penn had a dominant record of 97-34 by the end of the tourney, scoring 23 total falls.
Scoring five of those 23 pinfalls was sophomore Andrew Alton, who flexed some serious muscle in making his return to the mat after missing Penn’s first two duals. Alton was an absolute beast, going 6-0 and scoring four of his five pins in the first round.
The Nittany Lions were so proficient that they even featured a Penn vs Penn 197 lb. final. Third-ranked All-American, and Pennsylvania native, Quentin Wright took out his teammate Morgan McIntosh 5-3 in a tough sudden victory final. Wright finished the day 5-0, registering three pins. McIntosh wasn’t so bad either, finishing 4-1 with a pair of majors.
Among other Penn champs were a trio of top-3 talents, starting with national No. 3 Matt Brown topping Greg Zannetti of Rutgers at 174 lbs for his first NLO title. Then at 165 lbs, reigning NCAA champion and 2012 Hodge trophy winner David Taylor, currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, pinned Buffalo’s Mark Lewandowski to take his title. And finally, top-ranked Ed Ruth, also a native of Pennsylvania, took home top honours at 184 lbs., going 5-0 and besting tenth-ranked Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland in the finals.
No. 2 ranked All-American Nico Megaludis narrowly missed a chance to make it six champions, getting upset in a tight 3-2 decision to Pitt redshirt Anthony Zannetta. Megaludis finished the day with a 4-1 overall record. Also just missing out on a adding multiple titles for Pitt were Jimmy Guibon, Dylan Alton, and Jimmy Lawson.
While the impressive showing may not come as much of a surprise to many, it did serve as an early wake-up call for the rest of a stacked Big Ten conference. Penn’s lineup is one of the deepest in the country, as evidenced by the fact that by the quarterfinals of the event, they still had 21 of 30 total wrestlers alive. By the end of the tournament, they had 18 of their athletes place in their respective divisions to go along with their five titles and ten finalists. Obviously their coaching staff was pulling out all the stops for the home crowd, but performances like these put the entire NCAA on notice.
Penn will be back in action this Sunday Dec. 9th, as the conference rival Indiana Hoosiers come to town for a 2 pm meet.