After two days of rigorous tournament action, the finals of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships took place tonight (Sat., March 17) and Penn State wrapped up the tournament by winning three individual championships en route to the team championship.
It's the schools second straight team championship under coach Cael Sanderson.
Minnesota finished as runner up, with Iowa and Cornell coming in right behind them, but really this tournament was all about the Nittany Lions, as they sent a stunning five wrestlers through to the finals.
Here's how the finals played out, with a brief breakdown of all the matches:
Matt McDonough (Iowa) won by decision (4-1) over Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State)
After a scoreless first period, McDonough and Megaludis traded single points for escapes before McDonough secured the match with a third period takedown. McDonough wins his second NCAA championship at 125 pounds while Megaludis' fairy tale run came up just short. Nevertheless, Megaludis was a big part of Penn State's championship victory.
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) won by decision (4-3) over Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State)
Oliver got off to a good start, getting a takedown early in the first period to take a two point lead. It was short lived, as Stieber escaped the position for a single point, tied the match with an escape to start the second period and got his own takedown at the end of the second period. Oliver would bring the match to 4-3 with an escape in the third period, but Stieber held on to get the upset victory.
Kellen Russell (Michigan) won in overtime (6-4) over Montell Marion (Iowa)
My stream had some problems during this match, so I wasn't able to catch how the scoring went down. A real shame, as it sounded like a real great match between two wrestlers with a bit of a history. Russell had beaten Marion three times prior in their collegiate careers and despite Marion putting on a valient effort, Russell was able to get an overtime victory and win his second consecutive 141 pound championship.
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) won by decison (4-1) over Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
Molinaro got a late takedown in the first round and took bottom to start the second. He got a quick escape to push his lead to 3-0, which he maintained through the second round. Needing to do something major to comeback, Ness was unable to escape from the bottom position until the final 30 seconds of the third round and Molinaro became the first Penn State champion for 2012, completing his undefeated season.
Kyle Dake (Cornell) won by decision (4-1) over Derek St. John (Iowa)
Dake opened the match with a takedown at the end of the first minute of action. Dake would get an escape from bottom in the second round, then was cautioned for stalling. He was penalized for stalling in the third stanza, but St. John couldn't muster up any offense and ultimately fell 4-1. Dake completes his third championship season in a row, having won at 141, 149 and now 157 pounds. Very very impressive.
David Taylor (Penn State) won by technical fall (22-7) over Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh)
It took a grand total of 7 seconds for Taylor to take Hatchett to the mat and start working for a pin. Hatchett actually got back up fairly quickly with an escape, but was taken right back down. This was repeated once more, and Taylor took a 6-2 lead into the second round. Taylor would start on bottom and quickly reversed the position, earning another two points. Hatchett had no answer for the takedowns of Taylor, although he should be given credit for being able to escape every time. The third round featured a wild sequence of takedowns and escapes, as Taylor took his foe down another five times, the fifth giving him a 15 point lead and earning him the technical fall. Four pins and a tech fall win for Taylor in the tournament. This guy would be perfect for MMA, although I'm sure the wrestling community is not going to let him go without a fight.
Edward Ruth (Penn State) won by major decision (13-2) Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford)
The final I was most looking forward to. Both guys undefeated, Amuchastegui the last man to have beaten Ruth, (in last year's tournament). Ruth got off to a great start with a takedown and a near pin, but Amuchastegui was able to reverse the position, before a last second escape by Ruth gave him a 5-2 lead. Ruth ran away with the match in the second and third periods, escaping from bottom and getting a takedown in the second and getting a takedown and another near pin in the third to win going away, avenging his loss and becoming the third Nittany Lion champion of 2012.
Steve Bosak (Cornell) won in overtime (4-2) over Quentin Wright (Penn State)
A low scoring and calculating match. There was no scoring in the first period, and Wright chose to start the second stanza on the bottom and got a reversal to take a 2-0 lead. Bosak would escape before the period ended and would chose to take bottom to start the third so that he could replicate the feat. Sure enough , Bozak got the quick escape to tie the match at two, sending it to overtime. Bozak would get a takedown with 16 seconds remaining in overtime to get the victory, preventing Wright from winning his second straight championship.
Cam Simaz (Cornell) won by decision (7-5) over Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro)
After a slow first round, Honeycutt would get a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period. Honeycutt might have been a little too content to just let the period run down and Simaz was able to score an escape, making the score 2-1 for Honeycutt after one. Honeycutt began the second round on bottom and got a quick reversal, building a three point lead. After watching his teammate come from behind to win the 184 pound championship, Simaz turned it on himself, escaping the position and getting his own takedown to tie the score going into the third period. He got another escape after starting the period on bottom and then secured a takedown to get his own three point lead. Honeycutt would escape but was unable to take Simaz down in the final minute and after finishing third in the last two tournaments, Cam Simaz finally won his championship. Impressive heart and determination shown by the Cornell finalists, as both men were trailing in the second period of their matches before coming back to win.
Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) won by decision (4-1) over Zachery Rey (Lehigh)
There wasn't a ton of action in this match between the big boys. That shouldn't be too surprising I guess, as Nelson has a grinding style that doesn't lend to either he or his opponents scoring much. After a scoreless first period, Rey took bottom and fought his way to an escape after being warned twice for stalling. Nelson would tie the match with a quick escape to start the third and finally we got an exciting moment, as Nelson scored a takedown with just eight seconds left in the match to earn his first NCAA championship.
So there you have it! Thanks for following along at MMAMania.com throughout the tournament. If you'd like to review the results from the rest of the weekend, here they are:
Session 1, Round of 32 results
Session 2, Round of 16 results