PHILADELPHIA – The Penn State career for redshirt senior 125-pounder Brad Pataky of Clearfield ended Friday morning in the second round of consolations at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in the Wells Fargo Center.
And his fourth meeting with Sean Boyle of Michigan was a microcosm of his final season as the Nittany Lion bantamweight.
Pataky, who was forced to be a spectator instead of a competitor in December and again in January because of a knee injury, needed injury time late in the first period after being taken down for the second time.
Down 4-1, he chose neutral instead of the bottom position for the second period but was unable to break through Boyle’s defense.
The No. 17-ranked Michigan sophomore, who had beaten Pataky 9-5 in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 Conference Championships, added an escape and another takedown in the third period.
A point for 2:36 in riding time advantage set the final at 8-1.
Boyle (28-15) followed up with a 5-3 win over Eastern Wrestling League champ Anthony Zanetta of Pitt before being eliminated one victory shy of the medal round via a 4-2 loss to No. 8 seed and Big 12 Conference runner-up Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma.
Pataky (12-7) had beaten Boyle 8-2 in Penn State’s 24-12 dual meet victory at the 2011 Virginia Duals Jan. 8, just 10 days after losing to him 11-3 at the Southern Scuffle.
Ranked in the top 10 at 125 in four pre-season polls but unranked by Intermat because of his injury, Pataky was No. 10 and seeded fourth going into the Big 10 tourney.
A disappointing seventh-place finish lowered his Intermat ranking to No. 18 for nationals.
Pataky, a PIAA Class AAA champ with a 125-5 career record for Clearfield Area High School, was 6-6 in three NCAA appearances and 86-36 overall for Penn State, including 21-4 in Big 10 dual meets and 48-12 in all duals.
Three finalists and two other All-Americans have Penn State on the brink its first team title since 1953.
The Nittany Lions, with 92.5 points, have built a commanding lead over Cornell (75) and Iowa (74). The Big Red and Hawkeyes each have one finalist and four All-Americans who can place as high as third.
The tourney concludes Saturday with consolation semifinals and finals in Session five beginning at 11 a.m. and the championship finals, to be televised on ESPN HD, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Redshirt junior Frank Molinaro (149), redshirt freshman David Taylor (157) and redshirt sophomore Quentin Wright (184) of Wingate are the Nittany Lions who will be seeking gold medals.
No. 2 seed Molinaro (32-2) edged No. 7 Marion Mason of Rutgers 4-2 in the quarterfinals and shut down No. 6 Jason Chamberlain of Boise State 4-1 in the semis Friday night.
No. 3 seed Taylor (38-0) defeated Iowa’s No. 6 Derek St. John 6-3 and American’s No. 2 Steve Fittery 7-1 in a duel of unbeatens.
No. 9 seed Wright (20-6), a Bald Eagle Area High School product, continued his impressive run through the post-season by upsetting Edinboro’s top-seeded Chris Honeycutt 7-3 and cradling Iowa’s No. 12 Grant Gambrell for a fall at 3:53 in what was a pivotal match in the team race.
Sophomore Andrew Long (18-2), the No. 3 seed at 133, also reached the semifinals by pinning Central Michigan’s Scotti Sentes in 2:46 but was bested 7-4 by Boise State’s No. 2 Andrew Hochstrasser.
Two Nittany Lions were forced to default in their quarterfinal matches because of injuries.
Redshirt freshman Ed Ruth (36-2), the No. 2 seed at 174, was trailing No. 7 Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford (9-2) when he ran out of injury time in the third period, but he bounced back to nip Purdue’s Luke Manuel 7-6 and pin Central Michigan’s No. 6 Ben Bennett at 4:10 in the wrestlebacks to clinch a medal.
Redshirt junior Cameron Wade (30-8), the No. 9 seed at 285, wasn’t as fortunate after defaulting to No. 1 Zach Rey of Lehigh, who was ahead 5-0 in the second period. The Nittany Lion heavyweight was eliminated when Indiana’s Ricky Alcala took him down in overtime for a 4-2 sudden victory.
Andrew Alton (30-10), the No. 6 seed at 141, also fell one win shy of earning a medal when he was edged 2-0 by No. 2 Boris Novochkov of Cal Poly in the quarterfinals and 5-4 by Zach Kemerer of Penn in the wrestlebacks. Alton is a freshman from Mill Hall who was a two-time PIAA Class AAA champ and two-time bronze medalist for Central Mountain High School.