Seven wrestlers enter season ranked in top seven by Intermat
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Seven members of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team will begin the season ranked nationally by Intermat, all of whom appear in the top seven at their respective weights. In addition, head coach Cael Sanderson’s two-time defending NCAA and Big Ten Champions are the pre-season No. 1 team on Intermat’s Tournament Power Index (TPI). The full list of national rankings is available at www.intermatwrestle.com.
Penn State enters the year with 107.5 points on Intermat’s TPI with the Iowa Hawkeyes a close second with 93.0. Minnesota is further back in third with 89.0 while Oklahoma State sits in fourth with 87.5.
Sophomore All-American Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) is ranked No. 2 at 125 after his national runner-up finish a year ago in St. Louis. Megaludis went 28-8 as a true freshman and is ranked behind Iowa’s Matt McDonough, who downed Megaludis 4-1 in the national finals a year ago.
Sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) returns to the mats after a red-shirt season last year and is ranked No. 7 at 149. As a true freshman in 2010-11, Alton went 30-10 with 18 pins and finished one win shy of All-American status at NCAAs in Philadelphia.
Sophomore All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) begins the campaign ranked No. 2 at 157. Alton placed third at NCAAs a year ago and ended the campaign with a 30-6 record. His lone loss at NCAAs was a 3-1 (sv) decision to Iowa’s Derek St. John in the quarterfinals. St. John enters the year ranked No. 1.
Defending NCAA Champion and two-time All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) is ranked No. 2 at 165 to begin the season. Taylor, a junior, blazed his way to a perfect 32-0 record as a sophomore, is the two-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and the defending Hodge Trophy Award winner as the top college wrestler in the nation. All but two of his bouts were won with bonus points, including 15 pins, nine tech falls and six majors. At NCAAs he posted five pins and a tech fall in the finals, setting an NCAA record for points in the finals with 22. He was named the 2012 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler and won the Gorriaran Award for most pins in the least time.
Sophomore Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) steps into the line-up at 174 and enters the year ranked No. 5 by Intermat. Brown went 27-2 as a red-shirt freshman a year ago, wrestling behind a soon-to-be NCAA Champion. He was a perfect 5-0 in duals for the Nittany Lions, including two wins up at 197 in Big Ten action.
Defending NCAA Champion and two-time All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) moves up a weight to 184 and enters the new year ranked No. 1 nationally. Ruth, a junior, was a perfect 31-0 as a sophomore, rolling to the NCAA title at 174. All but five of his bouts were won with bonus points, including 10 pins, seven tech falls and nine majors. He was named Intermat’s National Wrestler of the Year at season’s end.
Three-time All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), the 2011 NCAA Champion at 184 and national runner-up at that weight a year ago, moves up to 197 for his senior season and begins the year ranked No. 2 at his new weight. Wright went 30-4 last year with 14 pins, four techs and five majors. He has placed sixth (174), first (184) and second (184) during his career and is looking to become Penn State’s sixth four-time All-American.