DES MOINES, Iowa - In Penn State's march to a three-peat, a six-pack of wrestlers will lead the way.
Nico Megaludis (125), 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 Div. 1 Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
Jordan Conaway (133), Bryan Pearsall (141) and Andrew Alton all bounced back from first-round losses with wrestleback wins and are still alive. Jimmy Lawson lost his first match and had an upcoming wrestleback match at press time.
Photo for the Mirror by Tami Ogline Knopsnyder
Edinboro’s A.J. Schopp, a Tyrone graduate, rides Michigan’s Rosario Bruno Thursday.
"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 tomorrow. There are some big matches tomorrow that will make a difference so we need to be ready for them," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.
Meanwhile, a pair of former Tyrone standouts, A.J. Schopp of Edinboro and Ronnie Garbinsky of Pitt, had mixed results in the first round.
Schopp dominated Michigan's Rosario Bruno, 8-0, in the opening round. Then, against Binghamton's Derek Steeley, Schopp rolled up an 18-2 technical in just 2:42. He meets No. 5 seed Chris Dardanes of Minnesota in this morning's quarterfinals.
Garbinsky was overwhelmed, 16-3, by Nebraska's Jake Sueflohn in the opening round. In the wrestlebacks, he met Wyoming's Brandon Richardson where he was pinned and eliminated.
Megaludis rolled to a 17-2 technical fall in 6:25 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 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 was the first Nittany Lion to take the mat on Thursday. He 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 wrestleback pigtail bout against Utah Valley's Adam Fager, Lawson scored a reversal in the third period for a 5-4 win.