The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team dropped its first dual meet of the year, falling 22-16 at Iowa in a sold out Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won six of ten bouts, including three thrilling one-point decisions in the dual's key match-ups.
A rematch of last year's NCAA title bout at 125 was the first bout of the night, and Lion sophomore Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 2, and Iowa senior Matt McDonough, ranked No. 1, did not disappoint. The duo battled to a 1-1 tie and through a sudden victory period before McDonough was able to ride Megaludis out and then escape in his tie-breaker period for a thrilling 2-1 (TB) win. Tony Ramos, ranked No. 3 at 133, then pinned Lion freshman Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), handing Conaway his first dual meet loss, to put Iowa up 9-0 early.
Iowa's Matt Ballweg, ranked No. 8 at 141, then posted a 12-2 major over Lion senior Bryan Pearsall (Lititz, Pa.), giving Iowa a 13-0 lead. Penn State sophomore Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 149, put Penn State on the board with a sound 18-8 major over Iowa's Brody Grothus. Then, in another epic rematch of a key NCAA bout from a year ago, Lion All-American Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 157, took on No. 1 Derek St. John. Like the 125-pound bout, the All-American duo did not disappoint. Alton took a lead midway through the second period and carried that lead into the third. Alton looked to increase his lead late in the bout, but St. John was able to counter and get a late takedown to post a thrilling 4-3 win. The victory, Iowa's fourth in the first five, put the Hawkeyes up 16-4 at intermission.
The second half began with a bang for Penn State as All-American David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 2 at 165, dominated No. 13 Nick Moore. Taylor turned Moore three times in the first period alone and rolled to an 18-2 technical fall at the 6:42 mark. Iowa won a third epic battle by a single point. This time, No. 6 Mike Evans used a late third period counter takedown to down No. 4 Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) in a thriller at 174, putting the Hawkeyes up 19-9 with only three bouts left.
All-American Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 184, remained undefeated on the year with a dominating 21-10 major over Iowa's Grant Gambrall. All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 197, then pulled Penn State to within striking distance, picking up an 8-3 win over No. 19 Nathan Burak to cut the Iowa lead to 19-16. In the dual's final bout, No. 6 Bobby Telford of Iowa stopped Penn State's comeback short with a 9-2 win over No. 17 Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) at heavyweight.
While Iowa won six of ten bouts, Penn State owned a 22-13 lead in takedowns. The loss snaps a 20 dual win streak for Penn State.
--PSU Athletic Communications--