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Lion Wrestlers Claim Fifth Straight Southern Scuffle Title

Courtesy of PSU Athletics

Strong morning session builds lead for Sanderson’s squad

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.; January 2, 2015 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 4 in the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index, used a torrid morning session to win the 2015 Defense Soap and Flips Wrestling Southern Scuffle.  Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad used a balanced attack of placers at nine of ten weights to win its fifth straight Southern Scuffle title.


Penn State won the team race with 165.0 points while Missouri was second with 150.0.  The Lions went 29-15 in the morning session to bolt out to an insurmountable lead over the Tigers.  Oklahoma State placed third with 135.5, Nebraska fourth with 116.0 and Michigan fifth with 88.5


The day began with the quarterfinals and for Penn State that meant sophomore Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) was up first.  Gulibon, ranked No. 5 nationally and the top seed at 133, downed No. 15 Kevin Devoy of Drexel 7-2.  Penn State had two quarterfinalists at 149. Sophomore Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.), ranked No. 17, picked up key bonus points with a third period pin over Drexel’s Matt Cimato at the 6:35 mark.  Junior Luke Frey (Montoursville, Pa.) took on Josh Kindig, ranked No. 2 nationally. Frey was tied 2-2 midway through the third period and was turning Kindig for possible back points when the official gave Kindig a defensive pin at the 5:22 mark, sending Frey into consolation action.


Senior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 157 and making his season debut at the tournament, was tied 1-1 in the third when he was turned for a quick pin at the 6:24 mark, falling into consolation action.  True freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), red-shirting this season and wrestling unattached, moved into the semifinals with a strong 6-1 win over North Carolina State’s Tommy Gantt.  Senior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 4 nationally at 174, posted a hard-fought 11-6 win over Oklahoma State’s Jordan Rogers in his quarterfinal match.


Red-shirt freshman Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), the sixth-seed at 184, dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Lehigh’s Nate Brown, who was ranked No. 3 nationally.  Junior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 4 nationally at 197, posted a strong 7-4 win over No. 12 Max Huntley of Michigan to move into the semifinals.  Penn State had two semifinalists at heavyweight.   Senior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.), the sixth-seed at 285, lost a 2-0 decision to No. 8 Adam Coon of Michigan.  True freshman Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), red-shirting this season and wrestling unattached, dominated No. 19 Riley Shaw of Cleveland State.  Nevills rolled to a 5-1 win with over 4:00 in riding time to advance to the semifinals.


In the semifinals, Gulibon gave up two second period takedowns and could not come back from it, dropping a tough 5-2 decision to No. 13 Earl Hall of Iowa State.  Beitz took on Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt, ranked fourth nationally, in the semis and nearly picked up the upset.  A third period ride out gave the Tiger a riding time point and a 3-2 decision.   Nolf became Penn State’s first finalist, albeit a non-team scoring one, with a strong 6-1 win over No. 12 Russell Parsons of Army in his semifinal bout.  The win pushed the unattached true freshman into the championship finals.


Brown opened up an early lead on No. 5 Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh and held on for a hard-fought 6-5 decision to advance to become Penn State’s second finalists.  McIntosh took on defending National Champion J’Den Cox of Missouri in the semifinals.  Cox turned a second period escape and a riding time bonus point into a 2-1 win, sending McIntosh into the consolation semifinals with the close decision.  Nevills took Oklahoma State’s Austin Marsden, ranked No. 4 nationally at 285, in the semifinals but dropped an 11-3 major to the Cowboy big man and moving to the consolation semifinals.


Nolf met top-seed James Green of Nebraska, ranked No. 2 nationally, in the finals at 157.  The Nittany Lion battled the three-time All-American tough for seven minutes but dropped a tough 7-4 decision to the Husker senior.  Nolf went 4-1 during his second-place performance in his first trip to the Southern Scuffle.


Brown took on top-seed Robert Kokesh of Nebraska, ranked No. 1 nationally, in the finals at 174.  Brown gave up a second period takedown and could not come back from it despite a flurry of shots in the third period.  Kokesh’s defense allowed the Husker to post the 3-2 decision.  Brown placed second with a 5-1 record, including a pin, a tech fall and a major.


The Lions who did not win in the semis roared back to help Penn State in the team race.  Gulibon dominated No. 14 Mackenzie McGuire of Kent State in the conso semis, posting a 7-2 win to advance to the third place match.  In that match, the Lion sophomore dropped a tough 3-1 (sv) decision to No. 6 Mason Beckman of Lehigh.  Gulibon went 4-2 with two majors to place fourth.  Beitz took on teammate Frey in the consolation semifinals and posted a hard won 2-1 decision, moving to the third place bout. In that bout, the Lion sophomore lost a tough 3-2 bout to No. 7 Edgar Bright of Pittsburgh.  Beitz went 4-2 with a pin and a major during his fourth place fun.  McIntosh made quick work of No. 18 Jace Bennett of Cornell in the conso semis, picking up first period pin at the 1:37 mark to move into the third place match.  In that match, McIntosh posted a 4-3 win over No 15 Elliott Riddick of Lehigh to take third place.  McIntosh went 5-1 with two pins in his tourney run.  Nevills was set to take on teammate Jon Gingrich in the conso semis but, after getting banged up in the prior match, the Lion took a medical forfeit.  He ended the tournament, starting unseeded, as the sixth place finisher, posting a 3-1 mark overall.


Junior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 5 nationally at 125, bounced back from a contested upset loss last night to win three straight consolation matches to start the day. Conaway posted two decisions early and then majored Pitt’s Dom Forys 8-0 to move into the conso quarters.  He dropped a tough 8-5 decision to No. 17 Tim Lambert of Nebraska to fall into the seventh place match.  In that placing bout, the Lion junior took revenge on Willeford to the tune of a 10-4 decision.  He went 5-2 at the Scuffle during his seventh place run with a tech fall and two majors.  With every point of critical import in a tight team race, Penn State got solid production at 141 pounds.  Red-shirt freshman Kade Moss (South Jordan, Utah) posted key bonus points with a major decision in his first conso bout Friday morning and both an injury default and a medical forfeit following that. With a top-eight finish clinched, Moss was not done.  He pinned Oklahoma State’s Dan Heil at the 4:18 mark, picking up his third pin of the tournament.  He was pinned by No. 10 Zach Horan of Central Michigan in the conso semis, moving to the fifth place bout where lost 8-5 to No. 14 Joe Ward of North Carolina.  Moss went 7-3 overall with three pins, a major and two forfeits for 11.0 bonus points.


Frey responded to his tough loss to Kindig by dominating Central Michigan’s Justin Oliver 9-2, clinched a top-eight finish and then downed Central Michigan’s Colin Heffernan in the conso quarters to set up a consolation semifinal bout with teammate Beitz. Beitz posted a tough 2-1 win, sending Frey to the fifth place match where he pinned Nebraska’s Tyler Berger in the first period, getting a quick fall at the 1:30 mark.  Frey went 6-2 with two pins to place fifth.  Alton responded to his upset loss in the quarters by catching No. 4 Brian Realbuto in a headlock and putting him to his back for a quick pin.  The fall, at the 1:17 mark, moved Alton into the conso quarters and clinched a top eight finish in his first event of the year.  He then duplicated the effort, catching No. 19 Anthony Collica in another headlock and picking up the first period pin at the 2:33 mark.  Alton took on No. 12 Russell Parsons of Army in the consolation semifinals and worked his way to a thrilling 5-4 win.  The decision pushed the fifth seed into the third place bout where he dropped a 5-2 decision to North Carolina State’s Tommy Gantt.  Alton made his season debut at the event and went 5-2, placed fourth as the fifth seed and picked up two pins over ranked wrestlers.


McCutcheon bounced back with a strong 3-1 win over Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker in his first consolation match.  The decision clinched a top-eight finish and moved him into the consolation quarters where he dominated No. 19 T.J. Dudley of Nebraska.  McCutcheon was up 11-0 with just :30 left when Dudley injury defaulted, giving McCutcheon two bonus points on top of the win.  In the consolation semis, he took on No. 9 Willie Miklus of Missouri in a key bout in the team race.  McCutcheon used a late takedown to grab a thrilling 9-8 win and move into the third place bout.  The red-shirt freshman took on No. 3 Brown of Lehigh again and fell 4-0.  McIntosh placed fourth with a 5-2 record, including a pin. Gingrich took care of Appalachian State’s Denzel DeJournette in his consolation match, posting a 9-5 win.  The victory clinched a top-eight finish for the Lion senior and moved him into the conso quarters where he posted a quick 15-0 tech fall over Kent State’s Mimmo Lytle.  In the conso semis, Gingrich was set to meet teammate Nick Nevills, but Nevills was banged up the match before so Gingrich grabbed the medical forfeit and moved into the third place bout.  In the third place match-up, Gingrich used a last second takedown to post a thrilling 3-2 win over Missouri’s Devin Mellon.  Gingrich’s third place finish came off a 7-1 record which included a pin, two majors, a tech and one forfeit victory.


Junior Michael Waters (Advance, N.C.) lost his first consolation match of the day, a 10-4 decision, and ended his Scuffle run with a 2-2 mark, including two majors.  Red-shirt freshman Cody Law (Windber, Pa.) nearly upset No. 10 Joey LaValle of Missouri in his first consolation bout Sunday, but riding time led to a 2-1 loss.  Law went 2-2 with a major.  Classmate Garett Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.), Penn State’s lone competitor at 165, dropped an 11-9 (sv) decision in his first consolation bout and ended his tournament with a 2-2 mark, including a pin.  Senior heavyweight Nick Ruggear (Oxford, Pa.), making his season debut at the Scuffle, lost his first wrestle-back of the day and ended his tournament with a 2-2 mark.


True freshman Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), wrestling unattached, went 2-1 on day one and was nicked midway through his third round tie-breaker loss (on one second of riding time) to Wyoming senior Andy McCulley.  Nickal took a medical forfeit (which is not a loss) and ended his tourney run with a 2-1 record at 174.  Senior Jimmy Lawson (Toms River, N.J.), ranked No. 6 nationally at 285 and the tournament’s No. 2 seed, did not wrestle at the event due to injury as well.


After a 38-7 first day, Penn State went 33-22 on day two of the event, posting a final 71-29 overall mark.  The Lions tallied 33 bonus point victories over the tournament’s two day run (12 majors, three technical falls, 14 pins, four forfeits).  Penn State had place-winners at nine of the ten weights (all except 165) and picked up team points at all ten weights.  The Nittany Lions finished with 12 place winners.


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