Penn State will head into the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City next week with eight of its 10 wrestlers seeded.
The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 1 in InterMat’s Tournament Power Index, garnered one No. 1, one No. 2 and three No. 3 seeds when the brackets were released on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Edinboro junior and former Bellefonte High standout Mitchell Port earned the No. 1 seed at 141 pounds while his teammate and former Tyrone star A.J. Schopp is the No. 2 seed at 133.
For Penn State, senior David Taylor (29-0), a three-time finalist and 2012 champion, leads Penn State as the Nittany Lions’ lone top seed. He’ll face San Diego State’s Joseph Brewster (22-14) in the first round at 165 pounds.
Two-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth (29-1) is the No. 2 seed at 184 pounds and will wrestle Wisconsin’s Jackson Hein in the opening round. Ruth, a senior, is the defending champion at 184 pounds where he defeated Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin in the finals last season.
Combined, Taylor and Ruth are 29-3 in three NCAA tournaments. The two have earned bonus points toward three-straight team championship wins in 21 of their combined 32 matches. Fourteen of those wins have come by fall with three technical falls and four major decisions.
Junior Nico Megaludis (26-3), Zain Retherford (29-1) and Morgan McIntosh (27-3) are all third seeds in their brackets.
Megaludis, a two-time NCAA finalist, will face Lehigh’s Darian Cruz (23-7) in the first round at 125. Retherford will make his NCAA tournament debut against The Citadel’s Undrakhbayar Khishignyam (22-3) at 141. McIntosh (27-3) will make his second NCAA tournament appearance. McIntosh wrestled in the postseason two seasons ago as a true freshman and redshirted last season. He will face Lehigh’s John Bolich (16-13) in the first round at 197.
Junior Matt Brown, who advanced to the finals last season where he lost to Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry, is the No. 5 seed at 174. Brown (28-4) will face Stanford’s Kyle Meyer (26-11) in the opening round.
Dylan Alton (18-5), looking for his first trip to the finals, will wrestle as the No. 13 seed at 157 pounds. The Penn State junior reached All-America status in 2012 when he advanced to the third-place match and he beat Northwestern’s Jason Welch. Alton went 3-2 in last season’s tournament. He’ll face either Michigan’s Brian Murphy (18-7) or Justin DeAngelis (16-5) of Oklahoma in the opening round.
Junior heavyweight Jon Gingrich (22-8) is the No. 14 seed at 285 pounds and will face David Devine (26-11) of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the opening round.
Redshirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (17-13) and sixth-year senior James English (11-5) are unseeded at 133 and 149 pounds, respectively, and are both making their NCAA tournament debuts. Gulibon will face fourth-seeded Jonathon Morrison (25-1) of Oklahoma State in the first round. Morrison beat Gulibon 2-0 in a dual meet on Feb. 16. English will meet No. 12 seed Dyllan Cottrell (11-5) of Appalachian State in the first round.
The first round is set to begin at 11 a.m. inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 18.
Port (26-0) was a finalist last season but dropped the championship bout to Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple. He’ll look to return to the finals and will face either Nick Lester (17-11) of Oklahoma or Iowa State’s Gabe Moreno (16-19).
Schopp (31-1) will wrestle Navy’s Colton Rasche (25-12) in the opening round.