ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Red-shirt freshman All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) battled his way to a third place finish in the medal rounds of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Alton, the No. 7 seed at 157, went 2-0 as the Lions' only competitor in the morning session. While not official until tournament's end tonight, and barring any loss of team points, head coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions have clinched their second straight NCAA Championship.
Penn State enters tonight's national finals with 128.5 points, more than 12 points ahead of second place Minnesota, which only has two finalists (for a maximum of 12 winnable points). As long as the Nittany Lions do not lose any team points, Penn State will claim its second NCAA title in Sanderson's three years as head coach.
In his first match, Alton took on No. 5 Ganbayar Sanjaa of American. The freshman All-American went to extra time with Sanjaa, wearing him down and getting the decisive takedown in the second sudden victory period to post the 7-5 (sv2) win and move into the third place match.
Alton then met No. 3 Jason Welch of Northwestern for third. The Nittany Lion freshman took care of the Wildcat, using two takedowns, an escape and 1:23 in riding time to roll to a 6-2 win. The victory closed out Alton's inaugural NCAA tourney run with a 7-1 mark and a third place finish, well above his No. 7 seed.
The 2012 NCAA Finals begin tonight at 6:30 p.m. CENTRAL/7:30 p.m. EASTERN and will air live on ESPN. Penn State will have five finalists battling for national titles tonight. True freshman Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) at 125, senior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) at 149, sophomore David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) at 165, sophomore Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) at 174 and junior Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) at 184 will all be vying for championships tonight.Alton's 2-0 morning gives Penn State a 30-7 overall record heading into the finals. Penn State has 23.0 bonus points off of seven pins, six majors and two tech falls. Penn State's five finalists is an all-time school record as is its current team point total (sitting at 128.5 heading into tonight). By virtue of Alton's third place finish, more than half (six) of Penn State's line-up finished in the top three nationally.
--PSU Athletic Communications--