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O.W. Taylor and Molinaro swap roles with teammate in helping Penn State defend team title
By Mike Finn
ST. LOUIS — Penn State defended its NCAA national championship with a bit of reversal fortune Saturday night.
Unlike last year when Quentin Wright won the Lions only individual championship, while teammates Frank Molinaro and David Taylor were forced to settle for second place, the trio swapped roles in helping Penn State leave the Scottrade Center with a 25.5-point margin over runner-up Minnesota.
Molinaro ended his career with a victory over the Gopher’s Dylan Ness for the 149-pound title while Taylor — named the tournament O.W. and Gorrarian Award winner for his dominating performance at 165 pounds — joined fellow sophomore Ed Ruth and 174-pounder as Penn State’s three national champions.
While Minnesota and third-place Iowa each captured one individual championship — Anthony Nelson became the Gopher’s first sophomore heavyweight titlist and Iowa’s 125-pound Matt McDonough became a two-time national champ — fourth-place Cornell produced three champs, including junior Kyle Dake (157) who became the first wrestlers to win three titles at three weights.
Also collecting gold for the Big Red were Steve Bosak, who defeated Wright in overtime, and four-time All-American Cam Simaz.
#1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. #10 Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State), 4-1 — An inside single let the Hawkeye come around for the only takedown of the match with 1:14 and give the three-time NCAA finalist his second championship. McDonough nearly scored a takedown off the whistle but the Nittany Lion freshman did the splits to fight off the move and tied the bout 1-1 at the start of the third period. McDonough ended the scoring with a 1:39 riding time advantage.
#2 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) dec. #1 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State), 4-3 — The redshirt Buckeye freshman scored his only takedown of the bout with 18 seconds left to claim his first national title and avenged his loss to the defending champion at the National Duals. Oliver scored the first takedown 14 seconds into the bout before Stieber scored an escape in the first period and another in the second to tie the match 2-2. After Oliver escaped to make the score 4-3, the Cowboy junior nearly scored on a high crotch with 11 seconds left and another at the buzzer.
#1 Kellen Russell (Michigan) dec. Montell Marion (Iowa), 6-4 sv — In a rematch of last year’s national semifinal, the Wolverine senior ended his career with a second straight national championship when he countered a shot by the Hawkeye with 38 seconds left in overtime. Russell also scored a takedown two minutes into the bout and led 3-1 in the second when Marion scored a takedown on a low single with 42 second left in the period. Marion forced overtime when he escaped with 59 seconds on the riding clock.
#1 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) dec. #7 Dylan Ness (Minnesota), 4-1 — The three-time All-American from Penn State scored the match’s only takedown with a double on the edge of the mat with 26 seconds left in the first period, exchanged escapes with the Gopher freshman and ended his career with a 1:50 riding time advantage.
#1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. Derek St. John (Iowa), 4-1 — The Big Red junior became the first wrestler to win three NCAA titles and three different weights when he scored the only takedown with 2:10 left in the first and swapped escapes before adding 1:39 of riding time.
#1 David Taylor (Penn State) won by TF over Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh), 22-7 (5:55) — There was no question who the O.W. was of this tournament as the 2011 national runner-up put on a takedown clinic especially in the third period when he tallied five of nine takedowns on a low single, a single, a duck-under and a pair of doubles. The Nittany Lion sophomore also earned the Gorrarian Award for most pins in the least amount of time.
#1 Edward Ruth (Penn State) major dec. #3 Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford), 13-2 — In a rematch of last year’s National semifinal, which the Cardinal won, it was the Nittany Lion sophomore who dominated the Stanford senior when he applied a pair of cradles — a cross-face cradle in the first period to give him a 4-0 lead with 1:39 left in the period, and a standing cradle in the second period that built his lead to 8-2. An inside single and two-point tight-waist tilt and 3:39 riding time gave him the major decision.
#4 Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec. Quentin Wright (Penn State), 4-2 sv — The native of State College, Pa., captured his first NCAA title when he scored the match’s only takedown with 15 seconds left in overtime to beat his old high school buddy and defending national champion. After a scoreless first period, Wright took a 2-0 lead with a second-period reversal before Bosak added two escapes.
#1 Cam Simaz (Cornell) dec. Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro), 7-5 — The four-time All-American trailed 4-1 in the second period — after the Scot tallied two takedowns — before he rallied with a low double in the second period and another with 1:25 left in the third by countering a shot by Honeycutt.
# 2 Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. #4 Zachery Rey (Lehigh), 4-1 — The Gopher sophomore iced the bout when his takedown with nine seconds left also led to a 1:07 riding time advantage. The defending national champ gave up a lot of that riding time I the second period when he was warned for stalling.