PREVIEW: Nittany Lion Wrestlers Ready for 2011 Big Ten Championships
March 1, 2011
By: Pat Donghia
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
No. 4 Penn State (17-1-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) will take part in the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, hosted by Northwestern University, on Saturday and Sunday, March 5-6, in Evanston, Ill. The two-day, three-session event begins Saturday with an 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central session. The Big Ten Championship will decide the conference's 64 automatic qualifiers to the 2011 NCAA Championships in Philadelphia on March 17-19.
Penn State is coming off a superb regular season in just its second year under head coach Cael Sanderson. The Nittany Lions ended the year ranked No. 4 in the final USA Today/NWCA Coaches dual meet poll. The team went 17-1-1 overall, earning the most dual meet victories since going 18-3 in 1998. The Lions took second place in the Big Ten dual meet standings with a 6-1-1 mark and tied a school record for Big Ten dual wins in a season. The Nittany Lions made their first appearance at the Southern Scuffle and tied No. 1 Cornell for the Scuffle Co-Championships. Penn State also won the school's first Virginia Duals crown since since 1991. Penn State heads into Big Ten's with five No. 1 pre-seeds (note all seeding information indicates pre-seeds prior to Friday, 3/4, finalization).
Half of Penn State's ten man contingent is comprised of freshmen with two others beings sophomores. The Nittany Lion line-up begins with senior Brad Pataky at 125. Pataky will be the tournament's 4th-seed and carries an 8-3 mark into the tournament. He is ranked No. 10 by Intermat and No. 16 by the Coaches. Sophomore Andrew Long will be the No. 1 seed at 133. Long is ranked No. 3 by Intermat and No. 5 by Coaches. Neither Pataky nor Long wrestled enough matches to qualify for an RPI. True freshman Andrew Alton is 26-6 with 17 pins heading into the tournament. Alton is the 5th-seed, ranked No. 7 by Intermat and No. 6 by the coaches and has a No. 2 RPI. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro is the tourney's top seed at 149. He is 25-2, ranked No. 3 by Intermat and the Coaches and has a No. 4 RPI. Red-shirt freshman David Taylor is the No. 1 seed at 157 and enters his first Big Ten Championships with a perfect 31-0 mark (with 30 bonus point victories).
Taylor is ranked No. 3 by Intermat, No. 2 by the Coaches and has the top 157-pound RPI in the nation. Red-shirt freshman James Vollrath will get the call at 165 for the Nittany Lions. He will carry a 24-6 overall record into his first Big Ten tourney. Vollrath is unranked and unseeded. Red-shirt freshman Ed Ruth is the No. 1 seed at 174. Ruth is 29-1 overall with 11 pins and is ranked No. 2 by Intermat, No. 2 by the Coaches and has the No. 2 RPI at 174. Sophomore Quentin Wright is the 8th-seed at 184 with a 12-6 mark. Wright is ranked No. 17 by Intermat, No. 18 by the Coaches and has a No. 11 RPI. True freshman Nick Ruggear will be making his Big Ten Championships debut with a 15-12 overall record at 197. Ruggear is unseeded and unranked. Junior Cameron Wade is the top seed at heavyweight. Wade has a 26-4 overall record and is ranked No. 6 by Intermat, No. 6 by the Coaches and carries the No. 4 RPI into the post-season.
Sanderson's crew heads to Evanston looking to improve upon last year's fifth place finish. Penn State has never won the Big Ten Championship having taken second in 1993, 1996 and 1998. Penn State has finished no better than third since 2000. The most champions Penn State has crowned in one year is three (in 1993 and 1994) and the most finalists is five (1993). The Nittany Lions' qualifiers, earned at Big Tens, will head to Philadelphia for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 17-19. The three-day, six-session event will be held at the Wells Fargo Center. All radio broadcasts are streamed live at GoPSUsports.com as part of the All-Access package. The 2010-11 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
PENN STATE'S COMPETITORS IN THE 2011 BIG TEN TOURNEY
As of March 1, 2011
#4 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (17-1-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten)
Wt. Name Yr. Hometown/High School 2010-11 Record
125 #10 Brad Pataky Sr. Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield 8-3
B10 Pre-Seed: #4 -- Coaches: #16 -- RPI: MS* -- Intermat: #10 -- TheOpenMat: #10
133 #3 Andrew Long So. Creston, Iowa/Creston 11-1
B10 Pre-Seed: #1 -- Coaches: #5 -- RPI: MS* -- Intermat: #3 -- TheOpenMat: #3
141 #7 Andrew Alton Fr. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 26-6
B10 Pre-Seed: #5 -- Coaches: #6 -- RPI: #2 -- Intermat: #7 -- TheOpenMat: #6
149 #3 Frank Molinaro Jr. Barnegat, N.J./Southern Regional 25-2
B10 Pre-Seed: #1 -- Coaches: #3 -- RPI: #4 -- Intermat: #3 -- TheOpenMat: #3
157 #3 David Taylor Fr. St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham 31-0
B10 Pre-Seed: #1 -- Coaches: #2 -- RPI: #1 -- Intermat: #3 -- TheOpenMat: #2
165 James Vollrath So. Richboro, Pa./Council Rock South 24-6
B10 Pre-Seed: NS -- Coaches: NR -- RPI: NR -- Intermat: NE -- TheOpenMat: NR
174 #2 Ed Ruth Fr. Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township 29-1
B10 Pre-Seed: #1 -- Coaches: #2 -- RPI: #2 -- Intermat: #2 -- TheOpenMat: #2
184 #17 Quentin Wright So. Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area 12-6
B10 Pre-Seed: #8 -- Coaches: #18 -- RPI: #11 -- Intermat: #17 -- TheOpenMat: #18
197 Nick Ruggear Fr. Oxford, Pa./Oxford 15-12
B10 Pre-Seed: NS -- Coaches: NR -- RPI: NR -- Intermat: NR -- TheOpenMat: NR
285 #6 Cameron Wade Jr. Twinsburg, Ohio/St. Peter Chanel 26-4
B10 Pre-Seed: #1 -- Coaches: #6 -- RPI: #4 -- Intermat: #6 -- TheOpenMat: #6
Ranking of record listed is Intermat as of 2/23 -- Coaches rankings and RPI as of 2/23
MS -- * Does not meet minimum matches wrestled to qualify for RPI ranking
No. 4 Penn State (17-1-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) will take part in the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, hosted by Northwestern University, on Saturday and Sunday, March 5-6, in Evanston, Ill. The two-day, three-session event begins Saturday with an 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central session.
The Nittany Lions' qualifiers, earned at Big Tens, will head to Philadelphia for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 17-19. The three-day, six-session event will be held at the Wells Fargo Center.
ON THE AIR
TV - The finals, set for 4 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Central, will air on the Big Ten Network live. The BTN offers no coverage of the first day or early session on day two.
Live Web Video -- None
Radio - WRSC AM (1390) and WBPZ AM.
Web -- All radio broadcasts are streamed live at GoPSUsports.com as part of the All-Access package.
For information or credentials, contact me, Pat Donghia, Wrestling SID Phone: 814-865-1757 -- Email: email@example.com
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Tags: Andrew Alton, Brad Pataky, Cael Sanderson, Cameron Wade, David Taylor, Ed Ruth, Frank Molinaro, James Vollrath, Nick Ruggear, Quentin Wright