Molinaro, Taylor and Wright Head to National Finals as Lions Lead the Field at 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships
<div id="Content" readability="437.421428571"> Complete Team Scores and Bracket in PDF Format http://grfx.cstv.com/graphics/icon-acrosmall.gif
March 18, 2011
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will send three wrestlers into the national finals at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and will carry a 17.5 point lead into the final day of competition. Junior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) will all wrestle for national titles tomorrow night.
The Nittany Lions sit alone in first with 92.5 points while Cornell is in second with 75.0. Iowa is a close third at 74.0 while Oklahoma State is in fourth with 65.5. Penn State went 3-1 in the semifinals while Cornell posted a 1-3 mark.
Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), the third seed at 133 and now a two-time All-American, battled second seed Andrew Hochstrasser hard for seven minutes but came up short in a 7-4 loss. Hochstrasser notched a takedown and two near fall points to break open a lead that Long could not come back from. Long will wrestle in the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning, still eyeing a third place finish.
Freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the sixth seed at 141, suffered a heart-breaking 5-4 upset loss to 12th-seeded Zach Kemerer of Penn in the `round of 12'. Alton gave up a first period takedown and a third period takedown and could not break through Kemerer's defensive style to notch any of his own. The loss ends Alton's tournament just one win shy of All-America status. The true freshman went 2-2 in his first trip to NCAAs with a pin and a major and ends his freshman season with a 30-10 record.
Junior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), the second seed at 149 and now a three-time All-American, moved into his first NCAA final with a dominating 4-1 win over sixth-seed Jason Chamberlain of Boise State. Molinaro notched a takedown, an escape a plenty of riding time to roll to victory. The Nittany Lion will take on fourth-seed Kyle Dake of Cornell in the finals. Molinaro heads to the championship bout with a 32-2 overall record.
Red-shirt Freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the third seed at 157, put on another show against second-seeded Steve Fittery of American. Taylor dominated the match from start to finish, using a reversal and two back points in the second period to roll to a 7-1 win over the previously unbeaten Fittery. Taylor now moves into the national title bout against Arizona State's Bubba Jenkins tomorrow night. Taylor will carry a 38-0 mark into the national final, with 34 of them earning bonus points.
Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the ninth seed at 184 and now a two-time All-American, thrilled the Penn State faithful at the event by pinning Iowa's Grant Gambrall in his national semifinal. Wright turned a 5-0 second period lead into a pin at the 3:53 mark. Wright had a takedown and three back points in the first period and then in the second caught Gambrall's shoulders, tossed him to the mat and the worked to a cradle that ended the match and sent Wright into the finals. Wright will face second-seeded Robert Hamlin of Lehigh in the finals.
Red-shirt freshman Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the second seed at 174, rebounded from an injury in his quarterfinal match that forced him to default to become Penn State's fifth All-American. Ruth used two reversals to squeak out a hard-fought win over Purdue's Luke Manuel in the `round of 12'. He then met sixth-seed Ben Bennett of Central Michigan in the conso quarters. Ruth turned a 0-0 second period tie into another Nittany Lion pin, turning Bennett and getting the fall at the 4:10 mark. Ruth will now continue his quest for third place tomorrow morning in the medal round.
Junior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), the ninth seed at heavyweight, tried valiantly to come back from an injury in his quarterfinal match, taking Indiana's Ricky Alcala to sudden victory before losing. Alcala got a takedown midway through the extra period to get the 4-2 win and end Wade's tournament one win shy of All-America honors. Wade ends his tournament with a 2-2 record and posted a 30-8 record over the course of the season.
Penn State went 5-3 in session four and is now 24-8 after two full days of the tournament. The Nittany Lions picked up four more important bonus points thanks to pins from Wright and Ruth. The Nittany Lions have 14.5 bonus points from five pins, three majors and a tech fall. Penn State's five All-Americans up the all-time total at Penn State to 171 and is the most All-Americans for Penn State in one year since the team had five in 1993. The record is eight set in 1987.
The 2011 NCAA Championships continue Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m. with the medal rounds. ESPN U will cover the event live in HD at 11 a.m. (ESPNU & ESPN3 simulcast). Session six, the championship finals, are at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN HD. The All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC
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