MADISON, Wis. - The Penn State wrestling team finds itself in first place at the conclusion of day one at the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships.
The Nittany Lions, working for their fourth straight Big Ten crown, will have five wrestlers in the finals this afternoon. Penn State leads Iowa - 122-121 - in the team race.
Junior Nico Megaludis, the No. 1 at 125, withstood a strong effort from fourth-seeded Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin. Megaludis battled his way to a 4-3 win to advance to the title bout against Illinois' Jesse Delgado.
True freshman Zain Retherford, the No. 1 seed at 141, dominated Michigan's Stephen Dutton, rolling to a 4-0 win to advance to the finals against Ohio State's Logan Stieber.
Senior David Taylor, the No. 1 seed at 165, made short work of fifth-seed Jackson Morse of Illinois, gaining control by stepping over his chest and turning his shoulders flat to the mat for a pin in just :40. The pin was Taylor's 13th of the year and the 50th of his career. He gets Iowa's Nick Moore in the finals.
Senior Ed Ruth, the No. 1 seed at 184, beat Michigan's Dom Abounader, rolling to a 9-1 major decision. Ruth's impressive victory moves him into today's finals where he will face third-seed Ethan Lofthouse of Iowa.
Sophomore Morgan McIntosh, the No. 1 seed at 197, used a late reversal in the tiebreaker period to grab a 3-2 win over Iowa's Nathan Burak, the fifth-seed. Each wrestler had an escape in regulation and wrestled a minute of scoreless action in the sudden victory period. He gets Nick Heflin of Ohio State in the finals.
Junior Matt Brown, the No. 2 seed at 174, suffered a 3-2 upset at the hands of Iowa's Mike Evans, giving up a first-period takedown that was the difference.
Junior Jon Gingrich, the No. 8 seed at 285, did not follow up his upset of the tournament's top seed. Tony Nelson of Minnesota pinned Gingrich at the 1:58 mark.
Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon, the No. 7 seed at 133, punched his ticket with a 9-4 win over Nebraska's Shawn Nagel in his first consolation bout. He then dropped a tough 6-1 decision to Ohio State's Johnni DiJulius in the consy quarters.?He will wrestle for seventh place today.
Senior James English, the No. 7 seed at 149, picked up his first career win at the tournament in the first round of consolation action, riding Purdue's Brandon Nelsen for the entire third period to post a 3-2 decision.
Needing one more win to move on to the NCAAs, he used a second-period nearfall and ride-out to post a 5-2 win over sixth-seed Ian Paddock of Ohio State, making him Penn State's 10th qualifier of the day.
Junior Dylan Alton, the No. 5 seed at 157, posted a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ohio State's Randy Languis in his first consolation bout, using a quick third-period escape to secure 1:00 in riding time for the critical point. The win moves Alton on to the championships as well. In the consolation quarters, Michigan's Brian Murphy notched a late takedown to post a 3-1 win over Alton, sending Alton to the seventh-place bout.
The Nittany Lions went 9-3 in the second session, including a 5-2 mark in the semifinals and are now 23-7 overall. Penn State's bonus point tally stands at 15 off two pins, one default win, two techs and six majors.
The event continues today with consolation and seventh-place bouts at noon on the Big Ten Network. The championship finals begin at 2 p.m.