Courtesy of Penn State Athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 5 in the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index, downed No. 9 Virginia Tech in front of a sold out Rec Hall crowd of over 6,300 Friday night. Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad won six of ten bouts and won 20-15, led by junior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) and senior Jimmy Lawson (Toms River, N.J.)
The dual began with one of its most anticipated match-ups, with No. 10 Conaway taking on No. 5 Joey Dance of Virginia Tech. Conaway came back from an early 2-1 deficit with a slick four-point move at the end of the second period and posted a 7-5 win over fifth-ranked Dance. At 133, No. 5 Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) notched a workmanlike 9-4 win over No. 19 Kevin Norstrem to give Penn State a 6-0 lead. Hokie Devin Carter, ranked No. 3 at 141, pinned Lion junior Michael Waters (Advance, N.C.) at the 1:56 mark of the first period to tie the dual at 6-6.
Sophomore Nittany Lion Zack Beitz (Mifflintown, Pa.), ranked No. 13 at 149, suffered a 7-5 upset loss to Virginia Tech’s Sal Mastriani, giving the Hokies a 9-6 lead. Red-shirt freshman Cody Law (Windber, Pa.) was strong at 157, rolling to a convincing 10-4 win over Tech’s David Wesley. The sent the teams into the break tied 9-9
At 165, Lion Garett Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.) dominated Virginia Tech senior Chris Moon, rolling to a 17-2 technical fall to put Penn State up 14-9. Hammond picked up the tech fall at the 7:00 mark thanks to a gaudy 4:19 riding time total. Two-time All-American Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah), ranked No. 2 at 174, battled No. 9 Zach Epperly in another top-ten showdown. The Lion senior opened up an early lead but Epperly was able to tie the bout late with a takedown and ride out. Brown looked to score early in the extra period but Epperly countered the Lion’s move and won the bout with a takedown. The 8-6 (sv) decision cut Penn State’s lead to 14-12.
Virginia Tech then took a 15-14 lead as junior Austin Gabel posted a 5-3 win over red-shirt freshman Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked No. 18, at 184. At 197, No. 4 Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) retook the lead for Penn State, downing Jared Haught. The Lion All-American nearly picked up a last second pin, turning a third period ride out into three near fall points as the bout ended While time ran out on McIntosh’s efforts at a pin, the 5-0 victory put Penn State back up on top, 17-15.
In the dual’s final bout, Penn State senior Jimmy Lawson (Toms River, N.J.) faced off against No. 6 Ty Walz of Virginia Tech with the dual meet in the balance. Lawson took a 2-1 lead in the second period with a strong takedown. An escape to start the third period gave the Lion a 3-1 lead only to see Walz take Lawson down with just seconds left to tie the bout. Lawson appeared to escape as time expired and was awarded the takedown. But the official reviewed the call and reversed it, sending the bout into sudden victory. Undaunted, Lawson turned a single leg into a dual clinching takedown in extra time. The 5-3 (sv) win over fifth-ranked Walz clinched Penn State’s 20-15 victory.
The dual was tight from start to finish, with Penn State winning six of ten bouts and claiming a slim 16-12 takedown edge. The Nittany Lions improved to 5-0 with the win while Virginia Tech suffered its first loss, falling to 4-1.
Penn State returns to action on New Year’s Day. The Nittany Lions will carry four straight Southern Scuffle titles into the 2015 Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2 at UT-Chattanooga. Penn State’s next home dual is set for Friday, Jan. 9, when Indiana visits Rec Hall for a 7 p.m. match-up. A limited number of SRO tickets are available for select Penn State Rec Hall dual meets, although the SROs for the Lehigh dual are sold out. For ticket inquiries, call 1-800-NITTANY. Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2014-15 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
#5 Penn State 20, #9 Virginia Tech 15
December 19, 2014 – Rec Hall – University Park, Pa.
125: #10 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. #5 Joey Dance VT, 7-5 / 3-0
133: #5 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. #19 Kevin Norstrem VT, 9-4 / 6-0
141: #3 Devin Carter VT pinned Michael Waters PSU, WBF (1:56) / 6-6
149: Sal Mastriani VT dec. #13 Zack Beitz PSU, 7-5 / 6-9
157: Cody Law PSU dec. David Wesley VT, 10-4 / 9-9
165: Garett Hammond PSU tech fall Chris Moon VT, 17-2 (TF; 7:00) / 14-9
174: #9 Zach Epperly VT dec. #2 Matt Brown PSU, 8-6 (SV) / 14-12
184: Austin Gabel VT dec. #18 Matt McCutcheon PSU, 5-3 / 14-15
197: #4 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. Jared Haught VT, 5-0 / 17-15
285: Jimmy Lawson PSU dec. #5 Ty Walz VT, 5-3 (SV) / 20-15
Records: Penn State 5-0, 1-0 B1G; Virginia Tech 4-1
Up Next for Penn State: at 2015 Southern Scuffle, Jan. 1-2, 2015; Chattanooga, Tenn.