There were a couple of mentions of the wrestling team in the Purdue IGT. I wanted to give tjb et al an update on how the squad is doing but not clutter up the IGT any more.
After tying #1 ranked Cornell in the Southern Scuffle, PSU moved up into a tie for #1 with them in the national rankings. Neither team had a full line-up at the Scuffle, so it will be interesting to see how things play out in Philly for the NCAA championships in March (both teams were missing two key kids in their lineups but the consensus opinion seems to be that the missing PSU kids have a better chance of scoring at the NCAAs).
While there are some freshmen redshirting, most of the stud wrestlers in the last two classes are taking the mats. Personally, I’d say the last two classes had four UncleLar All-World wrestlers in them, specifically true freshman twins Dylan and Andrew Alton and redshirt freshman David Taylor and Ed Ruth. The Altons and Taylor are Sanderson recruits, Ruth was already committed to PSU before Sanderson took the job.
Barring injuries, here’s what our expected NCAA lineup will probably be (# = national ranking):
125 #11 Sr Brad Pataky 7-2 (just returned from a preseason injury - should climb higher in the rankings
133 #8 So Andrew Long (NCAA runner up transfer from Ia State - just became eligible and should climb higher in the rankings)
141 #5 Fr Andrew Alton 22-2 (his two losses are both by one point to the #1 ranked wrestler, he is a pinning machine and could win the Schalles Award given to the countries best pinner)
149 #6 Jr Frank Molinaro 17-2 (two time All American)
157 #2 RS Fr David Taylor 23-0 (has dominated everyone at the weight - has the potential to go undefeated in college like his long time mentor Cael Sanderson)
165 #33 RS Fr Jake Kemerer 12-6 or So Nick Fischer 13-7 (a weak weight for us)
174 #2 RS Fr Ed Ruth 21-1 (an absolute stud, defeated the previous #1 and #2 ranked wrestlers at the Southern Scuffle)
184 #8 RS So Quentin Wright 8-2 (placed 6th at the NCAAs as a true freshman two years ago, has been injured, will return to the lineup tomorrow).
197 Fr Nick Ruggear 13-6 or So Justin Ortega 4-8 (very weak weight, probably the only one where we won’t have an NCAA qualifier)
285 #7 Jr Cameron Wade 19-3 (has the potential to place at the NCAAs)
Sanderson’s kids are: Long, Alton, Taylor, Kemerer, Ruggear
Sunderland’s kids are: Pataky, Molinaro, Ruth, Wright, Wade.
The studs of the group are the UL All-World freshman Alton, Taylor, and Ruth who are a combined 66-3. As noted, two of the three losses are by one point to the #1 ranked wrestler. Each of these kids has NCAA champion potential as freshman.
And as good as this team is, it could be even better, perhaps much better, next year.
The only wrestler we lose is Sr Brad Pataky and there are two replacements waiting in the wings. True freshman Frank Martellotti went 18-3 while filling in for Pataky and was 6th ranked but didn’t hit the books with as much intensity and is ineligible for the rest of the season. Scheduled to join the team next year is another UL All-World wrestler in Nico Megaludis. Nico just became only the third wrestler to ever win four Powerade national titles last weekend. His career record is 137-1 and he has a 105 match winning streak going. In the spring he will be looking to win his fourth PIAA championship. He is the #1 ranked HS wrestler at 125.
Freshman Andrew Alton’s twin brother Dylan is redshirting this season. The challenge for him next year will be finding a spot in the lineup for him. He will be battling senior to be Frank Molinaro for the 149 lb spot.
True Freshman 165 lber Dirk Cowburn is redshirted. He is 16-2 wrestling in open tournaments this fall and has been rumored to be beating RS Fr Jake Kemerer in practice. Some people have been calling for Cael to burn Cowburn’s redshirt in order to make a run for the championship in Philly.
The current hole at 197 will likely be plugged by another UL All-World wrestler in Morgan McIntosh. Morgan is currently the nationally #1 ranked HS wrestler at 189 lbs and was designated the #1 upper weight recruit in the country by Open Mat. He will be looking to claim his third California state crown in the spring.
Both the near and far futures look very, very bright for this team. Of course, it helps that PA is such a hotbed for wrestling. Of the six superstuds that will be on the team next year, four of them - both Altons, Megaludis, and Ruth are PA products. Other PA kids that have the potential to be major contributors either this year or next are Martellotti, Pataky, Kemerer, Cowburn, and Wright.