March 21, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: the National Championship edition

Your 2011 NCAA Wrestling Champs!
Cael Sanderson left Iowa State to come to Penn State believing that the Nittany Lions were close to winning a National Title and, with his help, they could achieve top honors. Coming into this season many long-time followers of Penn State wrestling believed that the Lions were a year away from winning it all but few thought it would happen this season. Oh there was an outside shot that if things went Penn State's way they may be able to pull it off but very few thought it would end like this. Well thanks to a lot of hard work and long hours of practice, Penn State has won the 2011 NCAA Wrestling national championship!

Penn State finished with 5 All-Americans: Andrew Long took 3rd at 133, Frank Molinaro took 2nd at 141, David Taylor took 2nd at 157, Ed Ruth took 3rd at 174 and Quentin Wright is the national champ at 184 pounds. Penn State finished with 107.5 points, a new record, easily outdistancing 2nd place Cornell who finished with 93.5. Penn State's lead was so great that when the finals started Saturday night, the team race was already locked up, neither Cornell or third place Iowa could catch Penn State.

The big story was the continued season ending surge by Quentin Wright. After losing his last three matches of the season, Wright has reeled off a Big Ten and NCAA championship and he saved the best for last. Quentin went 5-0 and powered by 4 ranked wrestlers. Wright beat No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus of Minnesota 8-4 in the 2nd round, he then convincingly took down No. 1 seeded Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro 7-3, he pinned No. 12 Grant Gambrall of Iowa in the semi's and finished off No. 2 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh 5-2 in Saturday night's finals. Honeycutt and Wright did not meet this season but Quentin lost to all three of the other wrestlers.

184 pound champ Quentin Wright

Moving Forward

Looking ahead, the future looks very bright for Penn State. The Lions return all of their All-Americans next season and only lose 125 pounder Brad Pataky to graduation and his replacement, Frank Martellotti, was ranked in the top 15 when Brad sat out with a knee injury. There are some promising young wrestlers coming off of redshirt next year and some big time freshman recruits coming in. One thing is for sure, Penn State will be the team everyone is gunning for, but for now it's time for the team to celebrate. Well done Gentlemen, well done!


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