No. 1 Penn State, No. 3 Iowa set for Saturday night showdown

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State (6-0, 1-0 B1G) and Iowa (6-0, 0-0 B1G) wrestling teams will meet in a rare non-conference dual Saturday (Dec. 20) in Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The dual meet, set up by the coaches after the Big Ten schedule did not include a conference date between the teams, is set for a 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central start and will air live on the Big Ten Network. 

The Nittany Lions are coming off a dominating 31-6 win over then sixth-ranked Ohio State on Sunday in Rec Hall. Penn State won eight of the ten bouts against the Buckeyes, highlighted by true freshman Zain Retherford's 4-2 (sv) win over then top-ranked Logan Stieber at 141. Retherford's win earned him Big Ten Wrestler of the Week laurels and vaulted the Lion rookie to No. 2 in the national rankings.

Penn State sports a balanced line-up featuring ten nationally ranked wrestlers, six of whom are sporting unbeaten records with 10 or more victories. Two-time All-American Nico Megaludis is ranked No. 3 at 125 with a 10-1 mark while red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) is ranked No. 15 at 133. Sophomore Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) is ranked in other national polls at 133 as well. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) is 11-0 and ranked No. 2 at 141, having just downed then No. 1 Logan Stieber of Ohio State on Sunday. Junior brothers Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) and Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) are listed as doubtful for the dual and are ranked No. 7 and No. 5 at 149 and 157 respectively. The duo is slated for a late-December return after off-season surgeries. Freshman Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.) is 6-4 at 149 for Penn State while senior James Vollrath (Richboro, Pa.) has been outstanding at 157 with an 8-3 record. All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) is ranked No. 1 at 165, All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) is ranked No. 3 at 174 and All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) is ranked No. 1 at 184. All three grapplers sport identical 11-0 records. Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) is ranked No. 3 at 197 and junior Jimmy Lawson (Tom's River, N.J.) is No. 12 at 285. Each grappler sports a 10-0 record.

Iowa comes in with an identical 6-0 mark. The Hawkeyes have yet to wrestle a conference dual and this one is a non-conference affair. Head coach Tom Brands' crew opens up conference action on January 3, 2014, at Purdue. Iowa shut out Buffalo 46-0 in its last outing on Dec. 12 in Carver-Hawkeye. The Hawkeyes feature a talented and balanced line-up as well, including nine ranked wrestlers. Freshman Cory Clark is 9-0 at ranked No. 4 at 125, senior Tony Ramos is 8-1 and No. 3 at 133, junior Josh Dziewa is 10-1 and No. 9 at 141, senior Derek St. John is 11-0 and No. 1 at 157, junior Nick Moore is No. 4 at 165 with a 5-0 mark, junior Mike Evans is 11-0 and No. 6 at 174, senior Ethan Lofthouse is 10- and No. 2 at 184, sophomore Nathan Burak is No. 10 at 197 but has yet to wrestle (freshman Sammy Brooks has posted a 9-3 mark at 197 to date), and junior Bobby Telford is 6-0 and No. 3 at 285.

The dual meet could feature up to 18 ranked wrestlers depending on the final line-ups, including a number of bouts that would pit top-five ranked grapplers against each other. A total of 12 unbeaten wrestlers (with at least five victories) could compete in the match-up. Iowa leads the all-time series 26-7-2. The Hawkeyes one a tight dual last year in Iowa City, grabbing a 22-16 win on Feb. 1, 2013. The Nittany Lions won the last meeting at Penn State, garnering a 22-12 win in Rec Hall the year before on Jan. 22, 2012.

Penn State heads to Chattanooga, Tenn., on Jan. 1-2, 2014, looking for its fourth straight Southern Scuffle title. The two-day, team-scored tournament, will once again feature a very strong contingent of national powers. Penn State's next home dual is on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, when Purdue visits sold-out Rec Hall for a 2 p.m. dual meet. With the full season of Rec Hall duals sold out prior to the start of the campaign, a very limited number of standing room only tickets are available to a few of the remaining Rec Hall duals. People may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Penn State Athletics ticket office located in the BJC. 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. 

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Last Updated December 19, 2013