Monday, February 11, 2008

Wrestling Wreport

When last we left our heroes they were in the midst of quite the tailspin. Since Wrestling Wreport (and me for that matter) has been M.I.A. allow me to catch you up before covering this Friday's dual meet with No. 6 Michigan.

On Jan 25th Penn State lost a heartbreaker to then #7 Ohio State 22-19. It was a real kick in the pants because the entire dual meet came down to then #5 Jake Strayer vs. then #10 Jaggers of Ohio State. Strayer had lost a close 6-4 decision to Jaggers earlier in the year and with a 3 point lead in team points all Strayer had to do was avenge the loss. Unfortunately, Strayer got pinned early in the second period which lost the dual meet for Penn State and dropped his record to 0-2 against Jaggers. This began a period of bad wrestling for Strayer after he rose all the way to #2 in the country at 141 (more on that later).

On Jan 27th Penn State welcomed #17 Indiana by pounding the Hoosiers 25-9. Even without All-American Phil Davis, Penn State still won 7 of 10 matches with the key win coming at 165 where unranked Dave Rella for PSU defeated #9 Matt Coughlin of IU. Rella came out of high school a highly touted recruit and for the most part had a lackluster freshman season followed by a even less impressive sophomore campaign until this match. The match ended in overtime when Rella managed an escape in his half of the rideout but held Coughlin down the entire 30 second period to post the win. Hopefully this will be the match that propels Dave to the next level.

On the first day of February Penn State managed to string together back to back dual wins by escaping No. 10 Northwestern 18-15 thanks to a pin by Tim Haas. Phil Davis, ranked No. 2, lost his first match of the year to then #3 Mike Tamillow 6-1. Davis beat Tamillow in the coaches' challenge earlier in the year. On the positive side, Dave Rella continued his hot hand beating No. 20 Dominic Marella of NU 6-5 and Dan Vallimont remained the only undefeated wrestler for Penn State.

The run on victories was to be short lived though as Penn State's roller coaster season continued with a stunning loss on the road to #15 Illinois on Feb 3rd. John Laboranti and David Erwin both lost to lower ranked wrestlers and Dan Vallimont lost his first match of the season, although it was a tough 6-3 decision to No. 1 Mike Poeta.

That brings us to Friday's action against No. 6 Michigan. You want drama and excitement? How about after 9 individual bouts the entire dual meet coming down to the last second of overtime of the last bout? With Penn State up 17-14 and needing a win to secure the team victory, Heavyweight John Laboranti for Penn State and Michigan's Chad Bleske went three periods tied 4-4 after trading takedowns and two escapes each. The two danced for almost the entire overtime period until 10 seconds left when Laboranti got Bleske's ankle at the edge of the mat. Needing both ankles for the takedown there was a mad scramble with time ticking where the ref signaled the two point takedown only to wave it off twice before John finally grabbed both ankles with only his toes in bounds with no time remaining on the clock to secure the bout and the meet in thrilling fashion.

NOT the winning takedown but it's the only pic of Laboranti I could find... you get the point

To be honest, I believe the clock ran out before the takedown but that was just me counting the seconds in my head because I couldn't watch the clock and the action at the same time. There were two refs and both signaled the takedown occurred before the clock ran out so who am I to argue? I'll take it.

I would be remiss if I were not to mention the amazing win by true freshmen sensation Garrett Scott for PSU (unranked) beating No. 4 Kellen Russell of Michigan. Scott was one of the most recruited wrestlers last season and he showed why Friday beating Russell 4-3. Russell got a first period takedown and an escape while Scott got two escapes and put Russell on his back for two near fall points for the final score of the bout.

It was a thrilling bout with a lot of action and it showcased Scott's quickness and power as he countered several Russell shots early and nearly threw him on his back at one point. Scott is the real deal and was filling in for Strayer after he got injured wrestling Scott in practice.

Next up Penn State hosts Michigan State on Friday, Feb. 15, which will air live to a Big Ten Network and then welcomes Purdue to Rec Hall on Sunday, Feb. 17. Tune in... you probably won't see me blended in with all the blue & white but I'll be the obnoxious one yelling "you suck ref!" throughout most of the match.


Nick said...

Galen, what the hell man? Get back to your camp at Pryor's house and continue to monitor surveillance, we want to break this story!

Galen said...

I was caught and had a restraining order placed against me, I’m not allowed within 100 miles of him. If he comes to Penn State I’ll have to move. I'm still better off than Tom Lemming though.