Monday, March 24, 2008

Wrestling Wreport

Penn State had a fantastic weekend in the NCAA Championship tournament this weekend crowning an individual champion and a total of four All-Americans. With the combined efforts of the seven wrestlers representing the Nittany Lions, Penn State finished a strong third place in the team standings behind only Iowa and Ohio State.

Both Phil Davis and Bubba Jenkins made it to the finals to both take on wrestlers they lost to previously. Bubba came up on the short end of a 14-8 decision to top ranked Brent Metcalf of Iowa at 149 but finished strong to take second place. The number 6 seed, Bubba upset #3 J.P. O'Connor of Harvard and beat #7 Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State to make to the finals.

Phil beat #4 Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan in the finals by a 7-2 score. Davis was beaten by Michalak in the nationals when Phil was a freshman and again in the Reno Tournament of Champions in 2006 but this was Phil's time. Phil pushed the offense and used his athleticism to counter any serious scoring chances Michalak posed. Davis dominated the match and walks away with the national championship that has eluded him after he set the bar so high for himself as a freshman. Phil leaves Penn State as only the fourth four time All-American wrestler in the 100 years of PSU Wrestling, that's no small task. He amassed an amazing 116-20 career record a won a national title despite never winning a state title in high school. Phil also brought an attitude and excitement with him to every match that easily made him a fan favorite.

Another senior that left with a bang was Mark McKnight at 125. Mark easily wrestled his best in a Penn State singlet finishing in 4th place after coming in unseeded. After losing to #5 Charlie Falck of Iowa in the second round Mark rattled off five straight wins including a 7-5 decision over the same Charlie Falck to get to the third place bout. While Mark came up short against #3 Paul Donahoe of Nebraska to take forth it was a magnificent end to a roller coaster career for McKnight.

Dan Vallimont gives Penn State their second sophomore All-American finishing 3rd at 157. Dan's only loss came to #2 Mike Poeta of Illinois by a hard fought 5-6 decision. The number 3 seed, Dan upset #1 Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro to get to the consolation finals where he beat #4 Brandon Becker of Indiana.

True freshman Garrett Scott came up short on his bid to become an All-American making it to the round of 12 but losing to Matt Kyler of Army. Scott's future and that of Penn State's is definitely bright.

All in all it was a great weekend for Penn State and something fans can be proud of. Penn State will have two returning All-American wrestlers in the lineup for two more seasons while Garrett Scott and Dave Rella are very close. Penn State celebrated 100 years of wrestling this season and they finished it in style.


Elihu said...

Thanks for the wreport.

I wonder what we could have done had Aaron Anspach been granted his petition for another year of elgibility. I'm pretty sure that last year he had beaten both of this year's finalists at Heavyweight.

Galen said...

I said that to a friend when I was watching the finals, I think Anspach beat Fox three times last season. Aaron would have been the favorite no doubt.

Elihu said...

I wonder who decided to reject his petition - representatives from Northwestern & Ohio State? :)

Elihu said...

One more thing - did you see that Bubba might redshirt?

Elihu said...

fixed link

Galen said...

Good article, that would fit perfectly into this Penn State team if Jenkins redshirts. That would let Strayer (or Scott) move up a weight and wrestle next year while Bubba redshirts and Penn State wouldn't lose a beat.