Three Nittany Lions advance at NCAA Wrestling Championships

March 21, 2008

St. Louis, Mo. — The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team continued its solid performance at the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships by advancing three wrestlers to the national quarterfinals Friday morning. Senior Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), sophomore Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) and sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) all advanced with 2-0 days and three other Lions are alive in consolation action. 

Jenkins was the first Lion through to the quarterfinals with a hard fought 4-3 win over defending national runner-up Ryan Lang of Northwestern. Vallimont followed that up with a dominating 10-7 victory over Central Michigan's Steven Brown. Davis then handled Purdue's Logan Brown, drilling the Boilermaker by a 9-2 score. 

Three other Nittany Lions remain alive in consolation action. Senior Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.) at 125 and freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) at 141 each had their upset bids come up short as each lost to the No. 5 seeds at their respective weights. Sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) also came back with convincing major decision over Hofstra's Ryan Patrovich in the consolations, garnering an important team bonus point in the process. Junior Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.) was the only Nittany Lion eliminated today, dropping a hard-fought 4-2 decision to 5th seeded Josh Weitzel of Oklahoma.

In all, Penn State went 9-5 on day one. The Nittany Lions have 17.5 team points, just 12 points out of first place in a tightly bundled top ten. Iowa leads the team race with 29.5 points.

Action continues Friday morning at 10 a.m. (Central) with the quarterfinals and two rounds of consolations. The three day event runs through Saturday night's finals. This year's tournament is being held in St. Louis' Scottrade Center.


125: Senior 125-pounder Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.), fresh off an upset of No. 12 Tyler Shinn of Oklahoma State in the opening round, took on No. 5 Charlie Falck of Iowa in the second round. Falck notched the first takedown of the bout, getting McKnight down for a 2-1 lead (after a McKnight escape) at the 1:42 mark. McKnight gained control of Falck's right leg with :20 left and worked for a go ahead takedown, but the Hawkeye managed to fight off the move long enough for the first period to end. Falck chose down to begin the middle stanza and escaped to a 3-1 lead just ten seconds into the period. Falck shot low on McKnight at the 1:20 mark, but McKnight rolled under the move and forced a reset with 1:03 left in the second period. Neither wrestler dented the scoreboard in the period's last minute and Falck led 3-1 heading into the final stanza. McKnight chose down to begin the third period and quickly escaped. Falck then iced the bout with a takedown after a long scramble with :40 left, upping his lead to 5-2. Falck then rode McKnight out to post a hard-fought 5-2 win. The loss sends McKnight into Friday morning's consolation action where he will face UC-Davis' Marcus Orozco.

141: True freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.), the 12th seed at 141, met 5th seed Manuel Rivera of Minnesota. Scott, who pinned his first round opponent, quickly got control of Rivera's right leg, spending nearly a minute for a takedown that never came as Rivera managed to get out of play to force a reset at the 2:15 mark. But Scott was relentless, once again dictating the pace, completing a high single leg and forcing Rivera into a defensive posture once more. The talented Gopher forced another reset with 1:30 left in a furious opening period. The third time was the charm for Scott as one more single leg led to a takedown with :45 left and a 2-0 Scott lead. The Nittany Lion freshmen then put together a strong ride, keeping Rivera down for the remainder of the period to lead 2-0 after one period. Leading by two, Scott chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Rivera gained control of Scott's waste and got his first takedown, cutting Scott's lead to 3-2 at the 1:11 mark. Scott waved for an injury timeout to come and look at the knee he injured in Big Tens two weekends ago. Scott worked hard to escape, but Rivera managed to turn the Nittany Lion for three back points with under ten seconds left to lead 5-3 after two periods. Rivera chose neutral to start the third period and quickly took the Nittany Lion freshman down, upping his lead to 7-3 with 1:20, working to stave off the upset bid by Scott. With :30 left, Scott reversed Rivera to cut the Gopher lead to 7-5 and with under a minute left, tried gallantly to turn the fifth-seeded gopher for back points. But Rivera had enough down the stretch to hold off Scott's last second efforts and, with a riding time point, posted an 8-5 win. The loss sends Scott into Friday morning's wrestle backs where he will meet 11th seed Kevin Sulzer of Northwestern.

149: Sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.), the 6th seed at 149, met defending national runner-up Ryan Lang of Northwestern in the second round. Lang was the 11th seed. The bout between these two wrestlers earlier this year was a high-powered, 11-8 Jenkins win in Northwestern. This one got off to a calmer start, with neither man finding an early opening to do any damage. With 1:45 left, Lang tried his first shoulder roll on Jenkins and the Nittany Lion sophomore easily rolled through it to keep things scoreless early. Jenkins used a quick ankle pick and a trip to get his first takedown with :59 left in the period, opening up a 2-0 lead. But Lang quickly reversed Jenkins to tie the bout with :28 left in the period. A Jenkins escape gave the Nittany Lion a 3-2 lead which he carried into the second period. Lang chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to tie the score at 3-3. Jenkins nearly duplicated his ankle pick takedown as the second period ended, but Lang was able to slip out of the Lion's grasp and keep the bout tied heading into the final period. Jenkins chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a slim 4-3 lead. Lang looked to gain control of Jenkins' right leg, but the Lion sophomore fought through the effort and maintained his lead as the clock wound down below 1:00. After a reset at the :20 mark, Lang gained control of Jenkins' ankle one more time and nearly got a winning takedown, but Jenkins was able to slide out of bounds and secure a 4-3 win. The victory moved the sophomore into the national quarterfinals Friday morning where he will face No. 3 seed J.P. O'Connor of Harvard. 

157: Big Ten Runner-Up Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), the 3rd seed at 157, survived a sudden victory scare in the opening round and faced Central Michigan's Steven Brown in round two. Vallimont quickly set the tempo, gaining control of Brown's right leg and steadily scrambling through for a go-ahead takedown at the 2:08 mark. The sophomore, in his first year wrestling up at 157, then rode Brown for :39 seconds before the CMU man escaped to a 2-1 deficit. But Vallimont was relentless, quickly gaining control of Brown's waste and upping his lead to 4-1 with a strong move at the :45 mark. Brown escaped to a 4-2 deficit with under :30 left in the period. Leading 4-2, Vallimont chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Vallimont once again powered himself to another takedown, taking a 7-2 lead with 1:20 left in the period. Sensing bonus points, Vallimont cut Brown loose after securing a 1:23 riding time edge and began working for another takedown. But Brown managed to keep Vallimont at a distance to wind down the period. Trailing 7-3, Brown chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 7-4 deficit. Vallimont then deftly stepped under a Brown shot to take a 9-5 lead (after a Brown escape). Brown countered a Vallimont shot with :12 left to get his first takedown but the points did not dampen a dominating 10-7 Vallimont win (with the riding time point). Vallimont's win pushes him into Friday morning's national quarterfinals where he will meet 11th seeded Tyler Sherfey of Boise State.

197: Second-seeded Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) had a quick first round pin in his opening match earlier in the day and moved onto a second round encounter with Purdue's Logan Brown. Davis was the early aggressor, shooting constantly as the Boilermaker grappler backed off towards the outside circle. But Davis continued to shoot and with :50 left in the period, caught Brown's ankle and tripped the Purdue man to the mat for a go-ahead takedown at the :39 mark. Davis then rode Brown hard for the rest of the period, forcing his opponent's face into the mat and leading 2-0 after the opening three minutes of action. Brown chose neutral to start the second period and immediately used a strong double-leg to take Davis to the mat. Davis quickly escaped to lead 3-2 and then began working for another takedown. Brown continued to back away from each Davis shot, keeping the Lion senior from notching another score. But with :08 left, Brown shot on Davis, gained control of his ankle and looked to get a takedown. But Davis calmly worked around and over the Boilermaker grappler for a takedown of his own and a 5-2 lead after two periods. Davis chose down to start the final stanza and quickly escaped to a 6-2 lead. Davis slipped behind Brown for another takedown and an 8-2 lead with 1:00 left in the bout. Davis then rode the Boilermaker out for a workmanlike 9-2 win and a date in tomorrow's quarterfinals. Davis will take on Maryland's Hudson Taylor, the 7th seed, Friday morning.

165: Sophomore 165-pounder Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) looked to remain alive with a first-round consolation bout against Hofstra's Ryan Patrovich. Rella, who dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to the 12th seed in the opening round, quickly got in on Patrovich's waist. But the duo scrambled for the next :40 to a stalemate at the 2:04 mark. But Rella continued to pressure Patrovich and with :56 left, the Lion sophomore completed a low double and gave himself a 2-0 lead. Patrovich escaped with :36 left to cut Rella's lead to 2-1. With just :10 left, Rella used a fast diving double-leg to take down Patrovich again and lead 4-1 after one period. Rella chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-1 lead. He then followed that up with a third takedown, this one with 1:40 left, to up his lead to 7-1. A Patrovich escape cut Rella's lead to 7-2, but the Nittany Lion continued to dominate the Pride grappler, getting another takedown on the edge of the mat with just under a minute left in the period. Leading 9-2 with over a minute in riding time, Rella put together a very strong ride, keeping Patrovich under control for the entire period to lead 9-2 heading into the final stanza. Patrovich chose down to begin the third period and escaped to a 9-3 deficit with 1:40 left in the bout. Rella poured on the offense, however, throwing Patrovich to the mat for an 11-3 lead with 1:15 left to wrestle. The Nittany Lion sophomore, with a riding time point now assured, began working for a major decision. Patrovich escaped to cut the lead to 11-4, but Rella was relentless. He countered a Patrovich shot for a quick takedown and a 13-5 lead (after cutting the Pride grappler) and rolled on to a convincing 14-5 major decision. The win moves Rella, who went 1-1 on the day, into the second round of consolations where he will meet 11th seed Kurt Gross of Kent State Friday morning.

184: Junior 184-pounder Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.) needed to score an early upset in consolation action as he faced No. 5 seed Joshua Weitzel of Oklahoma in his first wrestle back. Neither man found any openings through the bulk of the opening period. A slight Weitzel shot on the edge of the mat with :20 left was the first real offensive chance in the bout. Bomberger countered with a solid shot of his own as the period ended but after three minutes, it was 0-0. Bomberger chose neutral to begin the second period. Like the first stanza, openings were hard to come by for each man and the bout remained scoreless once again. Tied 0-0, Weitzel chose down to begin the final period and Bomberger cut him immediately to a 1-0 deficit. The Nittany Lion sophomore then stunned the Sooner with a quick takedown at the 1;45 mark to briefly lead 2-1. Needing more than one takedown, Bomberger cut Weitzel loose and with 1:38 left, the match was tied at 2-2. With :42 left in the bout, Weitzel shot low on Bomberger, looking to score on a single leg. Bomberger countered the move and forced a scramble. But Weitzel continued through and with :11 left, got the winning takedown to post a hard-fought 4-2 victory. The loss ends Bomberger's tournament run. The Nittany Lion junior went 0-2 in his first NCAA tournament and posted a 19-10 record this year. Bomberger was ranked in the nation's top 20 for most of the season as well.

2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships

Team Standings - After Session 2

1: Iowa - 29.5

2: Nebraska - 26.5

3: Iowa State - 25.0

4: Minnesota - 24.0

4: Central Michigan - 24.0

6. Oklahoma - 23.0

6. Missouri - 23.0

8. Ohio State - 22.0

9. PENN STATE - 17.5

9. Cornell - 17.5

Penn State's record overall: 9-5

Penn State Agate (All # are tournament seeds)

125 -- Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette), Sr.

Tournament Record: 1-1 - Overall Record now: 14-10

Rd. 1: W, 5-1 dec. #12 Tyler Shinn, Oklahoma State

Rd. 2: L, 2-5 dec. #5 Charlie Falck, Iowa

Cn. Rd. 2: vs. Marcus Orozco, UC-Davis, tomorrow morning


141 - Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley), #12 seed, Fr.

Tournament Record: 1-1 - Overall Record now: 19-6

Rd. 1: WBF over Carter Downing, Wyoming (3:32)

Rd. 2: L, 5-8 dec. #5 Manuel Rivera, Minnesota

Cn. Rd. 2: vs. #11 Keith Sulzer, Northwestern, tomorrow morning


149 - Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial), #6 seed, So.

Tournament Record: 2-0 - Overall Record now: 24-5

Rd. 1: W, 15-5 maj. dec. Bryce Saddoris, Navy

Rd. 2: W, 4-3 dec. #11 Ryan Lang, Northwestern

Qtrs: vs. #3 J.P. O'Connor, Harvard, tomorrow morning


157 - Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Jefferson Twp.), #3 seed, So.

Tournament Record: 2-0 - Overall Record now: 29-2

Rd. 1: W, 8-6 (sv) dec. Seth Garvin, Chattanooga

Rd. 2: W, 10-7 dec. Steven Brown, Central Michigan

Qtrs: vs. #11 Tyler Sherfey, Boise State, tomorrow morning


165 - Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), So.

Tournament Record: 1-1 - Overall Record now: 16-15

Rd. 1: L, 1-3 dec. #12 Jarrod King, Edinboro

Cn. Rd. 1: W, 14-5 maj. dec. Ryan Patrovich, Hofstra

Cn. Rd. 2: vs. #11 Kurt Gross, Kent State, tomorrow morning


184 - Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa./Juniata), Jr. - SEASON COMPLETE

Tournament Record: 0-2 - Overall Record now: 19-10

Rd. 1: LBF vs. #12 Jack Jensen, Oklahoma State

Cn. Rd. 1: L, 2-4 dec. #5 seed Josh Weitzel, Oklahoma


197 - Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg), #2 seed, Sr.

Tournament Record: 2-0 - Overall Record now: 23-1

Rd. 1: WBF over Riley Orozco, Cal-State Bakersfield (1:47)

Rd. 2: W, 9-2 dec. Logan Brown, Purdue

Qtrs: vs. #7 Hudson Taylor, Maryland, tomorrow morning

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Last Updated March 19, 2009