December 9, 2010

Wrestling Wreport: the Nittany Lion Open edition

Penn State sent 29 wrestlers into the Nittany Lion Open Sunday night and for the most part it was a dominant performance yet again. The Lions sent 16 wrestlers into the quarterfinals, 11 into semifinals, and 8 in the finals. The finals in two weights (141 & 157) were matchups of Penn State teammates as Penn State crowned 4 champs.

The Good

Frank Martelloti
Frank Martellotti, Andrew Alton, David Taylor, and Cameron Wade all walked away champs. Martellotti had two pins, a tech fall and a major decision going 5-0 to take 1st place at the 125 lb. weight class. David Taylor tore through the field at 157, finally beating Jesse Dong of Virginia Tech 9-3 in the finals. Last season Dong was one win shy of All-American status, making it to the round of 12 in the National finals and was ranked 3rd going into last year's finals. Andrew Alton did what he's done all season; show wrestlers the lights. Alton went 6-0 with 5 pins to take the crown at 141. One of Andrew's pins came in the finals against No. 20 Zack Kemerer of Penn. Alton is 11-0 on the year with 9(!!) pins. Wade really didn't see decent competition in the tournament but he did what you're supposed to do against lesser completion: dominate. Wade had three tech falls, a pin and a major at heavyweight, going 5-0.

David Taylor
Ed Ruth
It wasn't just a good day for the guys that won though, other wrestlers had strong performances as well. Ed Ruth (ranked 14th at 174) made it to the finals where he lost to #8 Mike Letts of Maryland. He did beat #9 Scott Giffin of Penn in the semifinals but couldn't get it done in the finals. James English who filled in for an injured Frank Molinaro at 149 had a good day finishing 3rd with his only loss coming at the hands of No. 10 Mario Mason by a 3-1 score. Adam Lynch also placed 3rd at 141 with his only loss coming by fall to his teammate Andrew Alton. Dirk Cowburn who isn't even the starter at 165 made it all the way to the finals where he lost to #3 Josh Asper of Maryland to take second. 

The Bad

Bryan Pearsall, Penn State's starter at 133, failed to place and he didn't face a ranked wrestler all day. No. 2 Frank Molinaro lost in the finals to Mario Mason a wrestler Molinaro has already beaten this year. Considering Frank has just come off an injury and this was a grueling day-long tournament and Frank lost in overtime, it's easy to chalk that one up to conditioning. Frank will bounce back. Jake Kemerer, Penn State's starter at 165 and the 11th ranked wrestler in the country failed to place. Jake won the first three and then lost the next two to bow out. 

The Ugly

No. 6 Quentin Wright was beating No. 14 Nate Schiedel of Binghamton in the finals when he injured his shoulder and lost by injury default. The bad news is he's out for a while, the good news is he didn't separate his shoulder or break his collar bone. Sanderson said the injury could keep Wright out anywhere from five to eight weeks. That means Penn State won't have him for Sunday's dual against Lock Haven, next weekend's conference opener against Ohio State and the Southern Scuffle. The Wrestling team has caught the injury bug as badly as the football team this season. This makes the third starter to go down to injury all though none have been of the season ending kind. Penn State was able to recover from Brad Pataky's and Frank Molinao's injury thanks to great depth in the lighter weights but the same cannot be said for 184. Wright is the only wrestler listed at that weight which means someone will have to move a weight class to fill in. For the Lock Haven dual freshman 174 pounder Andrew Church will move up to wrestle but Justin Ortega could move down from 197 after this weekend. By NCAA rules Ortega is not allowed to lose that much weight in such a short amount of time but Ortega is a more natural 184 pounder who moved up to wrestle 197 he may be Penn State's answer. 

One door shuts another opens

It was just announced that Penn State will be adding a transfer to their team and it's no small fish. Andrew Long of Iowa State will transfer and wrestler for Penn State beginning at the end of the semester. The sophomore was the runner up at 125 pounds last year and gives Sanderson a lot of options in the light weights. Long ran into trouble of the alcohol related variety (twice) and was kicked off the Iowa State team. Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson dismissed Long but gave him an opportunity to rejoin the team. During the process Long decided that a fresh start would serve him better. Some fans would worry that Long is a bad egg but given that they were alcohol related offenses I think a fresh start will serve him well. Sanderson's rules around student athlete conduct, especially when it pertains to alcohol, are clear and strict. Long will be made well aware of what he must do to make the team and stay on it. That and the fact that he's now over 21 will go a long way in keeping him straight. 

Moving On

Penn State will host Lock Haven Sunday at 2 PM. They will be without All American Quentin Wright but it shouldn't change the outcome, Lock Haven only has one ranked wrestler; 133 pounder John Trumbetti (No. 18). Heavyweight Harry Turner has an impressive 14-5 record but Wade should beat him. After that Penn State welcomes Ohio State next Sunday December 19th to open up the Big Ten schedule.


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