Closing time for Penn State 125-pound junior wrestler Megaludis
College Football Videos
OKLAHOMA CITY — Nico Megaludis knows how he wants to wrestle.
“I don't want to hold anything back,” Penn State's 125-pounder said. “I'd rather win a match 10-9 than 2-1 and hold stuff back.”
Megaludis, a Franklin Regional graduate, doesn't struggle wrestling an offensive style. What has bugged Megaludis has been finishing the job, especially on the season's biggest stage.
The junior has lost in the past two NCAA Division I finals at 125 pounds, the most recent a 7-4 decision in 2013 to his top rival, Jesse Delgado of Illinois.
“I want to get back to where I was,” Megaludis said, “but this time finish it and win.”
Megaludis is seeded third here at 125 pounds. A rematch with Delgado, to whom he lost in the Big Ten Tournament, won't be possible until Saturday night's finals.
That's why Megaludis is more focused on his first-round opponent: Darian Cruz of Lehigh.
“I'm not really thinking of him right now,” Megaludis said of Delgado, who's 25-2 this season. “He's not on my side. He has to make it. I have to make it. I have four other matches beforehand.”
One of those could come against Cornell's Nahshon Garrett, who's 30-1 and seeded second. Garrett defeated Megaludis twice this season — 6-5 on Nov. 10, 2013 and 6-4 on Jan. 2 of this year.
Neither, as the scores indicate, was a particularly conservative match.
Megaludis' matches with Delgado are typically the same way, although some of that has to do with the “funk” style that Delgado prefers, one heavy on improvisation and putting opponents into unconventional positions.
“Delgado is obviously very good at what he does,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “Very tricky in those positions. It's kind of a weird matchup style-wise. That's better for Nico in the long run here because he has to figure that out, and he has to make some adjustments.
“Sometimes it's trial and error, and he's a guy who gives you 100 percent. When you have a guy who's willing to do that, eventually he figures it out.”
Sanderson has been encouraged by Megaludis' work of late, which includes a 5-4 win over Delgado on Jan. 24 and a 4-3 defeat of Wisconsin's Ryan Taylor (ranked No. 6 by InterMat) in the Big Ten semifinals.
Those have resulted in a 26-3 record and a ranking of No. 3 by InterMat heading into the national tournament.
The problem with finishing came up in again in the Big Ten finals, however, as Megaludis attempted eight takedowns, completed only one and suffered a 3-2 loss to Delgado, who had 15 seconds of riding time advantage.
“He's got to score points,” Sanderson said of Megaludis. “He's got to convert those shots into points. That's what he's been working on.”
Megaludis, who finished his high school career with three PIAA Class AAA titles and record of 170-1, said he's not changing anything this time around.
He'll sleep in his bed the same way. Tie his shoes the same. Eat the same food. Preparation isn't the problem. He knows he needs to execute when it matters the most.
“Just stick with what's working, relaxing during each session and believing in myself,” Megaludis said. “NCAAs are all mental. Everyone out there wants to win. Everyone's good. There are 33 guys there for a reason. Everyone you wrestle you have to be ready for.”
Especially, as Megaludis could attest, that fifth opponent.
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.
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of a union retiree’s pension
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Probiotic bacteria help conquer ‘superbugs’
- Man rescued from sinkhole in McKeesport
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Downie’s goal, fight spark Penguins to win over Coyotes
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing