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Penn State wins 2nd straight title

By Craig Sesker ST. LOUIS – The Penn State Nittany Lions are the kings of college wrestling once again.

And the top-ranked team in the land may have the firepower to stay there for a while. Penn State crowned three champions to put the finishing touches on its second straight team title at the NCAA Championships on March 17. The Nittany Lions won their third national title overall before a record-set- ting sellout crowd of 18,919 fans at the Scottrade Center. Penn State finished with 143 points. The Nittany Lions crowned champions in senior Frank Molinaro (149 pounds), along with sophomores David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (174).

"I'm real happy for the guys," said

Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, who won his second title in three seasons with the Nittany Lions. "I think they wrestled great. They went out and did what they needed to do. We had some incredible performances."

Second-ranked Minnesota finished second with 117.5 points and one cham- pion. Third-ranked Iowa was third with 107.5 points and one champion. Fifth- ranked Cornell was fourth with 98.5 points and three champions. The top-seeded Molinaro scored a

takedown early in the second period en route to a 4-1 win over Minnesota fresh- man Dylan Ness in the 149 finals. Molinaro, a senior, climbed one step on the podium after finishing second last year.

Molinaro won a rematch of the Big Ten finals, where he prevailed by technical fall over Ness.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet because I didn’t picture the match going like that,” said Molinaro, who finished the season unbeaten. “It ended up in a dogfight, but I

6 USA Wrestler

Penn State scored 143 points and crowned three champions in winning its sec- ond straight title and third overall. Tony Rotundo photo.

put my heart and soul into this for five years. I didn’t care how I got it, as long as I was standing on top of the podium.” The top-seeded Taylor capped an unbeaten season by dismantling No. 11 Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh by a 22-7 technical fall in the 165 finals. Taylor pinned his first four opponents of the tournament. Taylor put his vast arsenal of leg

attacks on full display in rolling to his first title. He scored a quick ankle pick for his first takedown against Hatchett and never let up from there. Taylor was second in the NCAAs as a freshman last year at 157.

“I wasn’t getting second again,” Taylor said. “I love wrestling and this is what I enjoy. I wrestle relentless and try to score every second. That’s what I do every match.” Taylor was named Outstanding

Wrestler of the tournament and won the award for recording the most falls in the least amount of time.

"I couldn't be more happy for David," Sanderson said. "I'm not a history buff in any way, but I don't know if there's ever been a more dominant performance at the NCAA tournament."

The top-seeded Ruth rolled to a 13-2 Continued on page 7

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