Taylor unanimous choice as National Freshman of the Year

University Park, Pa. — Penn State Nittany Lion red-shirt freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) has been named the 2011 National Freshman of the Year by Intermat as a unanimous choice for the honor. Taylor edged out teammates Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), who finished second in the voting, and Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), who finished fifth.

According to Intermat's Mark Palmer, who coordinated release of the award, Taylor is the very definition of "freshman phenom." In his first year wrestling for Penn State, the Ohio native was a near-perfect 38-1, scoring bonus points in 34 of those victories, grabbing the 2011 Big Ten title, and making it to the 157-pound finals at the 2011 NCAA Division I Championships. Taylor was named 2011 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year as well. For all these reasons, Taylor is the unanimous choice for 2011 InterMat Freshman of the Year.

Each year, this honor is awarded to the nation's top freshman wrestler across all divisions of college competition, and is determined by a vote of InterMat writers and executives. Taylor received all 14 first-place votes, for a total of 126 points. In second place was Penn State teammate Ruth (winner of the Gorriaran Award for most pins in the shortest time at the 2011 NCAAs), with 94 points. Alton was in fifth with 19 points.

Taylor joins a stellar list of InterMat Freshman of Year honorees. Last year, Kyle Dake of Cornell University received the award. Others include Wisconsin's Andrew Howe (2009), Cornell's Mike Grey (2008), Iowa State's Jake Varner (2007), and Minnesota's Dustin Schlatter (2006).

In his first season as a Nittany Lion, Taylor had captured the imaginations of wrestling writers and fans. Back in January, Craig Sesker of TheMat.com said, "Taylor has taken the college wrestling world by storm as a redshirt freshman." Just prior to the NCAAs, Tim Leone of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News described Taylor as "a precocious redshirt freshman with supernatural skill and supernatural cool."

"David Taylor was the most dominating individual in college wrestling all season, save for one match," said InterMat staff writer T.R. Foley. "Winners win and make those around them perform better, and Taylor was able to impact those around him in a positive way all season."

Taylor's credentials were well established long before setting foot in the Penn State wrestling room. The product of St. Paris, Ohio was a four-time state champ for St. Paris Graham High School, one of the powerhouse prep programs in the nation. He compiled a phenomenal 180-2 record in high school, winning four Beast of the East and a like number of Ironman championships. Taylor also garnered three Cadet and two Junior National titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman competition. He completed his prep career by being named the recipient of the 2009 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.

2011 InterMat Freshman of the Year
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. David Taylor, Penn State, 126 (14)
2. Ed Ruth, Penn State, 94
3. Derek St. John, Iowa, 33
4. Kevin Steinhaus, Minnesota, 27
5. Andrew Alton, Penn State, 19
6. Tony Nelson, Minnesota, 17
7. Tony Ramos, Iowa, 14
8. Spencer Myers, Maryland, 9
9. Eric Grajales, Michigan, 5
T10. Devin Carter, Virginia Tech, 3
T10. Alan Waters, Missouri, 3

The Nittany Lions are coming off a stunning 2010-11 season that saw them post a 17-1-1 dual meet record, claim their first ever Big Ten Championship and win the 2011 NCAA Championship for the first time since 1953. Fans wishing to purchase 2011 Penn State Wrestling NCAA Championship gear can do so now by visiting the online store at www.GoPSUsports.com/store . Season tickets for the 2011-12 season are disappearing fast as well. Fans may make deposits on new season tickets by following the information available online at is www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets/m-wrestl-tickets.html.

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Last Updated April 08, 2011