EVANSTON, Ill. – Because of a knee injury that kept him out of action on two occasions, Brad Pataky of Clearfield had a tough redshirt senior season and certainly didn’t envision his final trip to the Big 10 Conference championships ending with a seventh-place bout.
But the 125-pounder’s technical fall early Sunday afternoon in Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena proved every bit as important as any later win by No. 5-ranked Penn State’s other eight placewinners, including five champions, when the final team standings flashed the Nittany Lions with 139 points, one more than Iowa.
Beating Michigan State’s Eric Olanowski for the second time in as many days provided an extra team point, and the 16-1 tech fall was worth another point and a half, though Pataky’s victory wasn’t as dramatic as heavyweight Cameron Wade’s major decision in the fifth-place match that clinched Penn State’s first conference title.
When the Nittany Lions posed with the championship trophy, Pataky was every bit as happy as his teammates though falling short of his No. 4 seed.
Ranked No. 10 by InterMat, the Nittany Lion bantam had opened by tech falling Olanowski. He took down the Spartan redshirt junior in each period, earning a pair of three-point nearfalls in the middle period and piling up more than four minutes of riding time for the point that made it 15-0 at the buzzer.
Michigan’s No. 5 seed Sean Boyle slowed him down in the quarterfinals, building a 7-0 lead through two periods. Pataky closed to within 8-5 with two takedowns and a stalling point, but the Wolverine protected his lead for a 9-5 decision.
The two had met at the Southern Scuffle when Pataky came off the injury list at the end of December, and Boyle posted an 11-3 major decision.
In his first wrestleback, Pataky dominated Ohio State’s Bo Touris for a 17-0 technical fall in 4:57. He worked two takedowns and put Touris on his back five times.
Next up was Wisconsin’s Tom Kelliher, whom Pataky had beaten 10-5 in his final Rec Hall appearance on Feb. 17. However, the eighth-seeded Badger got revenge by pulling out a 3-2 upset with a last-second takedown.
Pataky was in a different frame of mind for his consy final as he stalked Olanowski, pairs of takedowns and nearfalls giving him a 10-1 lead after one period. Up to start the second period, Pataky added two more nearfalls to end the bout in 4:59.
Falling short of an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championships, Pataky (11-5) still should be a candidate for an at-large invite Wednesday night.
The five champs who will head the Penn State contingent into the sold-out Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia next week are soph Andrew Long (15-1) at 133, junior Frank Molinaro (28-2) at 149, freshman David Taylor (34-0) at 157, freshman Ed Ruth (32-1) at 174 and sophomore Quentin Wright (16-6) at 184.
Former Bald Eagle Area High School standout Wright, who was seeded 8th, was named the Outstanding Wrestler after upending higher seeds, including 4-3 wins over the top two seeds.
The other four Nittany Lions were seeded No. 1.
Also among the Big 10 Conference’s 64 automatic qualifiers are Wade (28-6) and freshman Andrew Alton (28-8). The latter, who starred for Central Mountain High School, was fifth at 141.
Penn State swept the Big 10’s special awards, Taylor was named Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year and second-year coach Cael Sanderson selected Coach of the Year.
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The banner season for sophomore Scott Rosenthal of Clearfield and No. 5-ranked Penn State (9-0) continued in Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion Saturday evening.
Rosenthal, who has been first on the still rings in every meet except the 20th West Point Open team competition, came through again in his specialty with a performance worthy of a 15.600 score from the judges as the Nittany Lions posted a 351.600 to defeat No. 8 Minnesota (344.600) and No. 10 Iowa (333.800).
Miguel Pineda (15.600) and Matt Chelberg (14.700) made it a top-three sweep, but the nation’s top-ranked rings crew wound up with its second-lowest total of the season, 59.700.
Sparking the Little Lions was Felix Aronovich, who was named Big 10 Gymnast of the Week for an 86.200 all-around score that included a 14.600 for his fourth win of the season on the parallel bars and a 14.800 for second on the high bar.
Rosenthal’s high three-score average of 15.733 is No. 2 in the nation behind the 15.867 of Ohio State’s Brandon Wynn, according to GymInfo rankings.
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Senior shortstop Adam Jury of Bigler drove in four runs with three hits and picked up a fifth RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded as Slippery Rock began its annual spring trip with an 11-5 win over Assumption (Mass.) at Chain O’Lakes Park Friday.
The rest of the weekend wasn’t as productive for the Clearfield Area High School graduate or The Rock (6-4), which was ranked No. 17 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and No. 19 by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Jury had only one hit in 15 at-bats while The Rock’s batting average tumbled to .237 after losses to No. 10-ranked Minnesota State 5-2 Friday, NCAA Division II Atlantic Region rival Seton Hill 14-1 and 7-0 Saturday and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) 7-3 Sunday.
Jury is second on the team in hits (11) and RBIs (11) and fourth in batting average (.314).
He has one home run.
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CHANDLER, Arz. – Sophomore left-hander Caleb “Ben” McGary of Curwensville earned his first collegiate save with a 1-2-3 seventh inning against Presentation (S.D.) in Pitt-Bradford’s 3-0 victory Sunday afternoon.
He notched one strikeout in his second appearance of the season for the Panthers, who also won the opener of their spring break trip 17-9 for a 3-1 start.
Two other former District 9 hurlers combined with McGary for the shutout, starter Jonathan Meyer of St. Marys allowing one hit in 2.1 innings and reliever Richie Pruzinsky of Sykesville (DuBois Area H.S.) yielding just two hits and one walk while fanning seven in 3.2 frames to pick up the victory.
McGary started in center field in the first game and had one single in five at-bats.
He’s played two games in the outfield and has a .167 average with two runs batted in.
He’s pitched 2.2 innings, striking out three and giving up four hits, one walk and two earned runs.
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FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Senior first baseman Kyle Kline of Clearfield was hitless in three trips to the plate for Penn State Behrend in the nightcap of its season-opening doubleheader against Alvernia Sunday.
The Lions lost 12-2 after blanking the 2010 NCAA Division III Tournament at-large team 4-0 .
Kline entered his final season with a .256 career average for 41 games, including 18 starts.
The two-year letterman had collected 20 hits, including eight doubles, and driven in 17 runs.
Sophomore returnee Michael Moyer and freshman Chad Zurat of Clearfield are right-handed pitchers for the Lions, who will be seeking their fourth consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship.
Moyer had a solid rookie campaign with a 4-2 record and 4.82 earned run average in 37.1 innings. His ERA was third-best for the Lions. He was fourth in innings pitched as well as strikeouts (25).
Moyer started and worked six frames but did not get the win as Penn State Behrend recorded the first region victory in program history by knocking off No. 4-ranked Wooster 10-8 in 10 innings in the Mid-Atlantic first round.
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WOMEN’S WATER POLO
GROVE CITY – Senior driver Allison White of Clearfield scored four goals and had one assist in Grove City’s five-game sweep of Collegiate Water Polo Association Division III Conference Weekend opponents in James E. Longnecker Competition Pool.
She score a goal in the Wolverines’ 17-2 rout of Penn State Behrend after they had defeated Chatham 16-6 Friday.
White scored twice in a 12-2 win over Washington & Jefferson, had one goal in a 12-6 victory over Connecticut College and had one assist in a 13-6 triumph over Utica (N.Y.) Saturday.
She celebrated a career game with three goals and two assists at Notre Dame (Ohio) College Feb. 23 when Grove City notched the first season-opening win, 16-5, in the program’s 12-year history.
Her season totals for the 6-5 Wolverines are seven goals, three assists and two seals.
White saw limited action in her first two seasons with three goals and three assists.
As a junior, she moved into the starting lineup late in the season and wound up with six goals, four assists and 17 steals.
White had one assist in Grove City’s 8-7 squeaker over Carthage (Wis.) in the inaugural CWPA D-III championship game. The Wolverines were undefeated in their 10 conference games.
They set a school records with a 17-14 record and a fourth-place finish at the Collegiate National Division III Championships.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Lincoln (Ill.) College freshman freestyle sprinter Brandi Centi of Clearfield powered her way to personal-bests twice in each of three events at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships in Erie Community College’s Burt Flickinger Athletic Center last week.
On Friday, Centi qualified for the ‘B’ Final in the 200-yard free with a 1:00.41 time in the prelims and moved up one spot to 15th place with a 2:12.87 effort.
In Thursday’s 50 free, she touched in 26.22 seconds to make the ‘C’ final and then won that race in 26.14 seconds to claim 17th place.
Centi capped her meet performance by finishing 21st in 59.34 seconds in the 100 free on Saturday. She had qualified for the ‘C’ final in 1:00.41.
Nearly three dozen swimmers were entered in all three events.