Nittany Lion Wrestlers Back on Track
Feb. 8, 2011
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The third-ranked Nittany Lions bounced back from their first loss of the season in a big way, capturing two Big Ten road wins this past weekend.
Penn State traveled to East Lansing, Mich., to face Michigan State on Friday night and then headed to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines Sunday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions secured their first victory of the night on Friday as the 184 class got things started. No. 14 Quentin Wright defeated Michigan State's Ian Hinton by a major decision of 13-2, putting Penn State up 4-0.
But the Spartans answered back in the next three bouts with three straight wins at 197, heavyweight and 125. Penn State's Nick Ruggear lost a tough 5-2 decision to Tyler Dickenson at 197 and heavyweight No. 5 Cameron Wade fell to Michigan State's Joe Rizqallah 8-2. Wade was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week less than a month ago, and the loss was his first in conference duals.
Freshman Nittany Lion Nate Morgan stepped in at 125 for another week but was defeated by junior Spartan Eric Olanowski in an 8-5 decision. The three consecutive losses had Penn State trailing 9-4.
However, Penn State put its foot down and won six of the next seven match-ups by doing what head coach Cael Sanderson has taught them to do: wrestle hard for seven minutes.
Nittany Lions No. 9 Andrew Long, Nick Fischer and No. 2 Ed Ruth came away with majors while No. 5 Frank Molinaro earned a 12-5 decision. No. 3 David Taylor out-wrestled his opponent once again and handed Spartan Nick McMurray a 20-5 technical fall more than halfway through the third period.
The only bout where the Nittany Lions did not outright defeat the Spartans was at 141, as Michigan State's Joel Trombly forfeited to give No. 7 Andrew Alton the forfeit win. Penn State took the match with a final dual score of 30-9. The No. 3 Nittany Lions used the momentum they had created on Friday night to propel themselves towards victory again on Sunday, topping the Michigan Wolverines 28-13 and winning their second consecutive conference dual on the road.
Penn State took six of the ten bouts against the Wolverines, and handed Michigan its first Big Ten Conference loss of the season.
Long got things started at 133 by defeating No. 18 Zac Stevens in a hard-fought major decision of 16-6. Stevens jumped all over Long within the first few seconds of the bout with an opening takedown, but Long controlled the remainder of the match delivering five takedowns and earning three near fall points.
At 141, No. 1 Wolverine Kellen Russel dealt Alton his fourth loss of the season as Russell posted a double-overtime victory of 3-1 over the freshman Nittany Lion. Molinaro secured three more dual points for Penn State with an 8-3 win over Michigan's Eric Grajales before Taylor put on a show the spectators in the Cliff Keen Arena.
Taylor captured yet another career win and his seventh pin of the season as he took down No. 20 Wolverine Brandon Zeerip at the 1:01 mark in the first period of the match. The victory gives the No. 3 Nittany Lion an unbeaten record of 28-0 this season.
Fischer followed with a 5-2 loss to Michigan's No. 19 Dan Yates, but the Nittany Lions earned back those three points when Ruth posted a well-fought 13-6 decision over Wolverine Justin Zeerip at 174.
The last four match-ups of the dual proved to be extremely important for Penn State's win as the Nittany Lions were set back by an opposing major decision and a match decision, but two ranked Lions earned pins to off set the dual point deficit.
Wright had something to prove at 184 as he put Michigan's Hunter Collins on his back just 24 seconds into the first period for the win by fall. Freshman Ruggear suffered his third conference loss of the season as he battled in a 22-10 major decision led by No. 10 Wolverine Anthony Biondi.
At heavyweight, fifth-ranked Wade bounced back from his Friday night upset at Michigan State with a booming win by fall over Michigan's No. 10 Ben Apland. Wade and Apland looked evenly determined as they headed into the third period, Apland leading by a score of 6-2. The Nittany Lion reined victorious and turned Apland on his back at the 5:32 mark to earn another Penn State pin.
Wade's pin put the Nittany Lions up 28-10 and sealed the victory for the team before Morgan dropped his third conference bout of the season to Wolverine Sean Boyle in a 6-2 decision.
A successful weekend against Big Ten competition puts Penn State at 15-1 overall this season and 4-1 in conference match-ups. The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall on Friday at 7 p.m. for another Big Ten dual with No. 19 Illinois.
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