Wrestling in first after one day at NCAA Championships

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team is in first place at the end of the first day of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Penn State was nearly perfect in the evening session, dropping just one of 11 bouts in Wells Fargo Arena. The Nittany Lions went 6-0 in the championship bracket and will send six grapplers into tomorrow morning's national quarterfinals. Head coach Cael Sanderson's crew sits in first place with 32.5 points while Oklahoma State is in second with 29.0.

All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 125, posted a strong 5-2 win over Central Michigan's Christian Cullinan in the second round. Megaludis posted takedowns in the first and second periods and then had a third period escape. The win moves him into tomorrow morning's quarterfinals.

All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 8 seed at 157, capped off a perfect 3-0 day with another major decision. Alton used five takedowns and 2:23 in riding time to roll to a 13-5 major over Rider's Zac Cibula and advance to the national quarterfinals where he will meet top seed Jason Welch of Northwestern.

Two-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the defending champion at 165, began a flurry of Penn State pins. Taylor took Appalachian State's Zach Strickland down twice in the first period and turned the second one into his second first period pin of the day, this one at the 2:41 mark. The victory moves Taylor into tomorrow's national quarterfinals.

Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, taking to the same mat right after Taylor, then bulled through a high double against Pitt's Nick Bonaccorsi in the first period. He finished off the move by planting the Panther's back for another first period pin, this one at 1:30. The win moves Brown into tomorrow's national quarterfinals as well.

Two-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the top seed at 184 and last year's national champ at 174, made it three quick pins in a row, this one over Arizona State's Kevin Radford. Ruth rode a 2-1 lead into the second period and then took Radford down with a low single. He steadily worked his way into yet another cradle and picked up the pin at the 3:41 mark. The third straight quick pin for Penn State moved Ruth into the national quarterfinals.

Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 197 and the '11 champion at 184, took on Drexel's Branden Palik in the second round. Wright battled his way through two periods to a 1-1 tie and then iced the bout with a late takedown. The 3-2 decision makes Wright Penn State's sixth national quarterfinalist.

Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) all stepped into the consolation bracket after first round losses earlier in the day.

Conaway picked up his first career NCAA Championship win, using a takedown midway through the second sudden victory period to post a thrilling 6-4 (sv2) win over Dylan Hyder of Air Force. The win moves Conaway into consolation action tomorrow morning. Pearsall added to Penn State's bonus total, picking up his first NCAA Championship win with an impressive 10-2 major over Maryland's Frank Goodwin. Pearsall turned the Terrapin once in the first period and added two reversals while racking up 2:52 in riding time. The win moves him into tomorrow morning's consolation action.

Andrew Alton then picked up Penn State's fourth pin of the session, planting Army's Daniel Young in the first period. Alton took Young down, gave up an escape and then took him down once more with shoulder control and, after :30 of work, got the fall at the 2:05 mark. Alton also moves into tomorrow morning's consolation action. Lawson began the session for Penn State with a consolation pigtail bout against Utah Valley's Adam Fager. Lawson rebounded from an early deficit with a second period takedown and a third period reversal to post a solid 5-4 win and move into the consolation first round. He met Michigan's Ben Apland in the next conso round. Lawson led into the third period but after choosing down, was turned for three back points and ridden out to drop a 7-3 decision. Lawson bowed out of the tourney with a 1-2 mark and ends his first season as a collegiate wrestler with a 23-9 mark.

The Nittany Lions were nearly perfect in session two with a 10-1 mark and are 17-5 after a day's action. The Nittany Lions have built up 17.5 bonus points off six pins, one tech fall and four majors. Penn State is looking to win its third straight NCAA title after claiming the crown in 2011 in Philadelphia and 2012 in St. Louis.

The event continues tomorrow morning with consolation bouts and the national quarterfinals. Action begins at 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central in the Wells Fargo Arena. The three-day event runs through March 23, concluding Saturday night with the championship finals and the crowning of the team champion. 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.

2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships - Team Standings After Session 2 - -TOP FIVE
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - Wells Fargo Arena - Des Moines, Iowa

1: PENN STATE - 32.5
2: Oklahoma State - 29.0
3: Minnesota - 24.0
4: Iowa - 22.0
5: Oregon State - 16.0

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Last Updated March 22, 2013