Penn State rides Big Ten title momentum into NCAAs
Penn State will take momentum along with its status as defending champion into the NCAA Wrestling Championships later this month.
The Nittany Lions, powered by a lineup that is loaded on the back end, won four individual titles and a third consecutive Big Ten team championship this weekend in Champaign, Ill.
Ed Ruth led a parade of winners as he captured a third straight Big Ten title with a 5-3 win over Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus on Sunday in the 184-pound bout.
Ruth improved to 28-0 this season, and the senior and Cael Sanderson were named the Big Ten's wrestler and coach of the year, respectively, after Penn State scored 151 points to roar past Minnesota (139) and Iowa (133.5).
Joining Ruth, a defending national champion, atop the award stand were David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174) and Quentin Williams (197). Nico Megaludis took third at 125 pounds; the Franklin Regional graduate lost in the semifinals to Illinois' Jesse Delgado before rebounding with a pair of victories.
Delgado beat Iowa's Matt McDonough, the defending national champion at 125 pounds, in the championship match on the way to tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler honors.
The Nittany Lions will try to claim a third consecutive national championship March 21-23, and they will be represented in all 10 weight classes in Des Moines, Iowa.
Taylor and Ruth became Penn State's third and fourth three-time Big Ten champions.
Wright, like Ruth, takes a perfect record (27-0) to the NCAA Championships. A loss to Pitt's Matt Wilps in a dual meet earlier this season did not count against his record.
Taylor, like, Ruth, will try to win a second consecutive national championship later this month.