MADISON, Wisc. — Nico Megaludis came up just short in his attempt to make the U.S. National Wrestling Team in time for the 2014 World Championships.
Competing in a Nittany Lion Wrestling Club singlet, the three-time Penn State All-American lost to a pair of former Iowa All-Americans to end his bid at the World Team Trials inside the Alliant Energy Center on Saturday. Vying for the final freestyle spot at 57 kilograms, Megaludis fell 4-0 to Matt McDonough in the third-place match.
Before that, Megaludis went 3-1 overall in the challenge tournament.
He beat former Minnesota All-American Zach Sanders 4-3 in the first round before advancing to the challenge tournament finals with a 2-1 win over Nick Simmons (Sunkist Kids) and a 4-2 win over Brandon Precin (New York Athletic Club). Former Iowa All-American Tony Ramos beat Megaludis 1-0 in the challenge tournament finals to bounce Megaludis into the third-place match.
Jake Varner led the NLWC with a win in the 97-kilogram finals. Varner, who received a bye into the finals due to his status as the reigning Olympic gold medalist, beat former Kent State star Dustin Kilgore 7-2, 5-2 to earn the spot on the World team.
Fellow NLWC member Mark McKnight went 1-2 at 57 kilograms.
Meanwhile, another handful of NLWC members will compete Sunday for the chance to represent the U.S. at Worlds in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on September 8-14 and on the national team for the 2014-15 freestyle campaign.
David Taylor (74 kilograms) will face the winner of Quinton Godley (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) and Moza Fay (Army World Class Athlete Program) to open his tournament while Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright will compete at 86 kilograms for the NLWC. The former teammates are on the same end of the bracket where Ruth will face the winner of Robert Hamlin (Lehigh Valley Athletic Club) and Pat Downey (NYAC). Wright will wrestle Phil Keddy (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) to start his tournament.
NLWC teammates Frank Molinaro and Nick Fanthorpe will also compete in the same weight class. Molinaro, who returned to State College after spending the last year as an assistant coach at Rutgers, will face Coleman Scott (Titan Mercury) at 65 kilograms. Fanthorpe, who recently finished his second year on Penn State’s coaching staff, will meet Kellen Russell (NYAC) on the other side of the 65-kilogram bracket.