Philadelphia — The Penn State Nittany Lions have won the 2011 NCAA Wrestling national championship in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. It is the school's first title since 1953 and the first east coast school to win the crown since that year. Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) claimed the individual national crown at 184 as Penn State outdistanced Cornell and Iowa for the championship.
Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson, the 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year, earned his first collegiate national team title as a coach or wrestler as the Nittany Lions won the team race with 107.5 points. Cornell took second place with 93.5 and Iowa was third with 86.5.
Junior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), now a three-time All-American, opened up Penn State's championship session in the title tilt at 149. Molinaro took on Cornell's Kyle Dake but found the footing rough against last year's national champion at 141. The Cornell grappler notched an early takedown in the first, three back points in the second and a reversal and riding time point to notch an 8-1 win. The loss means Molinaro ends the season as the 2011 National Runner-Up at 149 pounds. He is Penn State's 19th three-time All-American, having finished 8th at 141 in 2009, 6th at 149 last year and 2nd at 149 this year. Molinaro ends the campaign with a 32-3 record after going 4-1 at this year's tournament. Molinaro heads into his senior season with an 88-29 overall record.
Red-shirt freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), a first time All-American for Penn State, took on Arizona State's Bubba Jenkins in the championship bout at 157. The duo wrestled evenly for the first period with Taylor taking two shots that Jenkins managed to counter and turn into stalemates. Taylor took down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. The Lion freshman then got in on a single leg that Jenkins countered once more, forcing a scramble that Jenkins used to catch Taylor in a cradle. Jenkins pinned Taylor at the 4:14 mark, ending Taylor's unbeaten season. The loss means Taylor is the 2011 National Runner-Up at 157. The freshman All-American went 4-1 at his first NCAA tournament and posted a superb 38-1 overall record, with 34 of his wins earning bonus points.
Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), now a two-time All-American, battled Lehigh's Robert Hamlin in the national final at 184, coming away with a convincing 5-2 win. Wright and Hamlin battled each other evenly for the first period, with neither man scoring any point in the opening three minutes. Wright chose down to start the second period and escaped quickly to a 1-0 lead. From there the floodgates opened for the Penn State sophomore. He quickly took Hamlin down for a 3-0 lead and then, after a Hamlin escape, took the Mountain Hawk down one more time. Wright rode the 5-2 lead through the third period and claimed the 2011 NCAA National title at 184. Wright ends a stunning March with a 21-6 record after a perfect 5-0 run through nationals. Now a two-time All-American, Wright will head into his sophomore year with a 54-19 record.
Penn State ends the 2011 National Championships with a superb 29-10 overall record. The Nittany Lions collected 16.5 bonus points from six 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 1998. The record is eight set in 1987. While Penn State is the first east coast team to win the championship since the Nittany Lions won it in 1953, the only other team east of the Mississippi river to win a national title since that year was Michigan State, which won the crown in 1967. Freshman All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the third place finisher at 174, won the tournament's Gorriaran Award, given to the wrestler who has the most pins in the least amount of time. Ruth had two pins in 1:06, including one in :24.
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 . A welcome celebration for the Nittany Lions will take place upon the team's arrival back in State College tomorrow in front of Rec Hall. Details will be available later tonight as it will be added to the TOP of this release, tweeted at www.twitter.com/pennstatepat and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2010-11 Penn State Wrestling season has been presented by The Family Clothesline.
2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships - After Session 6 - FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
Saturday, March 19, 2011 - Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pa.
1: PENN STATE - 107.5
2: Cornell - 93.5
3: Iowa - 86.5
4: Oklahoma State - 70.5
5: American - 65.0
6: Arizona State - 62.5
7: Minnesota - 61.0
8: Lehigh - 58.5
9: Boise State - 57.5
10: Wisconsin - 54.5
CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS RECAP:
125: #1 Anthony Robles ARIZ ST. dec. #2 Matt McDonough IOWA, 7-1
133: #1 Jordan Oliver OKLA ST. dec. #2 Andrew Hochstrasser BOISE ST., 8-4
141: #1 Kellen Russell MICH dec. #3 Boris Novochkov CAL POLY, 3-2
149: #4 Kyle Dake CORNELL dec. Frank Molinaro PSU, 8-1
157: #4 Bubba Jenkins ARIZ ST. pinned #3 David Taylor PSU, WBF (4:14)
165: #1 Jordan Burroughs NEB maj. dec. Tyler Caldwell OKLA, 11-3
174: #1 Jon Reader IOWA ST dec. #7 Nick Amuchastegui STAN, 10-3
184: #9 Quentin Wright PSU dec. #2 Robert Hamlin LEH, 5-2
197: #4 Dustin Kilgore KSU WBF #2 Clayton Foster OKLA ST. (4:56)
285: #1 Zach Rey LEH dec. #3 Ryan Flores AMER, 2-1