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Penn State wrestlers dominate Pitt

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penn State's Andrew Alton takes down Pitt's Ronnie Garbinsky in their 149-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fizgerald Field House.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penn State's Andrew Alton takes down Pitt's Ronnie Garbinsky in their 149-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fizgerald Field House.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Pitt's Matt Wilps(top) and Penn State's Quentin Wright battle during their 197-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fitzgerald Field House.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pitt's Matt Wilps(top) and Penn State's Quentin Wright battle during their 197-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fitzgerald Field House.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - David Taylor (right) is one of Penn State’s three No. 1 seeds at this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament. Taylor is the top seed at 165 pounds for the event, which begins Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>David Taylor (right) is one of Penn State’s three No. 1 seeds at this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament. Taylor is the top seed at 165 pounds for the event, which begins Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penn State's Matt Brown (left) and Pitt's T.J. Tasser battle in their 174-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fitzgerald Field House.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penn State's Matt Brown (left) and Pitt's T.J. Tasser battle in their 174-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fitzgerald Field House.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penn State's Andrew Alton takes down Pitt's Ronnie Garbinsky in their 149-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fizgerald Field House.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penn State's Andrew Alton takes down Pitt's Ronnie Garbinsky in their 149-pound bout on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Fizgerald Field House.

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No. 3 Penn State 31, No. 15 Pitt 7

125: Nico Megaludis (Penn State) won by forfeit

133: Jordan Conaway (Penn State) dec. Shelton Mack, 5-3 (OT)

141 Travis Shaffer (Pitt) maj. dec. Derek Reber, 14-2

149: Andrew Alton (Penn State) dec. Ronnie Garbinsky, 14-7

157: Dylan Alton (Penn State) dec. Donnie Tasser, 7-3

165: David Taylor (Penn State) maj. dec. Tyler Wilps, 20-6

174: Matt Brown (Penn State) dec. P.J. Tasser, 10-4

184: Ed Ruth (Penn State) maj. dec. Max Thomusseit, 17-3

197: Quentin Wright (Penn State) pinned Matt Wilps, 2:43

285: Zac Thomusseitt (Pitt) dec. Jimmy Lawson, 5-4. *PSU was deducted one team point

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Scott Brown
Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
 

Penn State's wrestlers made a quiet entrance Friday night, wandering out to the mat right before the singing of the national anthem.

There was nothing subtle about what the Nittany Lions did after the lights came back on at soldout Fitzgerald Field House. No. 3 Penn State was methodical and overpowering as it rolled to a 31-7 win over No. 15 Pitt in front of an announced crowd of 3,247.

Quentin Wright punctuated Penn State's nonconference victory by recording the only fall of the night, and the Nittany Lions (10-1) have outscored two opponents — both ranked — by a combined score of 69-7 since a six-point loss at Iowa.

“I think we saw a lot of positives,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said after his team won all but two bouts. “The guys are improving as the season goes on.”

Penn State, which visits No. 6 Ohio State on Sunday, didn't just beat Pitt. The winner of two straight national championships also provided a measuring stick for the Panthers (8-5).

“We did some good things,” said Panthers coach Rande Stottlemyer, whose team hosts Lehigh on Friday. “Did we make progress? Yeah. Do we have a long way to go? Yeah.”

Most teams probably feel that way after matching up against Penn State, particularly the back end of its lineup.

David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (184) were dominant in securing major decisions. And Wright's pin ended the most anticipated bout of the evening in the first period.

It came when he caught Pitt's Matt Wilps in a figure-four headlock following a scramble and recorded the unlikely pin. Wilps entered the match No. 2 in the country, while Wright was No. 3.

“He took me down right away,” said Wright, who gave up two points on an early takedown. “I'm not too happy about that.”

The only other wrestler to secure six points for the Nittany Lions wasn't entirely happy either following the match.

Franklin Regional's Nico Megaludis didn't get a chance to wrestle in front of about 150 family members, friends and even youth grapplers from the Murrysville area after Pitt forfeited the 125-pound match because of injuries.

One of the tightest matches came after the forfeit, as Penn State freshman Jordan Conaway scored five unanswered points to beat Pitt junior Shelton Mack, 5-3 in overtime, at 133 pounds.

Conaway scored three points in the third period to force overtime. He spun Mack around in the extra period and notched a takedown for the win.

Travis Shaffer, a Derry graduate, got Pitt on the scoreboard with a major decision at 141 pounds, but the Nittany Lions won six consecutive matches after that.

They also served notice that they are on track as they chase a third national title in as many years, something Ruth referred to as “climbing the staircase.”

“I hate to use the word peak,” Ruth said after improving to 22-0. “I always feel like I can get better.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter@ScottBrown_Trib.

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