Penn State clung to its No. 1 ranking this past week after their loss to Minnesota. “Losing” is an unfamiliar feeling for coach Cael Sanderson. He made sure his team handled the loss in a constructive manner as they prepared for the tough wrestlers of OSU.
Sanderson kept to his usual calm and collected style as fellow legendary coach John Smith of Oklahoma State took a different coaching approach. He was on his feet and inches away from the boundaries of the mat at every bout.
Smith can’t help but yell and wave his arms around in the heat of the moment as he watches his wrestlers. Sanderson decides to leave the spotlight to his team and let them handle the opponent, the refs, and their sometimes-controversial calls.
125: PSU Nico Megaludis dec. OKST Eddie Klimara, 11-7
133: OKST Jon Morrison dec. PSU Jimmy Gulibon, 2-0
141: PSU Zain Retherford dec. OKST Anthony Collica, 2-0
149: OKST Josh Kindig dec. PSU Zack Beitz, 5-3
157: OKST Alex Dieringer dec. PSU Dylan Alton, 6-4
165: PSU David Taylor dec. OKST Tyler Caldwell, 5-2
174: OKST Chris Perry dec. PSU Matt Brown, 4-3
184: PSU Ed Ruth pinned OKST Nolan Boyd, (5:41)
197: PSU Morgan McIntosh maj. dec. OKST Kyle Crutchmer, 16-2
285: PSU Jon Gingrich maj. dec. OKST Ethan Driver, 14-5
Final: PSU- 23, OKST- 12
No. 2 Nico Megaludis made the crowd a bit nervous when he found himself down 5-1 to OSU’s No. 13 Eddie Klimara at the beginning of the second period. A sigh of relief let out when Megaludis connected with a low single to cut the lead 5-3. He cut Klimara loose and quickly took him down again. One more escape for Klimara and a third takedown for Megaludis took them to the third tied at 7-7. Megaludis escaped at the whistle and went for a high single. He worked for control of Klimara’s ankle and took a lead 10-7. He finished his comeback win with a ride out, 11-7.
PSU’s 133 No. 16 Jimmy Gulibon stood his ground against No. 4 Jon Morrison. He only fell to one Morrison takedown, but that was enough for Morrison to work his defense for the rest of the match.
No. 2 Nittany Lion Zain Retherford remains unbeaten at 141. He beat OSU’s No. 19 Anthony Collica with one escape and a 1:50 riding time.
Zack Beitz continues to prove himself worthy at his 149 spot. The No. 17 ranked freshman battled No. 9 Josh Kindig and took shots at him until the final seconds. Kindig succeeded in countering two Beitz takedown attempts to lead to his hard fought 5-3 win.
No. 6 Dylan Alton looked to upset OSU’s No. 3 Alex Dieringer at 157. Dieringer scored all his points from the get-go and Alton ran out of time to catch up. A few fans grew impatient as they waited for Alton to make a comeback. He took a couple shots as time ticked away, but couldn’t connect. He lost the bout 6-4.
After intermission, the “Taylor Gang” chant spread through the stands as No. 1 All- American David Taylor approached the mat to face No. 5 Tyler Caldwell. The bout moved a bit slow, but Taylor came out on top with a score of 5-2.
The most anticipated match of the day came next at 174, No. 4 Matt Brown vs. No. 2 Chris Perry, a rematch of last year’s NCAA title. In the first, Brown nearly pinned Perry in front of the already celebrating student section, but no fall was called. Mouths dropped as Perry was awarded two takedown points instead. Brown got two escapes and one stall point to lead 3-2 in the third. He then killed Perry’s riding time, but cut him loose and tied the score 3-3. The two held the score at 3-3 in the first sudden victory period. In the second tiebreaker, Perry was able to break free for an escape to make the score 4-3. Brown shot until the final seconds, pulling the crowd to the edge of their seats as he almost finished a low single on Perry at the very end. Perry fought him off and walked away with a 4-3 win.
A bit of an over the top celebration from Perry pushed fans to their limits as crowd favorite, 184 No. 2 Ed Ruth took the stage. He faced freshman Cowboy Nolan Boyd. Ruth put on a show with his crazy strength and edging control for two periods, but had enough of Boyd’s squirmy escapes by the third. At the 5:41 mark, Ruth drove Boyd to the mat for a pin and raised fans to their feet.
A win at 197 clinched a PSU victory. No. 3 Morgan McIntosh took on OSU’s Kyle Crutchmer. McIntosh dominated the mat, countering Crutchmer’s attempts and working his takedowns into back points. He walked away with a tech fall of 16-2.
Heavyweight Jon Gingrich walked into his bout with Cowboy Ethan Driver knowing his team already had the win. He used the opportunity to make a show of the usually slow moving heavyweight match. The match included a total of six ground-shaking Gingrich takedowns and ended the day with a PSU major decision at 14-5.
The Nittany Lions now stand 14-1, 7-1 in the Big Ten. Sometimes Sanderson’s “silent approach” speaks for itself. Next up PSU honors their seniors on as they host Clarion this Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. Coverage will be provided by the Big Ten Network.