Nittany Lion wrestlers seek third consecutive NCAA title

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (13-1, 7-1 B1G), ranked No. 1 nationally in Intermat's TPI, will send a full contingent of 10 wrestlers to the 2013 NCAA Championships on March 21-23, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. The three-day event takes place at Wells Fargo Arena and begins at noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT on Thursday.

The Nittany Lions, under the guidance of head coach Cael Sanderson, are coming off their third straight Big Ten Championship and have won the last two NCAA Championships (in Philadelphia in 2011 and in St. Louis in 2012).

The NCAA released the full brackets for the event on Wednesday, March 13, and eight of Penn State's 10 wrestlers are seeded. Penn State, which posted a 13-1 regular season mark, went 7-1 in Big Ten duals and claimed its third straight Big Ten crown, had four Big Ten champions at that event and all four of those titlists earned lofty seeds. In all, Penn State has six wrestlers seeded in the top eight (a one, three two's, a four and an eight).

Defending NCAA 174-pound champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) will carry a perfect 28-0 record (and a 63-match win streak) into the NCAA championships as the No. 1 seed at 184. With a 97-2 career record, the two-time All-American is nearing the 100-career win mark. Ruth will begin his championship quest against Lock Haven's Fred Garcia. The winner of the Ruth/Garcia bout takes on the winner of Canaan Bethea (Penn)/Kevin Radford (Arizona State). Ruth posted a 17-2 tech fall over Garcia in a dual in December.

Defending NCAA 165-pound champion David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) will bring his 26-1 mark into the tournament as the No. 2 seed. With a 96-2 career record, the two-time All-American is nearing the 100-career win mark. Taylor will begin his NCAA title quest against North Carolina's John Staudenmayer. The winner of that match-up will take on the winner of Peyton Walsh (Navy)/Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan).

Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) enters his first NCAA tournament as the 174-pound Big Ten Champion. Brown brings a 25-4 mark into the tournament and is the No. 2 seed. He will take on Todd Porter of Missouri in the opening round. The winner of the Brown/Porter battle will meet the winner of the Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt)/Billy Curling (Old Dominion) bout. Brown beat Porter 9-4 in the Southern Scuffle.

Three-time All-American (and 2011 184-pound champion) Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) will be the No. 2 seed at 197 and is unbeaten at 27-0 on the year. With a 111-23 career record, the Lion senior continues to move up Penn State's all-time wins list (he is currently 14th). Wright will begin his journey to become Penn State's sixth four-time All-American against Rider's Donald McNeil. The winner of that bout takes on the winner of Michael Salopek (Virginia)/Brandon Palik (Drexel).

All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the 2012 National Runner-Up at 125, will be the No. 4 seed at 125. Megaludis is 24-3 heading to Des Moines and will wrestle Ohio's Kevon Powell in the first round. The winner of the Powell match will take on the winner of the Christian Cullinan (Central Michigan)/Joe DeAngelo (N.C. State) bout.

All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the third place finisher at 157 last year in St. Louis, will be the No. 8 seed this year. Alton is 25-6 overall and will be Penn State's lone pigtail wrestler. Alton will meet Columbia's Jake O'Hara in the first round. The winner of that bout takes on Pitt's Donnie Tasser in the first round. Alton has not wrestled O'Hara this year and has beaten Tasser twice (3-2 and 7-3).

Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) will be making his second appearance at the NCAA Championships having advanced to the round of 12 at 141 two years ago. Alton will be the No. 11 seed at 149 this year with a 26-4 record and will face Missouri's Drake Houdashelt in the opening round. The winner of that match takes on the winner of the No. 6 Dylan Ness (Minnesota)/Daniel Young (Army) bout.

Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) has excelled at 133 pounds for Penn State and is headed to the NCAA Championships in his first year in the line-up. Conaway will be the No. 12 seed with a 16-8 record and will meet Rutgers' Vincent Dellafave in the first round. Conaway beat Dellafave 6-1 in the dual finale on Feb. 24. The winner takes on the winner of the No, 5 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota)/Dylan Hyder (Air Force) bout.

Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) advanced to his first NCAA Championship with a strong fifth place showing at Big Tens last weekend. Unseeded at 141, Pearsall is 23-9 overall and will make his NCAA tourney debut against the pigtail winner of Connor Hanafee (Army) and Joey Lazor (Northern Iowa). The winner of Pearsall's first bout will meet the winner of No. 2 Kendric Maple (Oklahoma)/Frank Goodwin (Maryland).

Sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) will head to his first NCAA Championship at 285 unseeded. Lawson is 22-7 overall and will make his NCAA tourney debut against Ohio's Jeremy Johnson. The winner of the Lawson/Johnson bout meets the winner of No. 3 Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State)/Ben Apland (Michigan). Lawson dropped a 7-2 decision to Johnson earlier in the year at the Southern Scuffle.

The NCAA also announced that for the first time, the Championship Finals on Saturday night will begin at 174-pounds, wrapping around and concluding with the 165-pound title bout.

Penn State will be looking to win its third straight NCAA crown. Since Sanderson's arrival prior to the 2010-11 season, Penn State has won two NCAA Championships, three Big Ten Championships, two Southern Scuffle titles, the Big Ten regular season title, posted an 18-5-1 mark in Big Ten duals and gone 57-9-2 overall in duals. Sanderson's Lions have earned 13 Big Ten Champions (and have gone a perfect 13-0 in Big Ten finals), 33 national qualifiers, 14 All-Americans and four National Champions in this, his fourth season. Last season, Penn State ran away with its second straight NCAA team title, garnering 143.5 points, 25 points ahead of any other team. Penn State had five finalists, with Frank Molinaro (149), Taylor (165) and Ruth (174) winning crowns and Megaludis (125) and Wright (184) earning Runner-Up status. Last year's point total was an all-time school record and more than half (six) of Penn State's starting line-up finished in the top three as Dylan Alton took third at 157.

Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2012-13 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.

PENN STATE'S 2013 NCAA QUALIFIERS
#1 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (13-1, 7-1 B1G, B1G CHAMPS)
WT NAME EL HT/HS REC
125 #4 Nico Megaludis So. Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional 24-3
#3 Coaches/#7 RPI/#4 Intermat -- 4th seed

133 #12 Jordan Conaway Fr. Abbottstown, Pa./New Oxford 16-8
#12 Coaches/#10 RPI/#11 Intermat -- 12th seed

141 Bryan Pearsall Sr. Lititz, Pa./Warwick 23-9
#21 Coaches/#18 RPI/NR Intermat -- unseeded

149 #11 Andrew Alton So. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 26-4
#13 Coaches/#6 RPI/#12 Intermat -- 11th seed

157 #8 Dylan Alton So. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain 25-6
#5 Coaches/#1 RPI/#8 Intermat -- 8th seed

165 #2 David Taylor Jr. St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham 26-1
#2 Coaches/#1 RPI/#2 Intermat -- 2013 Big Ten Champion -- 2nd seed

174 #2 Matt Brown So. West Valley City, Utah/Cyprus 25-4
#7 Coaches/#6 RPI/#4 Intermat -- 2013 Big Ten Champion -- 2nd seed

184 #1 Ed Ruth Jr. Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township 28-0
#1 Coaches/#2 RPI/#1 Intermat -- 2013 Big Ten Champion -- 1st seed

197 #2 Quentin Wright Sr. Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area 27-0
#2 Coaches/#4 RPI/#2 Intermat -- 2013 Big Ten Champion -- 2nd seed

285 Jimmy Lawson So. Tom's River, N.J./Manchester Township 22-7
#12 Coaches/#10 RPI/#12 Intermat -- unseeded

Individual rankings are OFFICIAL NCAA TOURNAMENT SEED
Team Ranking is Intermat TPI as of 3/13/13
Coaches Rankings and RPI as of 2/28/13 (NCAA official)

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Last Updated June 20, 2014