A true team effort carried the Nittany Lions to victory. Iowa battled neck and neck with PSU up until Ed Ruth’s match towards the end.
Going into the third session, the Lions had five wrestlers in position for championship bouts: Megaludis (125), Retherford (141), Taylor (165), Ruth (185) and McIntosh (197).
Taylor’s and Ruth’s key major decisions over two Hawkeyes, two more championship losses for Iowa and a number of wrestleback points pushed Penn State to a six and a half point win.
125: ILL Jesse Delgado dec. PSU Nico Megaludis, 3-2
133: IOWA Tony Ramos dec. WIS Tyler Graff, 2-1
141: OSU Logan Stieber dec. PSU Zain Retherford, 7-3
149: NU Jason Tsirtsis dec. NEB Jake Sueflohn, 6-2
157: NEB James Green dec. IOWA Derek St. John, 7-4
165: PSU David Taylor maj. dec. IOWA Nick Moore, 14-5
174: NEB Robert Kokesh dec. IOWA Mike Evans, 6-4
185: PSU Ed Ruth maj. dec. IOWA Ethan Lofthouse, 10-2
197: OSU Nick Heflin dec. PSU Morgan McIntosh, 5-3
285: MINN Tony Nelson dec. IND Adam Chalfant, 2-1
For 7th place-133: PSU Jimmy Gulibon maj. dec. NU Dominic Malone, 9-1
For 5th place-149: PSU James English dec. WIS Ryan Lubeck, 3-2
For 7th place-157: ILL Zac Brunson maj. dec. PSU Dylan Alton, 13-4
For 3rd place-174: PSU Matt Brown dec. MINN Logan Storley, 2-1
For 5th place-285: NU Mike McMullan dec. PSU Jon Gingrich, 8-2
FINAL: Penn State- 140.5, Iowa- 134.0, Minnesota-114.5
The ever so familiar Megaludis vs. Delgado match went to Illinois this time around. Last time the two saw each other; Megaludis beat Delgado at Rec Hall. Two very different wrestling techniques offset each other and keep the points to a minimum. An exchange of two escapes led the bout into a second overtime where Delgado took his winning point with :15 of riding time. As Megaludis left the mat, his final words to Delgado were, “See you at nationals.”
Another flashback hit Penn State fans as true freshman Zain Retherford met Ohio State’s Logan Stieber. Retherford surprised everyone when he defeated two-time national champion, Stieber, earlier this season. The Buckeye did his homework, and wouldn’t let that happen again. Stieber scored two takedowns and a near fall, handing Retherford his first loss of the season. The two are sure to meet again at nationals.
Penn State a bit weary about the team score had high hopes for three-time national champ David Taylor and he didn’t disappoint. Taylor hammered Iowa’s Nick Moore for a major decision and his fourth Big Ten Championship title. In an interview after the bout, Taylor credited his parents for his wrestling journey that led him to this title.
With one individual title clinched and a crucial need for Penn State points, Ed Ruth took the stage. Ruth dominated Iowa’s Ethan Lofthouse and handed the Hawkeyes another major decision loss. Alongside Taylor, Ruth became a four-time Big Ten champion. His win over Lofthouse also locked Penn State’s lead and was the most important win of the day.
Penn State already secured their Big Ten title win, but Morgan McIntosh looked to win his first Big Ten title. He battled Ohio State’s Nick Heflin through sudden victory and a tie breaker, then gave up a takedown with :02 left. A heartbreaking loss, but there’s no way McIntosh will let another win slip through his fingers in Oklahoma City.
The team flaunted their new t-shirts and hats as they raised their Big Ten trophy- a well deserved day of celebration before they go back to work.
All ten Penn State wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Nationals due to take place March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
ESPNU will provide coverage of the six sessions. The first session starts at 12 p.m. Thursday, March 20 and the last one starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 22.