No. 1 Penn State ready for 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships

The No. 1-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (15-1, 7-1 B1G Regular Season Co-Champs) will head to Madison, Wisc., on Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, for the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The tournament is the NCAA qualifier for all 12 Big Ten teams and head coach Cael Sanderson's squad will be seeking its fourth-straight Big Ten title.

The Big Ten will qualify 74 wrestlers automatically to the 2014 NCAA Championships in two weeks, the highest among any qualifying event. The conference topped the list overall at each weight class as well. The conference garnered seven at 125, eight at 133, six at 141, six at 149, eight at 157, eight at 165, seven at 174, seven at 184, eight at 197 and nine at 285.

All ten Penn State wrestlers were either ranked among the top 33 in RPI, top 33 in the coaches poll or both. Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) earned the conference a spot at 125 with a No. 2 RPI and No. 2 coaches rank. Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) secured the conference a spot at 133 with a No. 12 RPI and No. 15 ranking. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) grabbed a 141-pound spot for the Big Ten with the nation's No. 1 RPI and a No. 2 nod from the coaches. Senior James English (York, Pa.) was ranked No. 26 in the final coaches poll at 149 but did not meet minimum bouts wrestled for an RPI listing and his win percentage vs. Division I competition was bronze standard, not gold or silver. Junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) earned a 157-pound qualifier for the conference with No 6 RPI and a No. 11 ranking. Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) secured a qualifier at 165 with the nation's No. 1 RPI and the No. 1 nod from the coaches while junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) earned the Big Ten a 174-pound slot with a No. 5 RPI and No. 5 ranking. Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) garnered a qualifier slot at 184 for the conference by virtue of his No. 3 RPI and No. 2 ranking. Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) pocketed a qualifier for the Big Ten at 197 with the No. 2 RPI and a No. 3 nod from the coaches. Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) secured a heavyweight qualifier for the Big Ten with a No. 12 ranking and a No. 14 RPI.

Pre-seeds for the Big Ten tournament will be released on Monday, March 3, but seeds are not official and finalized until after the pre-tournament coaches meeting on Friday, March 7 (post-press).

Penn State's line-up looks to be an explosive mix of veteran scoring power and youthful excellence that has Sanderson's squad prepared to battle for a fourth-straight Big Ten crown. Megaludis comes in with a 23-2 overall record including a pin, five technical falls and 11 majors. He was 6-0 in Big Ten dual meets and went 8-0 against Big Ten competition this year. Gulibon is making his first trip to the Big Ten Championships and will carry a 14-11 overall mark with him. He had one pin, four techs and two majors and was 4-4 in Big Ten duals and 5-5 overall against the conference. Retherford comes in with an unblemished 26-0 record including four pins, two techs and seven majors. He was 8-0 in Big Ten duals and went 9-0 against the league overall. English comes in with an 8-3 overall record, having battled injuries throughout much of the 2013-14 campaign. The sixth-year senior had two techs and two majors and went 0-1 overall against the conference this year. Alton comes in with a 16-2 mark including three pins and a major. The Nittany Lion junior went 4-1 in Big Ten duals and this year.

Taylor, like Retherford, enters his final Big Ten tournament with a perfect 26-0 record, including 12 pins, seven techs and six majors. Taylor went 8-0 in conference duals and 9-0 overall against the league. He has never lost to a Big Ten opponent, sporting a 53-0 career record against the conference. Taylor, along with Ruth, is trying to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten Champion. Brown, the 2013 Big Ten Champion, is 24-3 overall with seven pins, four techs and seven majors. He went 7-1 in conference duals and 9-1 overall this year. Ruth enters the tournament with a 25-1 overall mark, including 10 pins, eight techs and six majors. He went 8-0 in conference dual meets and 10-0 overall this year. Ruth has also never lost to a Big Ten foe, sporting a 52-0 career record against the conference. He, like teammate Taylor, is also looking to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten Champion. McIntosh owns a 25-2 overall record including five pins and 11 majors. He went 7-0 in Big Ten duals and 8-0 overall against the conference this year. Gingrich will carry a 20-5 overall record into his first NCAA Championship tournament. The junior went 1-2 in Big Ten dual meets and 2-3 overall this year.

The Nittany Lions trek to Oklahoma City, Okla., on March 20-22, for the 2014 NCAA Championship at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Penn State is seeking its fourth straight National Championship. The entire NCAA Championship tournament will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPNU with all six sessions featuring multi-mat coverage online via ESPN3. Action begins on Thursday, March 20, at 12 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Central).

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 2013-14 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.

#1 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (15-1, 7-1 B1G dual co-champs)
WT NAME EL HT/HS -- REC
125 #2 Nico Megaludis Jr. Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional -- 23-2
Final RPI: #2 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #2

133 #15 Jimmy Gulibon Fr. Latrobe, Pa./Derry Area -- 14-11
Final RPI: #12 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #15

141 #2 Zain Retherford Fr. Benton, Pa./Benton -- 26-0
Final RPI: #1 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #2

149 James English Sr. York, Pa./Central York -- 8-3
Final RPI: NR Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #26

157 #7 Dylan Alton Jr. Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain -- 16-2
Final RPI: #6 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #11

165 #1 David Taylor Sr. St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham -- 26-0
Final RPI: #1 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #1

174 #4 Matt Brown Jr. West Valley City, Utah/Cyprus -- 24-3
Final RPI: #5 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #5

184 #2 Ed Ruth Sr. Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township -- 25-1
Final RPI: #3 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #2

197 #3 Morgan McIntosh So. Santa Ana, Calif./Calvary Chapel -- 25-2
Final RPI: #2 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #3

285 Jon Gingrich Jr. Wingate, Pa./Bald Eagle Area -- 20-5
Final RPI: #12 Final Coaches Poll Individual Rank: #14

Coaches Poll and RPI are official NCAA as of 2/27
Individual rankings are Intermat and team rankings are Intermat TPI as of 2/25

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Last Updated March 07, 2014