Long, Molinaro, Taylor and Wright All-Americans as Penn State Sends Four into National Semifinals
<div id="Content" readability="395.924025408">March 18, 2011
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the direction of 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year Cael Sanderson, has added four All-Americans to its all-time roster as Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), junior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) all advanced to the national semifinals and clinched All-America status.
For Long, Molinaro and Wright, the honor is a repeat of past years. Long was the national runner-up at 125 for Iowa State a year ago and now is a Penn State All-American at 133. Molinaro finished eighth at 141 two years ago and took fifth at 149 last year. At 149 again this year, he becomes Penn State's 19th three-time All-American. Wright placed sixth at 174 two years ago as a true freshman and red-shirted last season. He is now an All-American at 184. For Taylor, undefeated at 37-0 as a freshman, it is his first at 157.
Cornell holds a slim half point lead in the team race. The Big Red have 61.0 while Penn State is right behind with 60.5. Iowa is in third with 52.0 while American has 49.0 and Oklahoma State has 44.5.
Long became a Penn State All-American and earned his second All-America honor overall with a thrilling pin of Central Michigan's Scotti Sentes in his quarterfinal bout. Sentes notched an early takedown in the bout and controlled Long for much of the first period, but the third seeded sophomore worked his way into a quick reversal and pin of Sentes at the 2:46 mark to move into tonight's national semifinals where he will face No. 2 seed Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State.
True freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the sixth seed at 141, lost a hard-fought 2-0 decision to No. 3 seed Boris Novochkov of Cal Poly in his quarterfinal bout. Neither wrestler had a takedown, but Novochkov rode Alton out in the second period and then picked up an escape in the third for the 2-0 win. Alton moves into the consolation bracket tonight where one more win will make him an All-American and keep his hopes of a third place finish alive.Molinaro, the second-seed at 149, took care of No. 7 seed Mario Mason of Rutgers in his semifinal to become a three-time All-American. Molinaro used a first period takedown and two escapes to offset a late Mason takedown. Molinaro becomes Penn State's 19th three-time All-American. He now will take on No. 6 seed Jason Chamberlain of Boise State in the semifinals tonight.
Taylor, the third seed at 157, took care of sixth-seed Derek St. John of Iowa in a 6-3 decision. Once again, Taylor not taken down by the Hawkeye and used two takedowns, an escape and a riding time point to become an All-American as a freshman and move into the national semifinals where he will face No. 2 seed Steve Fittery of American. Taylor becomes Penn State's first freshman All-American since Molinaro and Quentin Wright turned the trick in 2009. He improves to 37-0 on the year.
Red-shirt freshman Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 174, was injured in the second period of his quarterfinal bout against No. 7 Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford. Ruth notched a first period takedown but Amuchastegui got a takedown at the end of the first period to lead 3-2 after one. Ruth chose down to start the second and the Cardinal turned him three times to lead 9-2 at the end of the second. During the ride-out, Ruth was injured and could not continue. He returns tonight in consolation action tonight.
Wright, the ninth-seed at 184, simply dominated top-seeded Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro in his quarterfinal bout. Wright took the Scot grappler down once in the first period and twice in the third to roll to an impressive 7-3 win and become a two-time All-American. The Centre County native has reeled off seven straight wins in the post-season (four to win the Big Ten title and two three here at NCAAs). Wright will face 12th-seeded Grant Gambrall of Iowa in the national semifinals tonight.
Junior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), the ninth-seed at heavyweight, was taken down in the first period by top-seeded Zach Rey of Lehigh. During a scramble late in the period, Wade suffered an injury and, while he did continue into the second period, was not able to continue early in the middle stanza and defaulted. Wade will wrestle in tonight's consolations with the chance to finish as high as third still alive.
Senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.) ended his Nittany Lion career with a tough 8-1 loss to Michigan's Sean Boyle in the consolations at 125. Boyle countered a number of early Pataky shots for takedowns to grab the victory. Pataky went 1-2 in his third trip to NCAAs and posted a 12-7 record during an injury plagued season. Pataky leaves Penn State as a three-time NCAA qualifier with an 86-36 career record.
Penn State went 4-4 in session three and is now to 19-5 through three sessions of the tournament. The Nittany Lions picked up two more bonus points thanks to Long's pin. Penn State now has 10.5 bonus points from three pins, three majors and a tech fall. Penn State's four guaranteed All-Americans ups the all-time total at Penn State to 170. Penn State still has three grapplers just one win from All-America status (Alton at 141, Ruth at 174 and Wade at heavyweight). Penn State's best All-American performance in recent history was five in 1993. The record is eight set in 1987.
The 2011 NCAA Championships continue Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m. with session four featuring the national semifinals. ESPN continues its full coverage of the three-day event at 7 p.m. (ESPNU & ESPN3 simulcast). Action will then continue on Saturday as follows: Saturday, March 19 - Session five, 11 a.m. (ESPNU & ESPN3 simulcast) - Session six/championship finals, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN). All broadcasts are in HD, including ESPN3. The All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC
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