PHILADELPHIA – After falling to No. 12 seed Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Thursday morning, Penn State redshirt senior Brad Pataky of Clearfield kept his medal hopes alive by beating Jason Lara of Oregon State in the evening session at the Wells Fargo Center.
Pataky, ranked No. 18 by Intermat, and Garnett, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference champ with a 28-7 record, hooked up in a wild first period.
Taken down early by the Hokie junior, Pataky escaped and engineered his own takedown for a 3-2 lead.
However, Garnett answered with an escape, takedown and three-point nearfall for the key points of the bout.
He sandwiched another takedown between two Pataky escapes to lead 10-5 after three minutes and maintained that margin with his fourth takedown in the middle period. The Nitttany Lion broke free twice for his final points.
An escape by Garnett was the only scoring in the third period of his 13-7 victory.
In the first round of consolations, Pataky bounced back to take down Lara (20-10) in the first two periods and tack on a third-period escape and a point for 1:30 riding time advantage for a 6-1 win over the two-time Pac-10 Conference runner-up.
Pataky (12-6) bumps into Big 10 Conference rival Sean Boyle (26-14) of Michigan Friday morning.
They’ve met twice this season, with the No. 17-ranked Wolverine sophomore winning 11-3 at the Southern Scuffle, Pataky’s first action after being sidelined by a knee injury, and 9-5 on his way to a fourth-place finish the Big 10 Championships earlier this month.
The winner will wrestle again later in Session 3 against either two-time Eastern Wrestling League champ Anthony Zanetta (18-11) of Pitt or two-time Colonial Athletic Association runner-up and No. 15-ranked Steve Bonanno (24-12) of Hofstra.
Pataky must win three matches Friday to reach the medal rounds.
The other seven Nittany Lion qualifiers, all seeded, won two bouts apiece to move into the Friday morning quarterfinals, and five of them earned 6.5 bonus points to boost Penn State atop the team standings with 30.5 points.
Cornell is right behind with 29 points, while Iowa and Oklahoma State are tied for third with 25 apiece.
Two freshman, Andrew Alton (No. 6 seed at 141) of Mill Hall and David Taylor (No. 3 at 157) have posted pairs of bonus wins.
Alton, a former Central Mountain High School standout, pinned SUNY-Binghamton’s Anwar Goeres at 2:20 and majored American’s No. 11 seed Michael Mariarcher 13-4.
Taylor hiked his record to 36-0 with a 13-2 major decision against Oklahoma State’s Big 12 champ Robert Erisman and a 20-3 technical fall in 5:49 against Northern Iowa’s David Bonin.
Ed Ruth (No. 2 at 174) pinned Liberty’s East Regional champ Royal Brettrager in 24 seconds and outlasted Minnesota’s Scott Glasser 5-3.
Frank Molinaro (No. 2 at 149) major decisioned Rider’s Zac Cibula 9-0 and bested Virginia’s Derek Valenti 6-3. Those were the first points he’s surrendered in the post-season.
Like Ruth, three other Nittany Lions had to get by Minnesota wrestlers in the second round, two of them in rematches of Big 10 title bouts.
Andrew Long (No. 3 seed at 133) had to work overtime to edge David Thorn 7-5 with a sudden-victory takedown after handling Northern Colorado’s Casey Cruz 8-1.
Bald Eagle Area High School grad Quentin Wright (No. 9 in 184) of Wingate took down No. 8 seed Kevin Steinhaus twice in the third period for an 8-4 win after beating Virginia’s Jonathan Fausey 8-4 by the same score. Wright nipped Steinhaus 4-3 in the conference finals.
Cameron Wade (No. 9 at 285) atoned for a 3-0 upset by Tony Nelson in the Big 10 semifinals with a 4-1 win over the 8th-seeded Golden Gopher. The Nittany Lion heavyweight defeated Oregon State’s Clayton Jack 9-2 in the first round.