Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wrestling Wreport

It's been a fantastic week for Penn State wrestling, Saturday PSU dominated the No.12 team in the country beating Hofstra 28 – 11 and then on Monday 197 pounder Phil Davis beat the 3rd ranked wrestler in the country 6-2 in the 2007 NWCA All-Star Classic, held at the University of Oregon. The All-Star Classic is an invitational exhibition match that doesn't count in the season records but goes a long way in proving who the top dog at each weight class is.

Davis beat Mike Tamillow of Northwestern with a reversal in the second period and his patent cradle with 3 near fall points in the third and a riding time point. While Tamillow was the aggressor on his feet, Davis fought off several good shots in the first and dominated on the mat like he does so often in the second and third periods. With three matches under his belt (two official) Davis has beat the eight, sixth and third ranked wrestlers in the country in a span of nine days by a combined score of 35-5. Impressive to say the least.

Hofstra Highlights

Saturday's match started off at none other than the aforementioned Davis' weight where he meat No. 6 Joe Rovelli of Hofstra at 197. As is the case in most of his matches, Davis fought off a good shot by Rovelli in the first to force a reset and then got a takedown of his own and rode Rovelli out to end the first. In the second Davis chose down, reversed Rovelli and nearly pinned him but Rovelli fought the move off and escaped for a 6-1 deficit. Davis got another takedown and three near fall points to end the second up 11-1. In the third Davis rode Rovelli for the entire period to end the match with a 12-1 major decision with the riding time point added on.

As critical as I was of heavyweight Stefan Tighe, I must give him props for his effort Saturday. Tighe dominated early and took a 5-1 lead into the final stanza where he left Hofstra's James Guerin up to try and work for a major. He did better than that when he planted Guerin on his back for the pin. It was a good old fashioned heavyweight-style pin, the kind that looks like two bears fighting over a pile of day old donuts – brutal yet thrilling to watch.

In stark contrast to the dancing bears previous to them the next bout matched to lightning-quick ranked 125 pounders when Penn State's Mark McKnight (No. 10) met No. 7 Dave Tomasette of Hofstra. The two traded good shots in the first but the period ended with no score. McKnight quickly escaped after choosing down to start the second and quickly notched a takedown to lead 3-1. Tomasette escaped in the third to cut the lead to 3-2 but McKnight kept the offense up and nearly got another takedown as time ticked down. The match ended 3-2 as McKnight wrestled with more intensity in the first 30 seconds of this match than the entire pervious match. This is the kind of effort Penn State fans expect out of McKnight and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

The marquee matchup occurred at 141 where All-American Jake Strayer (No. 7) met the second ranked wrestler in the country in Charles Griffin of Hofstra. Following McKnight's lead, Strayer came out the aggressor and got the first takedown halfway through the first period. After a reset, Strayer worked hard on top, secured a cradle and put Griffin flat on his back. Although Griffin was clearly pinned, Strayer did not get the call. Regardless Strayer went into the second period up 5-0. Griffin chose down and Strayer rode him the entire second period and built up over three minutes of riding time. Strayer couldn't escape in the third and gave up a stall point but he went on to post an impressive 6-1 win. Strayer served notice to the rest of the country that he is for real at 141 showing dominance on his feet and on top.

At 149 Bubba Jenkins posted two takedowns in the first period to build a 4 -1 lead and coasted to a 5-2 win over Hofstra's Mitch Smith. At 157 Dan Vallimont got takedowns in both the first and second periods to build a 5-1 lead before giving up a third period takedown. He did hold on to win 6-3 and put Penn State up 22-5 with only three bouts left.

Penn State lost the next two but Phil Bomberger put the exclamation point on the match with an upper body throw of Hofstra freshman Jeff Siciliano, pinning him just 1:52 into his bout.

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