UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State wrestler Morgan McIntosh will redshirt this season, a Penn State spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
He’ll yield the starting spot at 197 pounds to former 184-pound national champion Quentin Wright, who is expected to bump up to 197 for his senior season.
McIntosh, who went 18-10 last season as a true freshman, wrestled a vicious schedule for the Nittany Lions. Coming out of Calvary Chapel (Calif.), McIntosh was the nation’s top-ranked recruit at any weight by Intermat.
In his first season of action, McIntosh faced eight opponents who were ranked by Intermat among the Top 25 197-pounders in the country. Despite suffering a knee sprain early in December, McIntosh went on an impressive early season run that saw him compile a 14-4 record from December until early February.
Eventually, McIntosh cooled off. Wrestling despite the injury, he finished 4-5 in his final nine bouts before going 2-2 in the Big Ten tournament and 1-2 at NCAAs. All of those matches were against wrestlers ranked in Intermat’s Top 25 or made deep runs in the NCAA tournament.
Still, McIntosh put his signature on a second consecutive Big Ten and National Championship season for Penn State. In just his second dual meet bout, McIntosh pushed the nation’s then-No. 2 197-pounder Sonny Yohn to the limit. Yohn notched a takedown in the waning moments of the match to secure the win. He lost a 4-3 decision to then No. 4-ranked Matt Powless at the Southern Scuffle after referees overruled a McIntosh takedown.
McIntosh’s most memorable performance came against the Iowa Hawkeyes in January. With Penn State up by four points, McIntosh secured a reversal and escape to send his match with Grant Gambrall to overtime. McIntosh clinched Penn State’s first win against Iowa since 2007 with a sudden-victory takedown that sent the largest crowd in Rec Hall’s modern history into a frenzy.
Dake vs. Taylor II
David Taylor may get to avenge a rare loss with a chance to meet Kyle Dake sooner rather than later.
Both wrestlers accepted invitations to wrestle at 165 pounds in the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic, to be held on Nov. 3 in Washington’s Bender Arena, according to a press release issued by themat.com.
After ripping off one of the most dominant seasons in recent college wrestling history in which he went 32-0, won the Big Ten and National Titles at 165 pounds and won the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top grappler, Taylor met Dake for the first time at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa.
Dake, coming off his third-straight national title win at a different weight, pinned Taylor in freestyle competition during the second period of a 74-kilogram match. Dake is entering his senior season at Cornell, where he will try to win a fourth national title at a different weight. He’s already claimed first-place medals at 141, 149 and 157 pounds.
Penn State and Cornell do not meet in the regular season.
Cowburn leaves team
Dirk Cowburn, who was the sixth-ranked wrestler at any weight by Intermat coming out of Coudersport High School in 2010, has left the program, a spokesman for the Nittany Lions confirmed.
Cowburn remains enrolled at Penn State and will focus on his studies. Cowburn was in a tough spot where the odds were against him cracking the starting dual-meet lineup.
Having already redshirted during his freshman season in 2010-11, Cowburn found himself behind All-Americans and defending national champions David Taylor and Ed Ruth, both juniors, at 165 and 174 pounds, respectively. The ascension of redshirt sophomore Matt Brown, who is expected to slot in at 174 pounds with Ruth bumping up to 184, left little room for Cowburn to make an impact as an everyday starter.
Cowburn still led a successful two-year career as a Nittany Lion wrestler. He went 26-4 overall as an unattached wrestler. He won the East Stroudsburg Open in 2010.
Travis Johnson can be reached at 231-4629. Follow him on Twitter @traviswjohnson_