WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The wins keep coming for the Penn State wrestling team.
The No. 1 Nittany Lions remained unbeaten in their quest to win third consecutive Big Ten and NCAA titles with a 35-3 drubbing of No. 22 Purdue (10-5, 1-3) on Sunday. Inside Mackey Arena, the Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) won nine of 10 bouts, added bonus points in four matches and pushed the pace against their Boilermaker counterparts for much of the day.
“There’s always a little bit of a concern when you have a home Friday match and then you’ve got to get up early the next day, get on the plane and travel somewhere else to wrestle,” associate head coach Cody Sanderson told the Penn State Radio Network. “I think the guys did well overall this weekend. I thought they wrestled well. They wrestled with some energy, some excitement. They put up a lot of points, so I like where we’re at right now.”
In the afternoon’s only bouts that pitted ranked wrestlers against one another, Penn State grapplers came out on top.
At 125 pounds, No. 2 Nico Megaludis started Penn State off against No. 17 Camden Eppert. A rematch of last season’s fifth-place match at the Big Ten Tournament, Megaludis had no trouble with Eppert, winning 5-1 on a takedown and reversal. Megaludis racked up 3:43 in riding time.
No. 3-ranked 197-pounder Quentin Wright took on No. 17 Braden Atwood and added a 7-1 decision for Penn State. Wright snared Atwood for a takedown in the opening minute and rode out the first period before adding an escape in the second. He forced Atwood to give up a point for stalling before adding another takedown and the riding time point to earn his 101st win.
The Nittany Lions got pins from No. 2 David Taylor at 165 and No. 1 Ed Ruth at 174 as they outclassed Doug Welch and Dion Crowder, respectively.
With his pin, the 31st of his career, Taylor moved into a tie for ninth with Biff Walizer on Penn State’s all-time list.
“Each year I’ve been here I think it’s been more and more of a team and almost a family effort as each year’s progressed,” Taylor told the Penn State Radio Network. “If you’re in the lineup you’re expected to go out and wrestle hard and I think you earn the respect of your teammates when you go out and you wrestle hard.”
The two newest full-time starters contributed to that progressive effort. No. 3 Matt Brown and Jordan Conaway added major decision wins in their bouts at 174 and 133 pounds.
Fresh off Friday’s stunning 133-pound match in which he came from behind to beat Wisconsin’s No. 3-ranked Tyler Graff in sudden victory, Conaway continued his recent hot streak. He picked up four team points for Penn State with a 13-4 win over Danny Sabatello.
Bryan Pearsall beat Purdue’s Brandon Nelson 4-2 at 141 pounds while James Vollrath added a 12-9 decision over Tommy Churchard at 157. Penn State’s No. 16 Jon Gingrich closed the dual out with a 4-1 win over Alex White at 285. Purdue got its only win at 149 pounds when No. 13 Ivan Lopouchanski beat James English 5-2.
Four Lions win titles
Andrew and Dylan Alton were among four Penn State wrestlers who won individual championships on Sunday at the Floyd ‘Shorty’ Hitchcock Memorial Tournament in Millersville.
Wrestling unattached, Andrew (149), Dylan (157), Nick Fischer (165) and Jimmy Lawson (285) went unbeaten at their respective weights to bring home titles.
Andrew Alton went 4-0 with a technical fall and a pin while Dylan Alton racked up three pins during the tournament. Fischer’s 4-0 mark included three pins while Lawson notched a fall and beat teammate Nick Ruggear in the finals by injury default.
Cam Kelly (2-2 at 133), Derek Reber (2-2 at 141), Kyle Moran (1-2 at 149), Rex Lutz (1-2 at 165), Wes Phipps (2-2 at 184), Scott Syrek (1-2 at 197), David Owens (149) and Caleb Livingston (165) were also in action.
The Altons, currently serving a one-month suspension from dual-meet action for a violation of team rules, are eligible to return in time for Penn State’s home dual against No. 14. Nebraska on Sunday.