No. 15 Pitt wrestlers take shot at No. 3 Penn State
By Mike Palm
Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
It didn't take long for the Penn State wrestling team to rebound from its first loss of the season.
Less than 48 hours, actually.
And with authority.
Just two days after then-No. 1 Penn State fell, 22-16, at No. 2 Iowa, the Nittany Lions blanked No. 6 Illinois, 37-0, Sunday in Champaign, Ill.
“We rebounded,” said Penn State 125-pounder Nico Megaludis, a Franklin Regional graduate. “I'm not saying (losing's) a good thing, but we build off it, and it seems like we get better.”
Next up for No. 3 Penn State (9-1) is No. 15 Pitt (8-4) at 7 p.m. Friday at Fitzgerald Field House in a match that's been sold out for weeks.
The Panthers are on a two-match winning streak after handling Lock Haven (33-6) and West Virginia (31-9).
“They're stacked. But it's still Pitt and Penn State,” Pitt coach Rande Stottlemyer said. “We'll come at them and see what we can hit. Our guys, we're going to swing the bat. We ain't going up there thinking we're losing, I can tell you that. Penn State is loaded, there's no two ways about it. But we've got some pretty good kids as well.”
Pitt brings five wrestlers ranked in the Intermat top 20: Shelton Mack (16th, 133); Tyler Wilps (17th, 165); Max Thomusseit (13th, 184); Matt Wilps (second, 197); and Zac Thomusseit (eighth, heavyweight).
Penn State, the two-time defending NCAA team champion, counters with eight ranked wrestlers: Megaludis (second, 125); Andrew Alton (seventh, 149); Dylan Alton (fifth, 157); David Taylor (second, 165); Matt Brown (fifth, 174); Ed Ruth (first, 184); Quentin Wright (third, 197); and Jon Gingrich (17th, heavyweight).
A rematch between Matt Wilps and Wright should be one of Friday's highlights. In November at the NWCA All-Star Classic exhibition in Washington, Wilps (16-1) pinned Wright (20-0), whom Megaludis called “probably the most dangerous kid in college wrestling.”
“I'll just go in with the same mentality as the all-star meet,” Matt Wilps said. “He's a risk-taker. When he goes out there, he'll throw big moves. He's probably fazed, but he's a top-level guy so he knows how to handle it. I'm sure it will be a good match.”
Megaludis is no stranger to tough matches on the highest stage. As a freshman, he advanced to the NCAA championships, where he lost in the final, 4-1, to Iowa's Matt McDonough. He fell to McDonough again, 2-1 (TB), last weekend before 15,000 fans at Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
To say the crowd at Iowa was boisterous would be an understatement. Megaludis expects a similar atmosphere Friday, although there should be some Penn State fans because his parents bought at least 50 tickets.
“I actually like it. It's basically saying I'm a threat to them,” he said. “They're trying to say stuff to you, and I take it as a compliment. I'm threatening them, that's pretty much what I can tell by it.”
Along with a trip to No. 2 Oklahoma State, the match with Penn State has long been considered one of Pitt's highlights this season.
“As soon as it was on our schedule, we were excited for it,” Tyler Wilps said. “We just know it's going to be a great match. They're a good team; we have good guys. The Fitzgerald Field House is going to be packed, so it's going to be exciting.”
Mike Palm is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MikePalm_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKillop is model of excellence, on and off the mat
- District college football preview: Slippery Rock’s playoff game leads this week’s action
- District college notes: Hempfield grad earns NAIA Award
- Plum grad among those assessing RMU athletics decision
- Jeannette grads meet in Big Ten title game
- Gateway grads to meet on college court
- Fox Chapel’s Papich pushing Gannon women’s team to top
- PS New Ken falls to Slippery Rock
- Penn State New Kensington men fall in opener of road trip
- PSNK beat by strong-shooting Penn State York
- Cal U volleyball to play for regional title