Penn State Wrestling: Nittany Lions Dispatch Lock Haven, 42-3
By Katie Blitz
In its last match until the new year, the top-ranked Penn State wrestling team defeated Lock Haven, 42-3 Sunday in front of a sold-out Rec Hall. The team lost only one bout, as Dan Neff defeated Bryan Pearsall in the 141-pound weight class. Penn State also had four pins and a tech fall in the match.
Nico Megaludis, ranked second in the country, faced Bobby Rehm at 125. At the 2:15 mark, Megaludis was taken down by Rehm but was able to escape quickly. Megaludis then took down Rehm and rode Rehm out until the end of the first period. Megaludis chose to start the second period down and was able to get a point by escaping. After two more takedowns, Megaludis was able to secure the pin at the 4:10 mark.
At 133, Jordan Conaway was up against Matt Bryer. Conaway had three takedowns in the first period, which were countered by two escapes from Bryer. On the third takedown, Conaway was awarded two near fall points, which led to the end of the first period with Conaway winning, 8-2. Bryer chose to start down for the second period and managed to escape. Conaway took Bryer down again through the end of the second period. Conaway chose to start neutral for the third period and was able to take Bryer down for the last time in the bout with one minute left. Conaway received an additional point for riding time, giving him a 13-3 major decision.
At 141, Neff took down Pearsall 1:20 into the match, and Pearsall gained a point for an escape. Neither wrestler managed a point in the second. Pearsall started down to start the third and gained a second point for an escape — tying the bout. After Pearsall was taken down again, he escaped and attempted a takedown of his own, but Neff countered with the takedown that would end the match. Pearsall lost his first dual match this season, 9-3. It was the first bout Penn State lost since Colin Johnston of West Virginia defeated Nate Morgan in the 133-pound weight class one month ago.
No. 5 Andrew Alton faced Mac Malderelli. Alton took down Malderelli quickly, but Malderelli escaped. The two then exchanged takedowns and escapes, giving Alton a 5-3 lead. On the second takedown, Alton received three near fall points. Malderelli escaped again, and the first period ended with Alton leading, 7-4. After Malderelli chose to start down and received an escape point, the second bout was fairly evenly matched until Alton took down Malderelli right before the second period ended. Alton chose to start down for the third period, and Malderelli took advantage of that by accumulating a large amount of riding time. But it would not be enough. Alton escaped near the end and won, 10-6.
Dylan Alton, ranked fifth, faced former Nittany Lion Jake Kemerer, who transferred to Lock Haven after redshirting his freshman year. Alton was the first one to get a point in the match after taking down Kemerer at the 1:05 mark. The bout moved out of bounds and Kemerer escaped after the bout restarted. Alton led, 2-1 at the end of the first period. Alton started down in the second period and escaped to add another point, but that was the only point scored in the second period. Kemerer started down in the third and received an escape point. Alton had a final takedown with 20 seconds left and won, 5-2, which gave Penn State a 16-3 lead going into the break.
Second-ranked David Taylor started the second half of the dual against Aaron McKinney. Taylor had a quick takedown just 18 seconds into the match, which McKinney escaped. Taylor took down McKinney three more times in the first period, which was countered by two escapes. Taylor led at the end of the first period, 8-3. McKinney started down for the second period, which Taylor took advantage of by getting himself three back points, followed by a pin at the 4:41 mark.
Matt Brown, ranked third, had the quickest pin of the match against Zach Heffner at the 1:37 mark. Heffner was taken down first at the 20-second mark but escaped. Brown took him down again and got the pin. Brown remains undefeated, adding his third pin of the season.
Top-ranked Ed Ruth faced Fred Garcia, who he took down twice before the 1:30 mark. After some riding time, Ruth turned Garcia on his back and was awarded two near fall points. Ruth turned Garcia again and received three near fall points before time ran out in the first period. Ruth chose to start down in the second period, which allowed him to gain a point for an escape. Ruth took Garcia down again and also accumulated three back points. Garcia escaped, which allowed Ruth to get the takedown that would give Ruth the tech fall at the 4:55 mark.
Quentin Wright, ranked third, faced Phil Sprenkle. The first period ended with no score, but Wright started down in the second period to get an easy escape point. Wright had the first takedown of the bout to lead, 3-0. Sprenkle chose to start neutral for the third period, and Wright took him down and pinned Sprenkle at the 6:10 mark.
No. 15 Jimmy Lawson wrestled against Harry Turner. Neither wrestler scored in the first period, and Turner chose to start down in the second resulting in an escape point. Lawson took down Turner with 15 seconds left in the second period. Lawson started down in the third and escaped for the point. He then took down Turner a final time and won, 5-1.
Next up for Penn State is the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. in the beginning of January. There will be some possible marquee matchups with seven of the top 10 wrestlers in the 125-pound weight class present, along with five of the top eight wrestlers from the 141-pound weight class. Taylor will most likely face Kyle Dake, of Cornell, in the finals of the 165-pound weight class. Dake has won the past two matchups at the Olympic Trials and the NWCA All-Star Classic. Matt Brown could faced top-ranked Chris Perry, of Oklahoma State, at the tournament. Ed Ruth will likely have to face second-ranked Cornell wrestler Steve Bosak.
Penn State’s next home dual is Jan. 13 against Michigan State.