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Penn State in First Place after Opening Session of 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Lions go 7-1 with two pins and two majors to rack up bonus points in opening round
<div id="Content" readability="230.351762267"> March 17, 2011
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team finds itself in first place after the opening session of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia. Penn State went 7-1 in the first round at the Wells Fargo Center, picking up important bonus points with two pins and two majors.
The Nittany Lions have 20.0 points after one round and find themselves alone in first place. Iowa is a close second with 18.0 followed by Cornell in third with 16.5 and Wisconsin in fourth with 15.0. Minnesota and Oklahoma State are both tied for fifth with 14.0.
Senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.), Penn State's only unseeded wrestler, lost a hard-fought 13-7 decision to 12th-seed Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in Penn State's first match of the day at 125. Pataky will move into the first round of consolation action tonight. Sophomore All-American Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), the third seed at 133, coasted to an 8-1 win over Northern Colorado's Casey Cruz in his first match. Long notched a late takedown in each period for the win. He moves into the second round tonight against Minnesota's David Thorn.
True freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the 6th-seed at 141, made a stellar NCAA tournament debut, pinning Binghamton's Anwar Goeres in the first period at the 2:20 mark. Alton's pin moves him into the second round tonight against 11th-seed Matthew Mariacher of American University. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), the second seed at 149, dominated Rider's Zac Cibula in his first round match. Molinaro posted three takedowns and built up nearly 4:00 of riding time to shut out Cibula with a 9-0 major decision. The junior New Jersey native has not been scored on in four straight matches. He will take on Virginia's Derek Valenti in the second round tonight.
Red-shirt freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the third seed at 157, put on a show against Big 12 Champion Robert Erisman of Oklahoma State. Taylor used a reversal and two near falls in the second period to roll to a 12-3 major and stay unbeaten on the year at 35-0 (with 33 bonus point victories). Taylor will take on Northern Iowa's David Bonin tonight. Classmate Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the second seed at 174, also had a great, albeit quick, NCAA tournament debut. Ruth caught Liberty's Royal Brettrager with an inside cradle and pinned him in just 0:24. Ruth's fast fall sends him into tonight's' second round where he will meet Minnesota's Scott Glasser. Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), a 2009 All-American at 174, was the No. 9 seed at 184 and took on Virginia's Jon Fausey in the opening round. Wright continued his dominant March run by not giving up a takedown, getting three of his own, and rolling to an 8-4 win. Wright will now face eighth-seed Kevin Steinhaus of Minnesota in the second round tonight in a rematch of the 2011 Big Ten Championship bout (won by Wright earlier this month). Junior Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), the ninth-seed at heavyweight, made short work of Oregon State's Clayton Jack, turning the Beaver wrestler twice after a first period takedown to roll to a 9-2 win with over 4:00 in riding time. Wade's win moves him into the second round tonight where he will face eighth-seed Tony Nelson of Minnesota.
The Nittany Lions are 7-1 through one session with two pins and two majors for four bonus points. Both of Penn State's pins are first period falls.
The 2011 NCAA Championships continue this evening at 6:30 P.M. The event will be covered in full by the ESPN family of networks continuing with session two tonight at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3). Action then continues as follows: Friday, March 18 - Session three, 10:30 a.m. (ESPNU & ESPN3 simulcast) - Session four, 7 p.m. (ESPNU & ESPN3 simulcast); 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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