Nittany Lions win NCAA wrestling title

Updated: March 20, 2011, 1:53 AM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Penn State, led by 184-pound champion Quentin Wright, won its first NCAA wrestling title in 58 years Saturday night by outpointing Cornell.

The Nittany Lions finished with 107½ points to Cornell's 93½.

"In my mind, I've been wanting to be a part of a national championship program since I started at Iowa State as a freshman in 1998," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. "Having not been able to do that for so many years until here we are now and it's finally happened."

Wright began the tournament as the ninth seed and won his first national title with a 5-2 decision over Lehigh's Rob Hamlin.

"It's a great feeling," Wright said. "It hasn't hit me yet. I just got out of the match. But it's going to get better for a long time."

Nebraska senior Jordan Burroughs, (36-0), one of five wrestlers to finish the tournament undefeated on the year and the first two-time national champ in program history, dominated the 165 weight class. He took the championship match with an 11-3 victory against Oklahoma's Tyler Caldwell.

In the only pin of the night, Arizona State's Bubba Jenkins, who spent four years at Penn State before he transferred, dispatched Nittany Lions' freshman David Taylor in 4:14 at 157 pounds.

Jenkins said he left Penn State because of Sanderson.

"He didn't think I was good enough or the right kid to win it at that weight class or any weight class. I wanted to go 149. But he had other ideas. And he got rid of me. And one man's trash is a whole country's treasure," Jenkins said.

Cornell's Kyle Dake allowed his first point of the tournament in the final against Penn State's Frank Molinaro, but it hardly mattered as the Big Red sophomore dominated and won his second national title with an 8-1 decision.

At 197 pounds, fourth-seeded Dustin Kilgore (38-2) became the first national champion in program history when he pinned Oklahoma State's Clayton Foster in 4:56 despite the fact he trailed 5-1 at the time.

In the opening match of the night, Arizona State's Anthony Robles took a 7-1 decision from Iowa sophomore Matt McDonough. Robles, who was born without a right leg, got the only takedown in the first period of the match and worked a pair of tilts to secure five back points.

"I had a lot of butterflies going out there," said Robles, who admitted he's most likely done as a competitive wrestler but wants to remain involved in one facet or another. "This year I think that was the biggest difference in my wrestling, was my mental game. Going into every match I was real relaxed, real calm. But before that, before this match, it was nothing but butterflies. I felt like I was going to throw up, I was so scared I almost started crying.

"But it's just the atmosphere. It's the true athletes that are able to just overcome that."

Sophomore Jordan Oliver (29-0) out of Oklahoma State beat Boise State senior Jordan Hochstrasser for the second time this year as he captured the 133-pound title with an 8-4 decision.

Kellen Russell kept the undefeated streak alive through the first three weights as the Michigan junior took a 3-2 decision over Cal-Poly junior Borislav Novachkov at 141 pounds.

Iowa State's Jonathan Reader finished a perfect season with a 10-3 decision over Stanford junior Nick Amuchaslegui. Reader, the 68th national champion in program history, went 38-0 and was a four-time All-American.

"Last night I was disappointed with the way I performed [in the semifinals]," Reader said. "I was a little anxious and excited to wrestle. But I came out tonight and made Iowa State proud."

In the final bout of the night, Lehigh's Zach Rey (34-1) avenged his only loss of the season with a 2-1 decision in which riding time was the difference, over American's Ryan Flores.

The three-day event drew a record attendance of 104,260.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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