By: Pat Donghia
STATE COLLEGE, Pa.; January 4, 2008 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the guidance of head coach Troy Sunderland, crushed Cornell 35-10 in a key Eastern wrestling dual match. The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 4 nationally, used three pins against No. 17 Cornell in front over 3,200 fans in Penn State’s Rec Hall.
Penn State, decked out in special white singlets to celebrate 100 years of Penn State wrestling, won seven of ten bouts, including pins from three of its upperclassmen. Three-time All-American Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.) and three-time national qualifier Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.) helped the Nittany Lions amass a stunning 14-1 edge in bonus points. While the pins thrilled the crowd, it was a win by Penn State’s David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) at 174 that highlighted the bout as the Lion sophomore beat No. 8 Steve Anceravage 6-4 to punctuate the team victory.
After Cornell’s Mike Grey posted a tough win to start the bout at 133, Penn State reeled off three straight wins. No. 2 Strayer got his pin at 141, freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) got a forfeit victory at 149 (filling in for resting Bubba Jenkins, No. 3) and Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) got a major at 157. Cornell’s Mack Lewnes recorded a major at 165 and then Erwin took the mat for the bout’s keynote win. An outstanding six point move as the bout ended gave the Lion sophomore a much-needed 6-4 win over the eighth-ranked Cornell wrestler and sent the Lion faithful into a frenzy. Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.) added a major at 184 before Davis, ranked No. 2 at 197, finished off a textbook cradle for a first period pin of his own. Cornell’s Zach Hammond got a hard fought win at HWT before McKnight closed out the dual with his pin at 125.
The Nittany Lions move to a perfect 5-0 on the season while Cornell falls to 0-2. The two teams could meet again soon as both Penn State and Cornell will trek to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, next weekend for the 2008 National Duals, hosted by Northern Iowa in the UNI-Dome. The tournament, which features nine of the nation’s top ten teams and 14 of the top 17, will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 12-13. Penn State’s next home dual will be on Sunday, Jan. 27, when the Nittany Lions host No. 15 Indiana at 1 p.m. in Rec Hall. All Penn State duals can be heard locally on WBLF AM (970) and WKVA (920 AM). Tickets for all regular season duals are on sale now at the athletic department ticket office in the Bryce Jordan Center. Single-dual tickets are $5 for adults and seniors and $3 for students 18 and under. Penn State students with a proper student ID are admitted free! Fans can call 814-863-1000 or 800-833-5533 to order single-dual tickets.
#4 Penn State 35, #17 Cornell 10
Friday, January 4, 2008 – Rec Hall – State College, Pa.
133: #7 Mike Grey CU dec. Tim Haas PSU, 6-1 0-3
141: #2 Jake Strayer PSU pinned Eric McGill CU, WBF (6:59) 6-3
149: Garrett Scott PSU win by forfeit CU 12-3
157: #11 Dan Vallimont PSU maj. dec. Drake Hovis CU, 12-3 16-3
165: #3 Mack Lewnes COR maj. dec. Dave Rella PSU, 12-4 16-7
174: David Erwin PSU dec. #8 Steve Anceravage COR, 6-4 19-7
184: #15 Phil Bomberger PSU maj. dec. Michael Moore COR, 14-6 23-7
197: #2 Phil Davis PSU pinned Matt Panasevich COR, WBF (2:15) 29-7
HWT: #10 Zach Hammond CU dec. John Laboranti PSU, 3-1 29-10
125: #7 Mark McKnight PSU pinned Mike Rodriquez COR, WBF 3:37 35-10
Records: Penn State (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten), Cornell (0-2, 0-0 Ivy)
Next up for Penn State: Take part in 2008 National Duals, January 12-13, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
133: In the dual’s first bout, Penn State senior co-captain Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.) made his Rec Hall return after missing six weeks with an injury by facing No. 7 Mike Grey of Cornell at 133. Haas nearly got the bout’s first points by turning Grey near the edge of the mat, but the Big Red freshman fought off the attempt. Grey then took Haas down at the 1:40 mark to go up 2-0. Haas quickly escaped to a 2-1 deficit, but Grey added one more takedown with :30 left to lead 4-1 after one period. Grey chose down to start the middle stanza and escaped to a 5-1 lead. Neither wrestler would notch a takedown in the second period, giving Grey the four point lead heading into the last period. Haas chose down to start the third but could not break free of a strong Grey ride for the duration of the period. The bonus point for riding time gave Grey a solid 6-1 win and put Cornell up 3-0 to begin the match.
141: Penn State All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 141, took on Cornell’s Eric McGill. Strayer wasted no time in getting his first takedown, breaking out to a 2-0 lead at the 2:25 mark. Strayer cut McGill after a reset and added a second takedown with just under two minutes left in the opening period. With a 4-1 lead, Strayer once again cut McGill loose and notched takedown number three at the 1:00 mark. Strayer turned McGill to his back, nearly pinned McGill while riding him out, getting a three-point near fall to take a 9-2 lead into the second. McGill chose neutral to start the middle period, but Strayer was relentless. The Nittany Lion All-American turned a solid McGill shot into two points of his own, working through the McGill shot and stepping over the Big Red grappler to up his lead to 11-2 with 1:15 left in the period. Strayer rode McGill out and led by nine heading into the final period with 3:14 in riding time. Strayer chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 12-2 lead. He then got in on McGill’s right thigh, notched another takedown and cut McGill in an effort to work towards a technical fall. Strayer got another takedown with :30 left, cut McGill once more and had :20 to get the needed takedown. With :05 left, Strayer got the final takedown and clinched the technical fall, but with :01 left in the bout, Strayer stepped over McGill and planted his shoulders on the mat for a pin at the 6:59 mark. The six points put the Nittany Lions up 6-3.
149: With No. 3 Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) taking the evening off for Penn State, freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) moved up a weight to battle Cornell’s Adam Frey at 149. But Cornell chose not to send a wrestler to the mat and Scott got the victory by forfeit, putting Penn State up 12-3.
157: The anticipated match-up of Nittany Lion Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), ranked No. 11 at 157, and Cornell’s Jordan Leen, ranked No. 7, did not happen as Cornell sent Drake Hovis to the mat. Vallimont got his first takedown early in the first period and led 2-1 throughout much of the opening stanza. Vallimont added a second takedown at the 1:13 mark, countering a Hovis shot to up his lead to 4-1. The Lion sophomore then built up a 1:48 riding time edge in maintaining his advantage throughout the rest of the period. Trailing 4-1, Hovis chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 4-2 deficit. A deep single leg by Vallimont led to another takedown and a 6-2 lead with just under a minute left. Hovis escaped for a quick point, but Vallimont continued his offensive pressure with a quick single leg, moving around behind Hovis to move out to an 8-3 lead after two periods. Vallimont, with over two minutes of riding time, chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 9-3 lead with 1:22 left in the bout. With :20 left, Vallimont clinched a major decision with a solid takedown that nearly resulted in a pin. With the riding time point, Vallimont posted a 12-3 major and pushed Penn State out to a 16-3 lead.
165: Penn State sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) met No. 3 Mack Lewnes of Cornell at 165. Lewnes got in deep on Rella’s right thigh and, after a scramble, broke out to a 2-0 lead with 1:00 left in the period. Rella escaped quickly to cut the Lewnes lead to 2-1, only to be taken down once more as Lewnes locked in on Rella’s right thigh one more time and, after another scramble, secured the takedown with :05 left in the period to lead 4-1 after one period. Rella chose down to begin the middle stanza and escaped to a 4-2 deficit. Rella got in on Lewnes’ leg, but could not finish the move and tie the score. Lewnes got his third takedown at the :30 mark to take a 6-3 lead after a Rella escape. Up by three, Lewnes chose down to begin the final period and escaped to a 7-3 lead. Rella upped his offensive pressure, but Lewnes was able to fight off each move, keeping the Nittany Lion from cutting into the Cornell lead. Lewnes added another takedown after a reset at the :50 mark, moving out a 9-4 lead after letting Rella up. Needing one more takedown to grab a major, Lewnes took Rella down at the :11 mark and got the riding time point for a 12-4 major decision. The victory cut Penn State’s lead to 16-7.
174: Nittany Lion sophomore David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) met Cornell’s Steve Anceravage at 174. Anceravage entered the bout ranked No. 8 nationally. Anceravage took the first shot early in the period, but Erwin countered the move and nearly got a takedown of his own. Seconds later, Erwin locked onto to Anceravage’s right ankle but could not get the takedown and the ranked Big Red grappler fought off the move once more. Anceravage nearly got a takedown as time expired in the first period, but this time it was Erwin who fought through the move. Erwin chose down to start the middle period and Anceravage quickly turned the Lion sophomore for two back points. Anceravage maintained control for the bulk of the second period and then, with just :07 left, Anceravage tried to turn Erwin but in the process got called for an illegal hold. Erwin, sensing an opening, then forced the ranked Big Red grappler to his back, gaining control for a two point reversal and three near fall points. In the period-ending flurry, Erwin went from down 2-0 to up 6-2 after the second period. Anceravage chose down to start the third and escaped to a 6-3 deficit. With Anceravage holding a riding time advantage, one more takedown for the CU grappler would essentially tie the bout. Erwin continued to shoot, forcing Anceravage back on his heels and holding on for an impressive 6-4 win over eighth-ranked Anceravage. The win put Penn State up 19-7 heading into the 814 pound bout.
184: Junior Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.) put his No. 15 ranking at 184 on the line against Cornell’s Michael Moore. Bomberger opened up a big lead early with two takedowns in the first :45. Leading 4-2, Bomberger continued his offensive efforts, but the Cornell sophomore held firm with good defense and then, with :52 left, took Bomberger down to tie the score at 4-4. Bomberger escaped at the :30 mark to lead 5-4 and rode that lead into the second period. Bomberger chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 6-4 lead. With 1:15 left in the second period, Bomberger moved from the middle of the mat and deftly put Moore, who entered the bout with a 20-9 mark, to his back for a two point takedown and a near fall. The five point move put Bomberger up 11-5 after a Moore escape. Moore chose down to begin the second period and escaped to an 11-6 deficit. Needing one more takedown to secure a major, Bomberger used a strong double-leg to get the needed points and, after riding Moore out and getting a riding time point, got a 14-6 major decision. The four points put Penn State up 23-7.
197: Penn State’s three-time All-American Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 in the country at 197, met Cornell’s Matt Panasevich. Davis wasted no time in thrilling the raucous Rec Hall crowd, nearly pinning Panasevich in the bout’s first minute. The two-point takedown, three-point near fall combination put the Nittany Lion senior in control with a 5-0 lead. After a reset, Davis showcased why he’s one of the nation’s best by calmly working in on a cradle and pinning Panasevich at the 2:15 mark for his second pin of the year. The six points put Penn State up 29-7 and clinched the dual meet victory.
HWT: Junior John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.) took the mat at heavyweight for Penn State to face No. 10 Zach Hammond of Cornell. Laboranti, making his Rec Hall dual match debut, was an equal match for Hammond early on, battling the tenth-ranked Cornell junior through three solid minutes of scoreless wrestling. With no score after the opening period, Hammond chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Neither wrestler could break through the other’s defenses and the second period went by without any takedowns as well. Laboranti, trailing by one, chose down to start the third period and quickly got his escape to tie the score at 1-1. With just :25 left, Hammond got in on Laboranti’s ankle and after a long tussle, managed to get the takedown with just :07 left to post a hard-fought 3-1 win over the talented Nittany Lion junior. The victory cut Penn State’s lead to 29-10.
125: Nittany Lion senior Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.), ranked No. 7 nationally, met Cornell’s Mike Rodriguez at 125 in the dual’s final bout. McKnight wasted no time in setting the tempo, nearly taking Rodriquez down to start the dual. But the Cornell senior fought off the move and countered with a shot of his own. But McKnight allowed nothing and kept the bout scoreless midway through the first period. McKnight continued to set the pace, moving Rodriguez around the mat but not managing a takedown. With no score after one period, McKnight chose down to begin the second period. After a brief scramble, McKnight reversed the CU wrestler and quickly put him to his back for Penn State’s third pin of the dual, getting the fall at the 3:37 mark. The victory, Penn State’s seventh in the bout, gave Penn State a 35-10 final victory.
Tags: Bubba Jenkins, Dan Vallimont, Dave Rella, David Erwin, Garrett Scott, Jake Strayer, John Laboranti, Mark McKnight, Phil Bomberger, Phil Davis, Tim Haas, Troy Sunderland