By Andy Elder
For The Daily Item
DES MOINES, Iowa —
In Penn State’s march to a three-peat, a six-pack of wrestlers will lead the way.
Nico Megaludis (125pounds), Dylan Alton (157), David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197) all advanced to this morning’s quarterfinal round of the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
Jordan Conaway (133), Bryan Pearsall (141) and Andrew Alton all bounced back from first-round losses Thursday with wrestle-back wins and are still alive. Jimmy Lawson lost his first match and had an upcoming wrestle-back match at press time.
“I think we’re doing well. We need to finish up here with (Lawson). We want to keep guys alive and score bonus points. Today is just kind of for show when it comes to the team points because the big points are scored (today),” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “There are some big matches tomorrow that will make a difference so we need to be ready for them.”
Meanwhile wrestlers from the Valley met with mixed results opening day.
Former Lewisburg standout Nathaniel Brown, who now wrestles at 174 pounds for Lehigh, lost in the first round and then eked out a 2-1 tiebreaker win in the wrestle-backs.
Virginia 174-pounder Jon Fausey, of Line Mountaint, won his first-round match and was then dropped into the consolation bracket by No. 1 seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State, 4-0.
Bloomsburg’s six-man contingent, Nick Wilcox (133), John Roosa (149), Frank Hickman (157), Josh Veltre (165), Richard Perry (197) and Justin Grant (285) were still alive at press time.
Veltre and Perry won their first-round matches but then lost in the Round of 16. Wilcox, Roosa and Hickman all bounced back from first-round losses with first-round wrestle-back wins. Grant lost in the opening round and had a wrestle-back match at press time.
Bucknell’s lone entrant, Joe Stolfi at 285 pounds, lost his first-round match and was awaiting a wrestle-back match at press time.
Megaludis rolled to a 17-2 technical in 6 minutes, 25 seconds in the opening round. Then, against Christian Cullinan of Central Michigan, the Nittany Lions’ fourth seed parlayed a couple of takedowns into a 5-2 win to advance to the quarterfinals against Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State.
“I’m good on my feet but (on the) bottom nobody can ride me and he rode me for a minute and a half,” a visibly discouraged Megaludis said. “I didn’t wrestle bad on my feet. I controlled the match but I can’t control a match and only win by three minutes.”
Dylan Alton, the first Nittany Lion to take the mat, breezed to a 10-2 major decision in a pigtail bout and followed with an 8-4 win over Pitt’s Donnie Tasser. In the next round against Rider’s Zac Cibula, who Alton defeated 5-2 in the dual, Alton majored him 13-5. He will meet No. 1 seed Jason Welch in the quarterfinals.
Taylor, the No. 2 seed at 165, wasted precious time in piling up a big lead on North Carolina’s John Staudenmayer before decking him in 2:52. Then, against Appalachian State’s Zachary Strickland, Taylor struck again with a fall in 2:42. He faces Illinois’ Conrad Polz in the quarterfinals.
Brown was his usual methodical, dominating self in a 10-1 opening-round win against a dangerous Todd Porter from Missouri. Then, against Pitt’s Nick Bonaccorsi, Brown scored a fall in 1:30. Brown will meet Iowa State’s Tanner Weatherman in the quarterfinals.
Ruth was nearly taken down in his first-round match against Lock Haven’s Fred Garcia, but the No. 1 seed quickly recovered to score a 28-second fall. Then, against Arizona State’s Kevin Radford, Ruth took a period longer but got another fall in 3:42. Ruth meets Pitt’s Max Thomusseit in the quarterfinals.
Wright started with a 7-3 decision of Rider’s Donald McNeil in the opening round. Against Drexel’s Brandon Palik in the next round, Wright squeaked out a 3-2 win. He meets Minnesota’s Scott Schiller in the quarters.
Conaway was bounced into the wrestlebacks by Rutgers’ Vincent Dellafave. The Scarlet Knight scored a takedown in sudden victory for a 3-1 win. Conaway next faced Dylan Hyder of the Air Force. He scored a takedown 35 seconds into the sudden victory period for a 6-4 win.
Pearsall lost a rollicking 12-4 major to Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor. Against Maryland’s Frank Goodwin in the next round Pearsall and won by major, 10-2.
Andrew Alton, the 11th seed at 149, was outhorsed by Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt, 4-1. Up next was Army’s Daniel Young, who nearly upset Minnesota’s Dylan Ness in the first round. Alton caught him in a headlock and pinned him in 2:05.
Lawson came on strong at the end but couldn’t get the winning points in a 4-3 loss to Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson, a returning All-American. In a wrestle-back pigtail bout against Utah Valley’s Adam Fager, Lawson scored a reversal in the third period for a 5-4 win.