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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Another standing room only, capacity crowd packed Rec Hall as the top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestlers took care of No. 11 Illinois in Big Ten wrestling action. Nearly 6,500 fans, the 17th-straight home sell out for Penn State, cheered on as head coach Cael Sanderson’s team won nine of ten bouts to roll to a 31-3 Big Ten dual meet victory.
Junior All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, got Penn State off to a hot start in a rematch of last year’s NCAA title bout. The Lion took down No. 4 Jesse Delgado 5-4 to put Penn State up early and bring yet another capacity crowd to its feet. At 133, Lion freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 15, nearly upset No. 11 Zane Richards but the Illini connected on a takedown in extra time to post the 3-1 (sv) decision, briefly tying the dual at 3-3.
Unbeaten true freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 141, majored John Fahy 15-3 to put Penn State up 7-3. Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) then took down yet another ranked opponent, using a third period reversal to post a 4-2 win over No. 19 Caleb Ervin. Junior All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 157, then took care of No. 12 Zac Brunson 5-2 in only his second dual meet of the year. Alton, who has been slowly returning to action after off-season surgery, stayed unbeaten with the win.
After halftime, senior All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) majored No. 12 Jackson Morse 11-3. Taylor, ranked No. 1, at 165, stayed unbeaten with the win. Junior All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, majored Illinois senior Tony Dallago 12-2 and Penn State was out to a 21-3 lead.
Senior All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 184, rolled to a 14-3 major over Nikko Reyes to continue Penn State’s string of bonus points and put the Lions up 25-3. At 197, sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 7 at 197, then posted a 10-3 win over Illinois’ Jeff Koepke. With 12th-ranked Jimmy Lawson (Tom’s River, N.J.) out with an injury, junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) got the nod at 285, making his second dual meet appearance of the year. Gingrich stepped up in a big way with a strong 6-1 win over Illinois’ Chris Lopez, cementing the 31-3 final score.
The 6,480 in attendance marked the 17th-straight home sell out for Penn State. Penn State posted a lop-sided 20-2 takedown advantage as well. Taylor improved to 21-0 on the year with 10 pins, six tech falls and five majors. He is 121-3 overall and is tied for ninth on Penn State’s all-time wins list. Ruth is 20-1 on the year with seven pins, seven tech falls and six majors. He is 122-3 overall and is eighth all-time in wins at Penn State. Retherford moved to 21-0 with three pins, two techs and seven majors.
Megaludis is 20-2 on the year with a pin, four techs and eight majors while Brown improved to 21-1 with eight pins, two tech falls and seven majors. McIntosh improved to 20-2 with three pins and nine majors.
Penn State stays unbeaten on the year with an 11-0 mark, 4-0 in Big Ten action. Illinois falls to 6-5, 0-4 B1G. Penn State makes a Big Ten swing through the state of Michigan this weekend. The Nittany Lions are at Michigan State on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. and then visit Michigan on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2. The Lions and Wolverines tangle at 3:30 p.m. live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State’s Friday dual at Michigan State is live on the BTDN.
With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the remaining Rec Hall duals. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
#1 Penn State 31, #11 Illinois 3
January 24, 2014 – Rec Hall – University Park, Pa.
125: #2 Nico Megaludis PSU dec. #4 Jesse Delgado ILL, 5-4 — 3-0
133: #11 Zane Richards ILL dec. (SV) #15 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 3-1 (sv) — 3-3
141: #2 Zain Retherford PSU maj. dec. John Fahy ILL, 15-3 — 7-3
149: Zack Beitz PSU dec. #19 Caleb Ervin ILL, 4-2 — 10-3
157: #4 Dylan Alton PSU dec. #12 Zac Brunson ILL, 5-2 — 13-3
165: #1 David Taylor PSU maj. dec. #12 Jackson Morse ILL, 11-3 — 17-3
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU maj. dec. Tony Dallago ILL, 12-2 — 21-3
184: #2 Ed Ruth PSU maj. dec. Nikko Reyes ILL, 14-3 — 25-3
197: #7 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. Jeff Koepke ILL, 10-3 — 28-3
285: Jon Gingrich PSU dec. Chris Lopez ILL, 6-1 — 31-3
Attendance: 6,480 (17th-straight home sell out)
Records: Penn State 11-0, 5-0 B1G; Illinois 6-5, 0-4 B1G
Up Next for Penn State: at Michigan State, Friday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
125: Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 125, met No. 4 Jesse Delgado of Illinois in a rematch of last year’s NCAA title bout. As a sold out crowd came to its feet before the match started, the duo met in the middle of the mat and worked for control early on. Megaludis tried to connect on an early shot but Delgado was able to force a stalemate at the 1:50 mark. Megaludis continued to shoot, forcing Delgado into a first stall warning at the :45 mark. After a reset at the :36 mark, blood time was called and then the period ended tied at 0-0. Megaludis chose down to start the second period and quickly reversed Delgado for a 2-0 lead. The Illini escaped only to have Megaludis get in on a low single quickly. Delgado was able to force a stalemate and action moved on at the 1:25 mark with Megaludis up 2-1. Megaludis looked to connect on a lightning quick low single off a reset. After a short scramble, Megaludis finished off the move and led 4-1 with :25 left. Delgado was awarded an escape after a video review and the match moved to the second with Megaludis up 4-2. Delgado chose down to start the third and quickly reversed Megaludis to tie the match at 4-4. Megaludis escaped to a 5-4 lead at the :55 mark and then fought off a strong Delgado high single until only :12 was left in the match. After a reset with :12 left, Megaludis was able to kill the clock and grab the thrilling 5-4 win.
133: Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 15 at 133, faced off against No. 11 Zane Richards in a key battle at 133. The freshmen duo battled evenly for the first minute-plus with neither man able to find an opening to score. Each man worked for shoulder control but there was no give in the defense and the bout moved to the second tied 0-0. Richards chose down to start the second period but Gulibon quickly broke the Illini down, taking control up top to build up :47 riding time before Richards escaped to a 1-0 lead. Gulibon tried to score on a high-low combo at the :40 mark, but Richards was able to back out of bounds and force a reset with :17 on the clock. Gulibon chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie. The Lion freshman continued to make the Illini back to the outside circle. He nearly connected on a high single with 1:10 left but Richards’ defense stayed true and the bout continued tied 1-1. The duo traded counter attempts to no avail with :30 on the clock. Tied 1-1, the bout moved into sudden victory. Richards countered a Gulibon shot :30 into the extra time and grabbed the hard-fought 3-1 (sv) win.
141: True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 141, met John Fahy. Retherford fought off an early Fahy shot, then worked in on his own single leg and connected for two points with 1:42 on the clock. The unbeaten Lion then went to work up top, breaking Fahy down and building up a sizeable riding time edge while trying to turn the Illini for back points. Fahy escaped to a 2-1 score but Retherford’s consistent offense led to another takedown with :20 on the clock and the Lion led 4-1 with 1:09 in time after one. Retherford chose down to start the second period and worked his way to a reversal and a 6-1 lead with 1:27. He then turned Fahy for three back points to lead 9-1. After another ride out, Retherford led 9-1 with 2:27 in time after two period. Fahy chose down to start the third and Retherford let him out to a 9-2 score. He swiftly moved in on another single to up his lead to 11-2 with 1:32 on the clock. Retherford reset himself, controlled Fahy’s legs and turned him for three more back points to lead 14-2 with a clinched riding time point. Fahy escaped as time wound down and Retherford walked away with a convincing 15-3 major, including 3:58 in riding time.
149: Red-shirt freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) met No. 19 Caleb Ervin at 149. Beitz grabbed Ervin’s ankle and worked his way into a scramble that ended with a takedown at the 1:40 mark. Ervin escaped to a 2-1 score and action resumed in the middle of the mat. Continuing to pressure the ranked Illini, Beitz once again gained control of Ervin’s right leg but this time Ervin was able to force a stalemate with :20 on the clock. Trailing 2-1, Ervin chose down to start the second period but Beitz was strong on top, working the Illini long enough to build up his riding time edge to 1:13 before Ervin escaped to a 2-2 score with 1:10 on the clock. Beitz nearly scored again with :10 left with a low single, but Ervin was able to kill the clock and the match moved to the third tied 2-2. Beitz chose down to start the third period but Ervin was able to control the action for a minute by holding on to Beitz ankle. A reset was called with :56 on the clock and Ervin was hit for a stall with :40 on the clock. Beitz quickly countered after a reset and worked his way deftly around Ervin for a reversal and a 4-2 lead at the :20 mark. Beitz then rode Ervin out and posted a 4-2 with over the ranked Illini.
157: Junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 4, took on No. 12 Zac Brunson at 157. Alton, wrestling in only his second dual this year, and Brunson battled evenly for over 2:00 with neither wrestler finding an opening to score. Alton took a solid shot at the :25 mark, nearly took Brunson to his back and then held on for the takedown and a 2-0 lead after one period. Brunson chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-1 Alton lead. Alton used a textbook high single to drive through for another takedown and a 4-2 lead after a quick Brunson escape. The Alton takedown was the period’s only offense and the Nittany Lion junior carried that lead into the third. Alton chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Brunson tried to get in on a high single but Alton was able to work his way out of bounds and maintain position and a 5-2 lead with 1:10 on the clock. The duo traded shots for the next :40 with neither man connecting. Alton tried to score on a late single leg but time ran out and Alton posted the 5-2 win.
165: Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 1 at 165, took to the mat against No. 12 Jackson Morse. Morse got in on a high single leg but Taylor quickly wrapped him up to force a stalemate at the 2:20 mark. Taylor patiently waited for his offense to connect and came through with a nice low shot and takedown with 1:20 left in the opening period. Taylor then kept control of the ranked Illini, working for a tilt. He picked up three near fall points with just :15 left and rolled into the first period with a 5-0 lead and 1:21 in riding time. Morse chose down to start the second period, quickly escaped and then surprised Taylor with a takedown to cut Taylor’s lead to 5-3. A reset was called with :57 on the clock but Taylor could not work his way free from Morse’s strong ride. Morse worked the clock down to zeroes. Leading 5-3, Taylor chose down to start the third period and steadily worked his way to a reversal and a 7-3 lead with 1:20 on the clock. It was Taylor’s turn to dominate the action from the top, nearly turning Morse for a pin before action was stopped for potentially dangerous. Taylor picked up two more back points, then another two as time expired and posted the tough 11-3 major decision.
174: Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 3 at 174, met veteran Illini senior Tony Dallago. The duo traded shots and near-scoring scrambles for over 2:00 with neither wrestler able finish off any of the opening salvos. After a reset at 1:00, Brown bulled through a high double and steadily worked his way to a takedown and a 2-0 lead with :22 left in a spirited opening period. Dallago escaped but Brown quickly caught the Illini senior, took him to his back and nearly pinned him. The late five-point move gave Brown a 7-1 lead after the opening period. Brown chose down to start the second and Dallago locked his hands, giving Brown an 8-1 lead. Delgado maintained control, however, until the :55 mark when Brown escaped to a 9-1 lead. Dallago got called for a stall with :10 on the clock and Brown furiously worked for a takedown, but time ran out and the late score did not count, giving Brown a 9-1 lead after two. Dallago chose down to start the third period and Brown controlled the action from the top position until Dallago escaped at the 1:20 mark. But Brown continued to pour on the offense, rolling through another takedown to lead 11-2 with 1:10 left. He reset on his knees and began trying to lock up a cradle with :50 on the clock. No near fall points were given and Brown maintained the lead at the :10 mark. A short ride out and 1:15 in riding time gave Brown the 12-2 major.
184: Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 184, faced off with Illini freshman Nikko Reyes. Ruth quickly took the Illini freshman down and then began working for an opportunity to turn the Illini for back points. Ruth controlled the action for all but :10 and then added one more takedown to lead 4-1 after one period. Reyes chose down to start the second period and Ruth cut him loose at the 1:40 mark, still with 2:59 in riding time. The duo battled evenly for the rest of the period and Ruth led 4-2 after two. Ruth chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. The Lion then worked Reyes to the mat and stepped behind him for a takedown and a 7-2 lead with 1:25 on the clock. With the riding time point assured, Ruth picked up another point on stalling and led 8-3 after cutting Reyes loose with :50 on the clock. Ruth circled around for a takedown with :30 on the clock and took a 10-3 lead. Ruth turned Reyes for three late back points and rolled to the 14-3 major with 4:04 in riding time.
197: Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 7 nationally, took on Jeff Koepke at 197. McIntosh took multiple shots out of the gates, connecting on this third with 1:15 left to lead 2-1 in the opening stanza. Koepke got hit for a first stall with 1:00 on the clock and action resumed in the center circle. Leading 2-1 after one, McIntosh chose down to start the second and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. McIntosh kept Koepke backing up and took a 4-1 lead on a stall point. A third stall meant another point and McIntosh led 5-1 with :45 left. The Lion then got in on a low single and notched a takedown to lead 7-2 with :30 on the clock after a Koepke escape. McIntosh led 7-2 after two and Koepke chose down to start the third. A Koepke escape cut the lead to 7-3 and McIntosh continued to pressure the Illini. The Lion sophomore connected with Koepke’s ankle, pulled his head down to the mat and added a final takedown. With 1:03 in riding time, McIntosh posted the 10-3 decision.
285: Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) stepped up for Penn State and took on Illinois’ Chris Lopez. The duo battled evenly for the opening over two minutes and then Gingrich got on the board with a solid low double, getting the takedown and taking a 2-0 lead with :51 on the clock. The Lion junior, making his second dual meet appearance of the year, then rode Lopez out to lead 2-0 after one. Lopez chose down to start the second stanza but Gingrich was able to break the Illini down and build up a sizeable riding time edge while looking for a turning combination. Gingrich maintained control for the entire period and, while not turning Lopez, entered the third period with a 2-0 lead and 2:51 in riding time. Gingrich chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Gingrich kept Lopez backing up, looking for offense and worked his way through a high double with :40 left to lead 5-0. Gingrich cut Lopez loose and quickly began looking for another takedown. Lopez backed out of the circle and the clock hit zeroes, giving Gingrich the 6-1 victory.