Five Lions in finals as Penn State wrestling widens lead at NCAA Championships

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will send five wrestlers to the national finals of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, as head coach Cael Sanderson's squad went a perfect 5-0 in Friday night's semifinals. The dazzling performance keeps Penn State in first place with 114.5 points, more than 20 points ahead of second place Oklahoma State's 94.0.

Sophomore Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 125, was Penn State's first semifinalist, taking on top seeded Alan Waters of Missouri. The duo battled evenly throughout the bout. With Waters slowing the pace down, Megaludis' patience kept the bout scoreless through the first period. Waters chose down to start the second and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Trailing by one, Megaludis chose down to start the third and escaped as well. But neither wrestler scored again and the bout went into a first sudden victory period.

After a scoreless minute, each wrestler completed a ride-out, keeping the bout tied at 1-1 into a second sudden victory period. Like the first one, this extra :60 was scoreless as well and the match entered a second and final tie-breaker. This time, Megaludis was down first and escaped in just seconds to a 2-1 lead. Waters then took down and did escape but not until the :04 mark. Tied at 2-2, Megaludis got the victory on criteria, a riding time of :18. The win pushed Megaludis into his second NCAA championship bout in as many years against No. 2 seed Jesse Delgado of Illinois tomorrow night.

Defending NCAA Champion David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), the No. 2 seed at 165, took to the mat in the semifinals against No. 3 seed Peter Yates of Virginia Tech. Taylor advanced to the national finals for the third straight year in blazing fashion, picking up his fourth pin in as many bouts. After fighting off a Yates shot, Taylor got his own takedown and led 2-1 after a Yates escape. During the scramble, Taylor called for a brief injury timeout, giving Yates the choice on the reset. Taylor forced Yates into two stalls to pick up a point and then reversed him and took him to his back to lead 7-1 after one period.

The second period began with Taylor on bottom. The Lion escaped quickly then moved in for a cradle. The Lion junior quickly locked the cradle up and finished off the bout with a pin at the 3:24 mark. Taylor is 4-0 with four falls in less than 10:00 minutes total time (three in the first period and one in the second). The win was also the 100th of Taylor's career. He will meet No. 1 seed Kyle Dake of Cornell in the national finals tomorrow night.

Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, faced off against No. 6 Logan Storley of Minnesota in the semifinals. Brown opened up an early lead with a takedown in the first period. Storley notched an escape to cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the second stanza. Brown took down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. The duo battled evenly for the rest of the period and Brown led 3-1 after two.

Storley took down to start the third and steadily worked his way to an escape, cutting Brown's lead to 3-2. Brown then battled Storley for the rest of the bout and advanced to the national finals with a 3-2 win. Brown has won ten straight bouts dating back to Feb. 17 and will take on No. 1 seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State.

Defending NCAA 174-pound Champion Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), the top seed at 184, met No. 4 Steve Bosak of Cornell, last year's NCAA Champion at 184. Ruth scored quickly on Bosak, opening up a fast 2-1 lead after the Big Red grappler escaped. The duo then battled through an even first period with Bosak picking up a stall warning in the process.

The second period featured only a Ruth escape, giving the Lion a 3-1 lead after two periods. Bosak chose down to start the third period and Ruth put together a crushing ride, controlling the Big Red grappler for the entire period and rolling up 1:51 in riding time. The ride-out and point gave Ruth a 4-1 win and moved him into his second straight national final. Ruth will face No. 3 seed Robert Hamlin of Lehigh in the national finals tomorrow night.

Senior Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 197 and Penn State's newest four-time All-American, faced No. 3 Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh in the semifinals at 197. In a wild rematch of a bout Wright won earlier in the year in Pittsburgh, the high-powered duo wrestled through a scoreless first period. Wilps chose down to start the second and quickly escaped and, after no takedowns in that period, Wright chose down to start the third and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie.

Wright initiated a scramble late that Wilps nearly turned into a pin. But Wright moved out of trouble and the clock hit zeroes, sending the bout to sudden victory. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Wilps chose down and escaped in just :05. Wright then matched that in his tie-breaker period, escaping in :05. The match went to a second sudden victory tied 2-2. Another scoreless minute passed, setting up a final second tie-breaker. Wright chose down to start the bout and escaped in just :05 again. Wilps then took down for his session and Wright held the Panther for :08 and, by virtue of :03 in riding time, claimed the 2-2 (TB2, RT :03) decision. The win sends Wright to his third straight NCAA title bout. He won at 184 two years ago and lost in the finals last year. He will meet No. 1 seed Dustin Kilgore of Kent State.

Red-shirt freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) faced No. 8 Cody Brewer of Oklahoma in the round of 12, needing one win to become a freshman All-American for Penn State. Conaway fell behind early to the Sooner, giving up two takedowns and three back points to trail 7-1 after the opening period. Brewer would end Conaway's tournament, one win shy of All-American status, with Conaway fell behind early to the Sooner, giving up two takedowns and three back points to trail 7-1 after the opening period. Brewer would end Conaway's tournament, one win shy of All-American status, with a 14-4 decision. Conaway ended his tournament with a 3-2 record and a pin and ends his freshman campaign in the round of 12 with a 19-10 record.

Sophomore Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), the No. 8 seed at 157, met No. 4 seed James Green of Nebraska in the round of 12, needing a victory to become a two-time All-American. Green proved too much this time round, avenging an early season loss to Alton. Alton fell behind early and dropped a 14-4 bout. Alton ends his tournament with a 3-2 mark in the round of 12 and ends his sophomore campaign with a 28-8 record.

Every member of Penn State's 10-man contingent has added points to Penn State's team total. Senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.) went 1-2 with a major at 141, sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) went 1-2 with a pin at 149 and sophomore Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) went 1-2 at heavyweight.

Taylor's win was the 100th of his career as the Lion junior sits at 100-2. He is now tied with fellow finalist Quentin Wright for second all-time on Penn State's career falls list with 37. Ruth is close behind at fourth all-time with 35. Wright has 115 career wins now and is tied for 11th all-time at Penn State. This marks the second time in the last three years that Penn State has five wrestlers in the national finals (2011) and the third time overall (1993).

The Nittany Lions went 5-2 in session four and are 29-10 after two full days of wrestling. Penn State has collected 28.5 bonus points off ten pins, one tech fall and seven 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 tournament continues tomorrow morning with the consolation semifinals and all placing bouts. Action begins at 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central. The event then concludes with the national finals tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central, live on ESPN. 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 4 - -TOP FIVE Friday, March 22, 2013 - Wells Fargo Arena - Des Moines, Iowa

1: PENN STATE - 114.5
2: Oklahoma State - 94.0
3: Minnesota - 86.0
4: Iowa - 68.0
5: Cornell - 51.0

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Last Updated June 20, 2014