USA Wrestling

Mar 04 No. 1 Penn State repeats as Big Ten champion, Michigan's Russell captures fourth title

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | March 04, 2012, 1:35 p.m. (ET)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Penn State found a way to bounce back from a rough semifinal round at the Big Ten Championships.

Fight back with a total team effort.

The top-ranked Nittany Lions did just that on Sunday.

All 10 Penn State wrestlers won their final match of the day to boost the Nittany Lions to their second straight Big Ten tournament title before 4,099 fans on Sunday afternoon at Purdue's Mackey Arena.

Senior Frank Molinaro (149 pounds), and sophomores David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (174) won titles as Penn State finished with 149 points. The Nittany Lions earned nine automatic qualifying spots for the NCAA tournament.

Molinaro, Taylor and Ruth won their second league titles. Taylor was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for the second straight season. Penn State combined to win 13 of its 15 matches on Sunday.

Molinaro, Taylor and Ruth outscored their finals opponents by a combined 39-4 margin.

"It was a team effort" said Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, who was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second straight season. "We had a very rough round last night and these guys responded well. They did a real nice job. We wrestled well and all of our guys won their last match. That means a lot."

Second-ranked Minnesota, led by champions Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Tony Nelson (285), finished second with 134 points. The Gophers qualified nine wrestlers for the NCAAs.

Third-ranked Iowa, led by champions Matt McDonough (125) and Derek St. John (157), finished third with 126 points. The Hawkeyes qualified eight wrestlers for nationals.

Illinois finished fourth with 105.5 points and qualified eight wrestlers for NCAAs. Ohio State was fifth with 91 points and seven automatic national qualifiers.

Minnesota locked up second place when Nelson downed Iowa freshman Bobby Telford 2-0 in the finals. Nelson rode Telford out in the final period.

"It was a one-point match, and if he escapes that changes everything in the third period," Nelson said. "I was able to keep forward pressure on him and break him down flat."

Michigan senior Kellen Russell became just the 11th wrestler in league history, and first in Wolverine history, to become a four-time Big Ten champion. The returning NCAA champion downed 2010 NCAA runner-up Montell Marion of Iowa 7-2 in the 141 finals.

Russell and Molinaro shared the Outstanding Wrestler honor.

"I always expected to do really well and I'm confident I am going to win" Russell said. "But to win four Big Ten titles is a great honor and to be the first from Michigan to do it is awesome."

You also could have made a strong case for OW for the sixth-seeded St. John, who beat No. 1 seed Jason Welch of Northwestern 4-3 in the finals. St. John, wrestling with an injured knee, won his quarterfinal and semifinal bouts in overtime. St. John was second in the 2011 Big Tens and fourth at NCAAs.

McDonough, a junior, won his second Big Ten title in his third trip to the finals in this event. He won an NCAA title in 2010. The top-ranked McDonough downed second-ranked Zach Sanders of Minnesota 6-1 in the finals. McDonough is 7-0 against Sanders in his career.

"It's the next thing that you are working for," McDonough said. "It's still just a steppingstone for nationals, but it's important as well. It was good to get some tough matches in and a barometer to see where I'm at."

Big Ten wrestlers earned 74 automatic qualifying spots for the NCAA Championships, set for March 15-17 in St. Louis. An additional 40 at-large spots will be awarded from all conferences on Wednesday for the NCAA tournament.

Ohio State's Logan Stieber was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after downing Iowa sophomore Tony Ramos 5-2 in the 133 finals.

Illinois' Mario Gonzalez, the No. 5 seed, came out strong en route to a 10-4 win over No. 2 Matt Powless of Indiana in the 197 finals.

TEAM SCORING
Penn State 149, Minnesota 134, Iowa 126, Illinois 105.5, Ohio State 91, Northwestern 75, Michigan 66, Nebraska 65, Purdue 51.5, Indiana 41, Michigan State 41, Wisconsin 9.

FINALS RESULTS

125 pounds
Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. Zach Sanders (Minnesota), 6-1

133 Pounds
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Tony Ramos (Iowa), 5-2

141 Pounds
Kellen Russell (Michigan) dec. Montell Marion (Iowa), 7-2

149 Pounds
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) won by tech. fall over Dylan Ness (Minnesota), 15-0

157 Pounds
Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Jason Welch (Northwestern), 4-3

165 Pounds
David Taylor (Penn State) dec. Mike Evans (Iowa), 11-2

174 Pounds
Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. Logan Storley (Minnesota), 13-2

184 Pounds
Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) dec. Josh Ihnen (Nebraska), 3-1 OT

197 Pounds
Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) dec. Matt Powless (Indiana), 10-4

285 Pounds
Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. Bobby Telford (Iowa), 2-0

THIRD-PLACE RESULTS

125 Pounds
Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. Levi Mele (Northwestern), 6-1

133 Pounds
B.J. Futrell (Illinois) dec. Zac Stevens (Michigan), 6-5

141 Pounds
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), 7-6

149 Pounds
Eric Grajales (Michigan) dec. Taylor Walsh (Indiana), 5-1

157 Pounds
Dylan Alton (Penn State) dec. Anthony Jones (Michigan State), 2-1 TB

165 Pounds
Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) dec. Conrad Polz (Illinois), 4-1

174 Pounds
Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) dec. Lee Munster (Northwestern), 7-2

184 Pounds
Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Tony Dallago (Illinois), 8-7

197 Pounds
Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) dec. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), 4-0

285 Pounds
Cameron Wade (Penn State) dec. Mike McMullan (Northwestern), 4-3

FIFTH-PLACE RESULTS

125 Pounds
Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. Camden Eppert (Purdue), 4-1

133 Pounds
Cashe Quiroga (Purdue) dec. Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), 4-1

141 Pounds
Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska) dec. Daryl Thomas (Illinois), 15-10

149 Pounds
Cam Tessari (Ohio State) dec. Ivan Lopouchanski (Purdue), 8-6

157 Pounds
James Green (Nebraska) dec. Josh Demas (Ohio State), 8-3

165 Pounds
Cody Yohn (Minnesota) dec. Pierce Harger (Northwestern), 6-2

174 Pounds
Jordan Blanton (Illinois) dec. Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 8-7

184 Pounds
Grant Gambrall (Iowa) dec. Ian Hinton (Michigan State), 8-2

197 Pounds
Morgan McIntosh (Penn State) won by forfeit over A.J. Kissel (Purdue)

285 Pounds
Adam Chalfant (Indiana) dec. Steve Andrus (Michigan State), 14-5

SEVENTH-PLACE RESULTS

125 Pounds
Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) dec. Austin Hietpas (Wisconsin), 17-5

133 Pounds
Frank Martellotti (Penn State) dec. Ridge Kiley (Nebraska), 4-3

141 Pounds
Bryan Pearsall (Penn State) dec. Brandon Nelsen (Purdue), 8-2

149 Pounds
Kaleb Friedley (Northwestern) dec. Eric Terrazas (Illinois), 5-4

157 Pounds
Jackson Morse (Illinois) pinned Tommy Churchard (Purdue), 1:47

165 Pounds
Dan Yates (Michigan) won by forfeit over David Cheza (Michigan State)

174 Pounds
Justin Zeerip (Michigan) dec. Curran Jacobs (Michigan State), 9-2

184 Pounds
Braden Atwood (Purdue) won by forfeit over C.J. Magrum (Ohio State)

197 Pounds
James Nakashima (Nebraska) dec. Max Huntley (Michigan), 5-5 TB

285 Pounds
Tucker Lane (Nebraska) dec. Cole Tobin (Wisconsin), 3-0

NINTH-PLACE RESULTS

149 Pounds
Dan Osterman (Michigan State) dec. Mike Kelly (Iowa), 3-1

174 Pounds
Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) dec. Frank Cousins (Wisconsin), 6-2

285 Pounds
Ben Apland (Michigan) def. Peter Capone (Ohio State) by default

BIG TEN AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

125 (6): Matt McDonough (Iowa), Zach Sanders (Minnesota), Jesse Delgado (Illinois), Levi Mele (Northwestern), Nico Megaludis (Penn State), Camden Eppert (Purdue)

133 (7): Logan Stieber (Ohio State), Tony Ramos (Iowa), B.J. Futrell (Illinois), Zac Stevens (Michigan), Cashe Quiroga (Purdue), Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), Frank Martellotti (Penn State)

141 (5): Kellen Russell (Michigan), Montell Marion (Iowa), Hunter Stieber (Ohio State), Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska)

149 (9): Frank Molinaro (Penn State), Dylan Ness (Minnesota), Eric Grajales (Michigan), Taylor Walsh (Indiana), Cam Tessari (Ohio State), Ivan Lopouchanski (Purdue), Kaleb Friedley (Northwestern), Eric Terrazas (Illinois), Dan Osterman (Michigan State)

157 (6): Derek St. John (Iowa), Jason Welch (Northwestern), Dylan Alton (Penn State), Anthony Jones (Michigan State), James Green (Nebraska), Josh Demas (Ohio State)

165 (8): David Taylor (Penn State), Mike Evans (Iowa), Robert Kokesh (Nebraska), Conrad Polz (Illinois), Cody Yohn (Minnesota), Pierce Harger (Northwestern), Dan Yates (Michigan), David Cheza (Michigan State)

174 (9): Ed Ruth (Penn State), Logan Storley (Minnesota), Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), Lee Munster (Northwestern), Jordan Blanton (Illinois), Nick Heflin (Ohio State), Justin Zeerip (Michigan), Curran Jacobs (Michigan State), Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana)

184 (7): Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), Josh Ihnen (Nebraska), Quentin Wright (Penn State), Tony Dallago (Illinois), Grant Gambrall (Iowa), Ian Hinton (Michigan State), Braden Atwood (Purdue)

197 (7): Mario Gonzalez (Illinois), Matt Powless (Indiana), Sonny Yohn (Minnesota), Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), Morgan McIntosh (Penn State), A.J. Kissel (Purdue), James Nakashima (Nebraska)

285 (10): Tony Nelson (Minnesota), Bobby Telford (Iowa), Cameron Wade (Penn State), Mike McMullan (Northwestern), Adam Chalfant (Indiana), Steve Andrus (Michigan State), Tucker Lane (Nebraska), Cole Tobin (Wisconsin), Ben Apland (Michigan), Peter Capone (Ohio State)
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