Wright and Long Lead Six Nittany Lions into Semifinals of 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
<div id="Content" readability="283.029162747"> March 5, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team sits in second place after the opening session of the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Northwestern University. Led by sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), who posted a win over the top-seeded 184-pounder, Penn State will send six wrestlers into tonight's Big Ten semifinals.
Iowa leads the team race with 79.0 points and nine semifinals while Penn State and Minnesota are close behind. Penn State has 60.0 points with six semifinalists and Minnesota has 57.5 with six in the semis as well. Wisconsin is in fourth with 42.0 and four in the semis.
The Nittany Lions were led in the first round by Wright, who went 2-0 at 184. The 8th-seed, Wright majored Michigan's Hunter Collins 10-2 in the opening round and downed top-seeded Travis Rutt of Wisconsin. Wright used a first period takedown, a second period reversal and a late defensive flurry to post a 4-3 win and move into the semifinals. Sophomore Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), the top-seed at 133, also went 2-0 for Penn State, picking up key bonus points with an 18-3 technical fall over Indiana's Matt Ortega. He then posted a 6-2 win over 8th-seed Ian Paddock of Ohio State to move into the semifinals.
Joining that sophomore duo in tonight's semifinals will be four other Penn Staters. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), the No. 1 seed at 149, majored Minnesota's Danny Zilverberg 9-0 and moves into the semifinals as does classmate Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio). Wade, the No. 1 seed, downed 8th-seed Ben Kuhar of Northwestern in his quarterfinal bout.
Two-red shirt freshmen continued their impressive Big Ten runs as well. David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the top seed at 157, pinned 8th-seeded Matt Mincey of Minnesota at the 1:27 mark and classmate Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the top seed at 174, majored Michigan State's Curran Jacobs in his quarterfinal bout. Taylor's win improves the Lion freshman to 32-0 with 31 bonus point victories. The 31 total is now just one short of Penn State's all-time single season record for bonus point wins in a season. Ruth's win improved him to 30-1 with 22 bonus point victories, which is tied for 10th all-time. Senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.), the 4th-seed at 125, went 1-1 on the day, including a first round technical fall for bonus points. Pataky dropped a 9-5 decision to fifth-seed Sean Boyle of Michigan and will be in action in consolations tonight. True freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the 5th-seed at 141, lost a 6-2 decision to 4th-seeded Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois in the quarterfinals and moves into the consolations as well.
Two more of Penn State's five freshmen, true freshman Nick Ruggear (Oxford, Pa.) and red-shirt freshman James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) both went 0-1 (at 197 and 165 respectively) and will continue on in consolations tonight.
Penn State posted a solid 11-4 record in the opening round and picked up eight bonus points off two tech falls, two majors and a pin.
The 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships continue this evening with a 6 p.m. (Eastern)/5 p.m. (Central) session that includes the semifinals. The tournament will conclude Sunday afternoon in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The event serves as the national qualifier for all 11 Big Ten programs as individuals try to advance to the 2011 NCAA Championships on March 17-19 in Philadelphia, Pa. All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC
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