SAINT LOUIS, Mo. - Welcome to the NCAA Wrestling Championships. The showcase event of collegiate wrestling began with 330 wrestlers travelling to St. Louis, Missouri in search of NCAA All-American status and NCAA gold.
The 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships started first round wrestling with the near capacity crowd focused on the anticipated tight team championship race. In all, 340 total matches were contested in the championship and consolation rounds during the morning session.
Penn State advanced eight of its nine wrestlers into the championship second round of the tournament - including seven recording bonus points. David Taylor(165) and Ed Ruth (174) recorded falls in the opening round while Nico Megaludis (125), Frank Molinaro (149), Dylan Alton (157), Quentin Wright (184) and Cameron Wade (285) won by major decision or technical fall. The only winner that earned a regular decision was Morgan McIntosh (197), 9-3 decision winner.
The only Penn State wrestler to taste defeat in the first round was Frank Martellotti (133), who was pinned in the first period by top-seed and defending champion Jordan Oliver from Oklahoma State.
Lock Haven University's two entrants - Owen Wilkinson and Seth Creasy - found the opening round of the tournament rather difficult. Wilkinson dropped a 5-0 decision to Columbia's Steve Santos, while Creasy lost to Iowa's Ethan Lofthouse, 7-2.
At the conclusion of the opening round, Penn State held a slim lead in the team standings over Minnesota, 25.5-25. Oklahoma State occupied the third position with 17.5 points, while Cornell and Iowa were tied for fourth place with 17 points.
The opening round produced a number of notable upsets of the top four seeded wrestlers. At 149, unseeded Nick Lester from Oklahoma defeated the fourth seed Donnie Vinson from Binghamton, 9-4, while at 157, Binghamton's Cody Reed upset fourth-seeded Christian Boley from Maryland, 2-1.
Northern Iowa's David Bonin decked Harvard's Walter Peppelman in 2:55. Peppelman is a former state champion from Central Dauphin. Maryland's returning All-American Spencer Myers (Selinsgrove), seeded eight, lost his preliminary round bout to Citadel's Andrew Delaney, 8-3.
There were 24 falls in the opening round as well as 14 overtime matches.
The second round of the tournament produced some interesting and surprising outcomes. Fortunately, for Penn State, the upset bug didn't bite, as seven of the eight wrestlers still wrestling in the championship bracket were successful in advancing to the quarter-final round on Friday morning.
Lightweight Nico Megaludis, the 10th seed, got the Penn State train rolling down the tracks when he posted a come-from-behind 7-3 win over seventh seed Jarrod Patterson from Oklahoma. Megaludis got a takedown and three near fall points to seal the deal and advance to the quarter-finals against second seed Zach Sanders from Minnesota.
At 149, top seed Frank Molinaro looked sluggish in his bout against Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi. The undefeated Nittany Lion senior held on for a 6-5 win to advance to tomorrow's quarter-finals against Michigan's Eric Grajales, the eighth seed.
In the 157-pound second round, Dylan Alton outlasted Michigan State's Anthony Jones (seeded 10th), 2-1. Alton and Jones traded escapes, but Alton accumulated 1:10 more in riding time to secure the winning point. Alton will face off against Iowa's Derek St. John, the Big Ten champion and second seed.
Undefeated David Taylor and Ed Ruth recorded falls in their second round bouts at 165 and 174 respectively. Taylor decked Chattanooga's Brandon Wright in 1:51 while Ruth flattened Missouri's Dorian Henderson in 1:26. In the quarter-finals, Taylor will meet Nebraska's eight-seeded Robert Kokesh while Ruth will take on the ninth seed, Nick Heflin from Ohio State.
Heavyweight Cameron Wade posted an 8-2 victory over Cornell's unseeded Maciej Jochym to advance to the quarter-finals against Oregon Clayton Jack, the third seed.
True freshman Morgan McIntosh wrestled Cornell top seed Cam Simaz and was completely outclassed, 22-7 technical fall. McIntosh will drop down to wrestle the winner between Michigan's Max Huntley and Ohio State's Andrew Campolattano in the consolation second round.
Penn State's lone loser in the first round of the championship bracket, Martellotti rebounded to win his first consolation match against Cal State-Bakersfield's Frank Lomas, 2-1. Martellotti yielded a second period escape, but earned a reversal in the third period for the winning two points. Martellotti will face sixth seed Devin Carter from Virginia Tech in the second consolation round Friday morning.
LHU's Owen Wilkinson was eliminated from the tournament when he was pinned in 2:30 of his first-round consolation match to Northwestern's Kaleb Friendly. Creasy stayed alive in the competition when he defeated Oklahoma's Kyle Detmer, 7-2. Creasy will meet Michigan State's Curran Jacobs in Friday's second consolation round.
In the championship bracket, American University's Ryan Flores has three pins in 12:20 while six other wrestlers have two falls in the tournament. They are: Matt McDonough (Iowa - 125), Bernard Futrell (Illinois - 133), Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State - 133), Logan Stieber (Ohio State 133), Kyle Dake (Cornell-157), Penn State's Taylor and Ruth.
Following the second round of competition, Penn State was the team leader with 38.5 points followed by Minnesota (33), Cornell (27.5) and Oklahoma State (25).