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PSU Leads after Day 1 of NCAA Championships

Updated: Saturday, March 22 2014, 11:53 AM EDT

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The first day, two full sessions, of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships is complete and the Penn State Nittany Lions hold first place. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad is the one of two teams with ten wrestlers still alive as it seeks its fourth straight NCAA title and has five grapplers in tomorrow morning's quarterfinals. Penn State leads the team race with 26.5 points, just ahead of Oklahoma State and Minnesota, who are tied for second with 21.5 each.

Two-time All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 125, became Penn State's first quarterfinalist at the tournament with a dominating 6-0 win over No. 4 Eddie Klimara of Oklahoma State. The win, key in the team race as well, came via two takedowns, an escape and 1:28 in riding time. Megaludis punched his ticket to Friday morning's quarterfinals with the win.

True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 141, became a quarterfinalist in his first run at nationals with a strong 3-0 win over No. 14 Edgar Bright of Pittsburgh. Retherford used an escape and a third period takedown to post the win and move into Friday morning's quarterfinals.

Three-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 1 seed at 165, continued to thrill the sellout crowd in Chesapeake Energy Arena. Taylor rolled up a 14-2 lead on No. 16 Jim Wilson of Stanford, took him down once more in the final :30 and then stepped over the Cardinal grappler, turned his shoulders to the mat and got his second pin in as many bouts at the 6:55 mark. The fall with just :05 on the clock was the 52nd of Taylor's career and moves him to within one of Penn State's all-time record. It also sent Taylor into Friday morning's quarterfinals.

Junior All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 5 seed at 174, controlled the action in a strong 6-1 win over No. 12 Tanner Weatherman of Iowa State. Brown notched two takedowns, an escape and riding time in the 6-1 victory and moved into Friday morning's quarterfinals.

Three-time American and two-time defending NCAA Champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 184, dominated Illinois' Nikko Reyes for seven minutes. The Lion senior controlled the action from start to finish on his way to a 15-0 technical fall with 5:36 in riding time at the 7:00 mark. Picking up key bonus points, Ruth moved into tomorrow morning's quarterfinals with the win as well.

Senior James English (York, Pa.), unseeded at 149, nearly notched his second straight win over a seeded foe. English led late into the third period against No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern. But the Wildcat notched a late takedown and ride out to sneak away with a 4-3 win, sending English into consolation action Friday morning.

Junior All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 13 seed at 157, battled No. 4 Ian Miller of Kent State tough before dropping a 4-1 decision in round two. Alton's loss dropped him into Friday morning's consolation second round.

Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 197, suffered a tough 3-2 upset loss to No. 14 Chris Penny of Virginia Tech in the second round. McIntosh had a takedown late in the first period overturned by the officials then gave up a second period takedown in the loss. McIntosh dropped down to Friday morning's consolation action with the loss.

Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 14 seed at 285, battled No. 3 Adam Chalfant of Indiana tough before dropping a 5-2 decision to the third seed. Chalfant used two takedowns and an escape to grab the victory, pushing Gingrich into Friday morning's consolation action.

Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), unseeded at 133, was outstanding in his first consolation bout, picking up key bonus points and rolling to a 10-2 major over Eastern Michigan's Vincent Pizzuto. Gulibon came back from an early 2-0 deficit to notch three takedowns and a three-point turn to post the victory and move into the second round of consolation action Friday morning.

Taylor and Ruth are making their final runs through the NCAA Championships, looking to cap off historic collegiate careers with NCAA titles. Taylor is now 131-3 with 52 pins, one shy of tying Penn State's all-time record of 53. He also has 42 techs and 29 majors, giving him 123 bonus point victories in his 131 career wins. He is 31- on the year with 15 pins, eight techs and seven major. Ruth is now 133-3 overall with 46 pins, 25 techs and 32 majors, giving him 103 bonus point victories in 133 career wins. He is 31-1 on the year with 11 pins, nine techs and nine majors.

The Nittany Lions went 6-4 in session two and are now 5-5 overall. Penn State has collected 12 bonus points off three majors, two tech falls and three pins. Penn State is looking to win its fourth straight NCAA title after claiming the crown in 2011 in Philadelphia, 2012 in St. Louis and the 2013 title last year in Des Moines.

The event continues tomorrow morning with the quarterfinals and consolation action at 11 a.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Central) in Chesapeake Energy Arena. The three-day concludes Saturday night with the championship finals and the crowning of the team champion. All six sessions will air/have aired live on ESPNU and/or ESPN, with ESPN3 offering full tournament multi-mat coverage online.

Penn State 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.

 

PSU Leads after Day 1 of NCAA Championships


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