UNIVERSITY PARK — A slew of travel issues slowed the No. 1 Penn State wrestlers more than their opponents on Sunday.
And after a nearly nine-hour bus ride from Indiana, which was made longer because of snowy weather on Saturday, Penn State cruised to a 39-8 win over No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions didnt look like a team weary from a long night on the road. Penn State (10-0, 4-0 Big Ten) won eight of 10 bouts and earned bonus points in seven weight classes.
I thought our guys wrestled well today. These weekends are a little different, Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said of his teams Friday trip to Bloomington in which their flight was cancelled. You have a long bus ride like that and then you have a long day traveling back (Saturday) and then you have a match today. We got back in time to work out (Saturday night), so Im glad. I think thats good for our guys to wrestle well after that.
James Vollrath and No. 2 Ed Ruth picked up falls at 157 and 184 pounds, respectively, for Penn State. No. 2 Nico Megaludis and No. 1 David Taylor added technical falls at 125 and 165 pounds.
No. 2 Zain Retherford (141) and No. 7 Morgan McIntosh (197) won by major decisions. Penn States No. 3 Matt Brown was leading No. 9 Lee Munster 10-1 at 174 pounds when Munster injured his left leg and bowed out of their bout just 56 seconds into the second period.
No. 15 Jimmy Gulibon picked up his first home dual-meet win with a 8-2 decision over Dominick Malone at 133 pounds.
Northwestern won at 149 pounds when No. 4 Jason Tsirtsis beat Zack Beitz 5-3 in sudden victory with a takedown with 11 seconds left. Their bout was fraught with video reviews and protests from both coaching staffs.
Penn State successfully challenged a non-call in the second period and Beitz was awarded a go-ahead takedown midway through. In the third, Tsirtsis started in the top position and Northwesterns coaching staff asked for a replay to determine the riding time Tsirtsis earned following a clock malfunction. After the review, the officials gave Tsirtsis 12 seconds of additional riding time that put him over a minute, giving him the riding time point he needed to go into sudden victory tied 3-3.
:We were talking about that in the locker room, Sanderson said. I didnt catch it. I wasnt watching the clock at that time.
I dont know. Theres a chance there was a mistake there where possibly he couldnt have gotten the point. But it happened.
Penn State suffered another blow in the final bout of the afternoon.
In a matchup between Northwesterns No. 4 Mike McMullan and No. 12 Jimmy Lawson, McMullan gained control of Lawsons left leg and lifted, trying to sweep Lawsons right leg out from under him. Lawson held on and hopped around on his right leg, trying to fend McMullan off. At the edge of the mat, McMullan got the sweep but Lawson went down awkwardly and immediately reached for his right knee.
The Penn State heavyweight did not continue and injury-defaulted at 2:33. He was able to walk off the mat on his own, gingerly.
Sanderson said he had no update on Lawson other than he was being looked at by team trainer Dan Monthly.
At that point, its not really worth trying to continue wrestling, Sanderson said. I think he was getting up thinking he was going to wrestle.
There was no questioning Megaludis mindset.
The junior 125-pounder opened the dual at break-neck pace. He notched five first-period takedowns and finished off Garrison White with two more combined with nine nearfall points for a 23-6 technical fall. It was Megaludis first bout of the weekend as Indiana forfeited the 125-pound match on Friday night.
A rematch of last seasons NCAA title bout with Illinois Jesse Delgado looms for Megaludis. The Illini will visit Rec Hall for a 7 p.m. dual on Friday.
I definitely feel a lot better and I know Im going to get it done this year, Megaludis said. Im ready to do it.
Gulibon, fresh off his first dual-meet win in Bloomington, gave up the first takedown to Dominick Malone but recovered to post an 8-2 decision at 133.
Retherford continued his impressive freshman season with his 19th-straight win, this one an 11-2 major over Pat Greco.
Vollrath gave the 6,393 fan in attendance reason to stand when he cradled Ben Sullivan for a fall in 4:01 to put Penn State up 18-3 at intermission.
Taylor followed with a surgical effort against No. 9 Pierce Harger. Taylor used three first-period takedowns and two tilts for five nearfall points en route to a 17-2 technical fall in 4:45.
Ruth got his first pin in a home dual this season and didnt take long to do so. The Penn State senior quickly latched on to Jacob Berkowitz and rolled him into a cradle, getting the fall in just 1:36.
McIntosh followed with a dominant performance against No. 17 Alex Polizzi at 197. McIntosh got the first takedown and finished with four in the first period. He used a second-period throw and two more takedowns in the third to cruise to a 17-8 major.
Notes: Penn State football coach James Franklin attended the dual. ... Vollrath earned the Ridge Riley Award, given to the most outstanding wrestler in a home dual. ... Fans were given miniature statues of Taylor as they entered Rec Hall. Taylor said he didnt get one, however. I thought it was pretty cool, Taylor said. I dont have any right now. Ill have to go wrestle some of those kids for one. ... Andrew and Dylan Alton wrestled in the Shorty Hitchcock Memorial Classic at Millersville University.