By: Pat Donghia
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (4-1, 0-1 B1G), ranked No. 4, will return to dual meet action on Sunday, Jan. 3, when they face the Michigan State Spartans (2-2, 0-1 B1G) at Kellog Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. The dual begins at 2 p.m.
Penn State is coming off a superb run to the 2012 Southern Scuffle Championships, crowning four champions and winning the team title over No. 3 Minnesota by 14 points. Penn State won the title with 191.5 points while Minnesota was second with 177.5. The Nittany Lions entered day two with a slim 7.5 point lead over the gophers and used a superb 6-3 run in the semifinals and a 4-2 showing in the finals to claim the crown. The semifinal fireworks led way to Penn State crowning four individual champions and getting the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler Award, given to All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) for his 165-pound title. Joining Taylor as champs were All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) at 149, All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) at 174 and All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) at 184.
The Nittany Lions are being led by a balanced and high scoring attack, including a trio of undefeated wrestlers. Molinaro is 16-0 and ranked No. 1 at 149, Taylor is 14-0 and ranked No. 1 at 157 and Ruth is 16-0 at 174 and ranked No. 2. Defending National Champion Wright is 13-2 and No. 3 at 184 while senior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) is 13-4 and No. 6 at 285. Red-shirt freshman Dylan Alton is 12-3 and ranked No. 9 at 157 while true freshman Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) is ranked No. 10 at 125 with a 14-3 mark. Fellow true freshman Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) is 9-5 and ranked No. 13 at 197.
Michigan State will come into the dual with a 2-2 mark, 0-1 in Big Ten action. The Spartans sport a veteran line-up featuring four ranked grapplers and six talented seniors. Sophomore Mike McClure is 11-5 and ranked No. 11 at heavyweight, senior Anthony Jones is 12-3 and ranked No. 14 at 157, senior Tyler Dickenson is 7-1 and No. 16 at 197 and junior Dan Osterman is 17-6 and No. 18 at 149.
Penn State leads the all-time series between the two schools 15-9, including the last six in a row. Penn State won last year's meeting 30-9 in East Lansing on Feb. 4. Michigan State's last win was a 19-12 victory in East Lansing on Jan. 15, 2005.
Penn State continues Big Ten action on the road next weekend when it visits Northwestern on Friday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. (Eastern) and at Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. (Eastern). Penn State's next home dual is on Jan. 22 when Iowa comes to Rec Hall for a dual that is already sold out. Penn State then hosts Ohio State on Jan. 29 and only standing room only tickets remain. Fans can purchase a very limited number of those SRO tickets by calling 814-865-5555. Tickets are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for youth (18 and under) and can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day or in person at the Bryce Jordan Center box office. A maximum of four tickets may be purchased per person. The full season slate of live dual meet and tournament action will air locally on WRSC AM (1390 AM) with Friday evening duals being simulcast on WRSC FM (103.1 FM). Lock Haven's WBPZ (1230 AM) will also carry the entire season live and further affiliates may be added soon. WIEZ 670 AM (Huntingdon/Lewistown) will carry all Sunday duals during the regular season plus the Big Ten and NCAA Championships in March. The regular season schedule of radio broadcasts will be streamed live at www.GoPSUsports.com as part of Penn State's All-Access package, which will also feature live video streams of many home events. Ticket information is accessed easily online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets/m-wrestl-tickets.html . Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstatepat and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2011-12 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
#4 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (4-1, 0-1 B1G)
125#10 Nico MegaludisFr.Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional14-3
133Derek ReberJr.Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg4-5
ORFrank MartellottiSo.Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side3-1
141Bryan PearsallJr.Lititz, Pa./Warwick7-6
149#1 Frank MolinaroSr.Barnegat, N.J./Southern Regional16-0
157#9 Dylan AltonR-Fr.Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain12-3
165#1 David TaylorSo.St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham14-0
174#2 Ed RuthSo.Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Twp.16-0
184#3 Quentin WrightJr.Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area13-2
197#13 Morgan McIntoshFr.Santa Ana, Calif./Calvary Chapel9-5
285#6 Cameron WadeSr.Twinsburg, Ohio/St. Peter Chanel13-4
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (2-2, 0-1 B1G)
125Eric OlanowskiSr.Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam2-3
133Brandon FifieldFr.Leslie, Mich./Leslie9-8
141Brian GibbsFr.Temperance, Mich./Bedford14-8
149#18 Dan OstermanJr.Carson City, Mich./St. Johns17-6
157#14 Anthony JonesSr.Highland Park, Mich./Highland Park12-3
165David ChezaSr.Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc10-2
174Curran JacobsSr.Owosso, Mich./Owosso15-5
184Ian HintonSr.Nappanee, Ind./Mishawaka12-5
197#16 Tyler DickensonSr.Pewamo, Mich./St. John's7-1
285Steve AndrusJr.Manhattan, Kan./Manhattan14-7
OR#11 Mike McClureSo.Holland, Mich./West Ottawa11-5
Indiv. Rankings Intermat as of 1/3; Team Rankings NWCA/USA Today as of 1/3
Tags: Bryan Pearsall, Cameron Wade, David Taylor, Derek Reber, Dylan Alton, Ed Ruth, Frank Martellotti, Frank Molinaro, Morgan McIntosh, Nico Megaludis, Quentin Wright