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Ruth and Taylor pins send seniors out in style

The No. 1-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the direction of head coach Cael Sanderson, saw a Rec Hall era come to a close on Sunday during its convincing win over visiting Clarion. Nearly 6,500 fans, the 19th-straight home sell-out at PSU, watched Penn State roll to a 43-3 win in the final home dual meet for a very special senior class.

A duo of national champions, Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) and David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), as well as seniorJames English (York, Pa.) wrestled in the final home dual meets of their careers. All three came away victorious with Taylor and Ruth thrilling the capacity crowd with blazingly fast first period falls.

The dual began at 125, where junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally, posted a dominating 21-6 technical fall over Clarion's Hunter Jones, getting the tech at the 5:00 mark. Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 15 at 133, matched Megaludis with a takedown of his own, rolling to a 16-0 first period takedown (3:00) over Clarion's Victor Lepari.

True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 2 nationally at 141, posted a strong 8-4 win over Clarion senior Tyler Bedelyon to put the Loins up 13-0. Senior James English (York, Pa.) made his Rec Hall farewell in fine fashion, posting a 7-2 decision over talented Clarion freshman Justin Arthur. At 157, juniorDylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 6 in the nation, closed out a perfect Penn State opening half with a 12-6 win over another talented Clarion rookie. The victory gave Penn State a 19-0 lead heading into intermission. 



After the break, the sold out Rec Hall crowd rose to its feet as Taylor took center stage in Rec Hall for the final time. Taylor, ranked No. 1 at 165, gave the fans exactly what they wanted, posting the second fastest pin in Penn State history. Taylor caught Clarion's Michael Pavasko in just seconds, took him to the mat and flattened his shoulders for a pin in just 0:11. Junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 4 at 174, was equally impressive, notching a first period pin of his own, getting the fall over Clarion's Ryan Darch at the 2:50 mark.

Following Brown's pin at 174, it was time for Ruth to receive a standing ovation from nearly 6,500 fans in sold out Rec Hall as he hit the mat in Rec Hall for the last time. Ruth, ranked No. 2 at 184, also went out in a blaze of glory with a first period pin. The Lion senior used his textbook cradle to lock up Clarion's Dustin Conti, adjust once and then flatten the Eagle for the fall at the 1:05 mark.

Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 3 at 197, made it four straight pins for Penn State, notching a second period pin at the 3:11 mark to put Penn State up 43-0. Clarion avoided the shut-out at 285, however. Junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.), ranked No. 12 at 285, got the nod at heavyweight for the first time since an injury sidelined the Lion on Jan. 19. Lawson mounted a late comeback but riding time would be the difference as Evan Daley posted the 7-6 upset victory with 1:57 in time, making the final 43-3 in Penn State's favor.

Taylor moves to 26-0 on the year with 12 pins, seven tech falls and six majors. His 49 career pins is second all-time at Penn State, four shy of the all-time record of 63. The 0:11 fall was the second fastest in Penn State history (Dylan Alton had an 0:08 pin last year). Taylor is 126-3, sixth in wins at Penn State, with 49 pins, 41 techs and 28 majors. He ends his career with 63 dual meet victories, a perfect 63-0 record, third all-time at Penn State win dual wins.

Ruth is now 25-1 with ten pins, eight tech falls and six majors. His 45 career pins is third all-time at Penn State. Ruth is now 127-3 all-time, fifth on Penn State's all-time wins list. He has 45 pins, 24 tech falls and 29 majors during his Lion career. He leaves Penn State with a perfect 55-0 dual meet record, eighth all-time in school history.

---Story courtesy of Penn State Athletics

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times