Pataky Leads No. 4 Nittany Lions On Senior Night
Feb. 21, 2011
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State wrestling team hosted the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday night in Rec Hall for the last scheduled regular-season match of the year and celebrated senior night in front of a sold-out crowd.
The Nittany Lions defeated the Wisconsin Badgers with a commanding dual score of 30-12 and won eight of the ten individual bouts against the Badgers with five decisions, one major decision, one win by fall and one technical fall.
After honoring the senior Nittany Lions with gifts and flowers, the lone senior of the starting line-up stepped onto the mat to get things started.
Penn State senior Brad Pataky had only wrestled nine other opponents this season before he met Wisconsin's Tom Kelliher at center-mat at 125 to start off the last dual meet of the season. However, the 11th-ranked Nittany Lion veteran entered his bout ready to take care of business.
Less than twenty seconds into the match, Pataky recorded the first takedown and scored an early two points. He then controlled Kelliher on top, forcing a total of eight near-fall points before the end of the first period. Although Wisconsin's Kelliher fired back with a reversal to close out the beginning period, Pataky had a strong 10-2 lead going into the second period.
The two lightweight wrestlers lunged back and forth at one another during the second period and each tried to gain control, but neither was successful and instead the score stayed the same through the period. At the beginning of the third period, Kelliher chose to be on top of Pataky and was able to keep him on the mat long enough to force two near-fall points. The score notched at 10-4 in favor of Pataky, the Nittany Lion rode out the remainder of the period and gained a point for riding time to earned three dual points for his team in a 10-5 decision.
After the match, Pataky said that he had more than one feeling running through his body and excitement was not the only one."You know going out there I had a bunch of stuff running through my head," said Pataky. "As my last match I actually had a little bit of emotions before going out there. I felt sad and even after the match I felt sad but I felt more emotional before the match than after the match for some reason, I don't know why. But yeah, just a lot of things were going through my head - last match, last season, it was just something that has been building up for a while."
The veteran grappler said that he was especially excited to wrestle in front of such a huge crowd, and said that he has seen a huge increase in fan support over the last several years.
"Seeing all these people come out to watch us in the past two years has been incredible compared to the two years before that where half the people came out," said Pataky. "You know it was just the last match, seeing all those people, getting the adrenaline going, it's just something you can't express. It's just a feeling that's something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
Pataky said that his knee has been feeling much better in the recent weeks and that he is ready for Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships. Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said that he is equally confident and eager to see his 125-pound senior wrestle in the post-season.
"I mean Brad, he showed against the Minnesota kid that he can wrestle and in the Virginia Duals there he wrestled really well," said Sanderson. "We've been saving him for the end so he's going to be able to go out there and give it his best shot and he's got enough experience that he can do well."
With a final win against the Badgers, the Nittany Lions capped off their 2010-`11 dual season with a 17-1-1 overall record and a 6-1-1 record in the Big Ten.
No. 4 Penn State will take advantage of the next few weeks to recover and get ready for the Big Ten Championships that will be held at Northwestern on March 5 and 6.
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