Penn State’s Pataky Places Fourth at Big 10’s, Qualifies for Nationals

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Penn State 125-pounder Brad Pataky of Clearfield qualified for his second trip to nationals by placing fourth with a 2-2 record at the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Michigan’s Chrisler Arena Friday and Saturday.
 
The Nittany Lion redshirt junior was unable to protect a 9-3 lead in the bronze medal match as No. 3 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota took him down in the first overtime period for a 13-11 sudden victory.
 
Pataky upheld his fourth seed with wins over fifth seed Cashe Quiroga of Purdue 7-4 in the quarterfinals and sixth seed Nikko Triggas of Ohio State 11-2 in the consolation semifinals.
 
His other loss was 14-1 to top seed and No. 1 ranked in the nation Angel Escobedo of Indiana in the championship semis.
 
The top four seeds in the weight class finished in order, with Escobedo of Indiana beating Matt McDonough of Iowa 6-4 in a title showdown of 32-0 bantams for his third consecutive conference title.
 
Triggas (27-17) majored Quiroga (25-11) 12-4 for fifth place.
 
Late in the first period against Sanders (23-5), Pataky hit a throw for a five-point move to take an 8-3 lead. A quick escape in the second period made it 9-3 with the Nittany Lion holding a 1:09 edge in riding time.
 
However, Sanders worked a takedown and turned Pataky for two back points with 10 seconds left, cutting his deficit to 9-7.
 
Two takedowns by the Golden Gopher redshirt sophomore and two escapes by Pataky set up the extra period, and Sanders countered a Pataky shot for the winning takedown.
 
After receiving a first round bye, Pataky quickly took down Quiroga and then put him on his back for a 5-0 start, adding a second-period escape and a point for riding time for the only win he need to qualify for nationals.
 
Escobedo was too much for the Nittany Lion in the semis. The national champ in 2008 engineered three near falls to go with two takedowns, an escape and riding time for the major decision.
 
After hitting his favorite cement mixer for an early takedown against Triggas, Pataky reversed twice and turned the Buckeye sophomore two times for a decisive win. 
 
Pataky will take a 26-8 record to the NCAA Division Championships being hosted by the University of Nebraska March 18-20 at the Quest Center in Omaha.
 
Five other Nittany Lions, including senior 157-pound champion Cyler Sanderson (28-4), also will be going.
 
No. 6-ranked Sanderson took down No. 1 seed Colton Salazer three times for an 8-4 victory in the finals.
 
Nittany Lions Frank Molinaro (29-5) at 149, Dan Vallimont (26-7) at 165 and David Erwin (29-8) at 184 placed third, while Adam Lynch (13-13) at 141 and Cameron Wade (20-9) at heavyweight placed fifth.
 
Penn State collected 91 points for fifth place, its highest finish since 2007.
 
Iowa won its third consecutive title, and its 34th overall, with 156.5 points.
 
Minnesota (118.5), Wisconsin (109) and Ohio State (102.5) trailed.
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