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March 22, 2013DES MOINES, Iowa -- Still trembling from adrenaline after his quarterfinal victory, David Taylor was asked if he's looking ahead to his probable matchup with Cornell's Kyle Dake. After all, he had just pinned Illinois' Conrad Polz in a lightning-quick 24 seconds. So it might appear that he's trying to get to the 165-pound blockbuster Saturday evening as soon as possible.
"There's not a single part of me that's not thinking about the big one," Taylor, now a three-time All-American, admitted, "but every part of me has to fight and make sure that I pay attention to these matches. As you can see with this tournament, anything can happen at any given time, so I'm gonna make sure I'm ready to go."
So far being ready hasn't been a problem. Through three sessions of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, Taylor has yet to wrestle a full match, or go past the first period, pinning all three of his opponents in a combined time of 5:56. A full match lasts 7 minutes.
"We've been trying to score bonus points all year," the junior from St. Paris, Ohio, said. "I just need to put this [match] behind me for a fresh start. I have the semifinals [against Peter Yates of Virginia Tech] to look forward to, and do it all over again and get as many bonus points for this team."
Taylor will be joined in the semifinals by four other teammates - 125-pound sophomore Nico Megaludis, 174-pound sophomore Matt Brown, 184-pound junior Ed Ruth and 197-pound senior Quentin Wright. The five have all secured All-America laurels, while 133-pound freshman Jordan Conaway and 157-pound sophomore Dylan Alton each are a single win away from the All-America rounds in the consolation brackets.
After the third session, Penn State has a 12-point lead over Oklahoma State (77.5 - 65.5) in the team race. As was the case during Thursday night's session, bonus points continue to propel the Nittany Lions. Even in the wrestlebacks, Conaway earned a late, third-period fall to contribute to the team race. In addition to Taylor and Conaway, Wright also earned a fall in 2:48, his first of the tournament. Ruth and Brown added major decisions during their quarterfinal victories.
Penn State might have to continue its bonus-point spree in order to maintain its lead. Seven Nittany Lions are alive in the tournament - 141-pound senior Bryan Pearsall and 149-pound sophomore Andrew Alton were eliminated Friday morning - while Oklahoma State still also has seven wrestlers still wrestling. Meanwhile, third-place Minnesota has two in the semis and seven in the consolations. And, of course, the opponents only get stronger as the tournament goes on.
"It's pretty tough," Brown said, who garnered his first All-America honor with a 13-5 major decision over Tanner Weatherman of Iowa State. "Every match, you have to go out there and compete. No freebies, obviously. This is the national tournament, so its tough."
Ruth's 11-1 major decision over Pitt's Max Thomusseit, which came with a dominating 5 minutes of riding time, gave the native of Harrisburg, Pa., his 100th career win and third All-America honor. He faces the defending 184-pound national champion Steve Bosak of Cornell in tonight's semifinals.
Teammate Wright earned his fourth All-America honor, becoming the sixth four-timer in program history, and he'll face Pitt's Tyler Wilps, who pinned Wright during a pre-season exhibition match. During the dual meet, however, Wright returned the favor, pinning Wilps in 2:43.
Beforehand, Megaludis earned his second All-America citation with a 12-4 major decision over Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State. He faces top-seeded Alan Waters of Missouri during the semifinals.
"He's pretty good [in the top position]," Megaludis said about Waters, "so I just gotta get ticked off and refuse to let him ride me. That's something I'll have to focus on."
125 - No. 4 Nico Megaludis
1st Rd: vs. Kevon Powell, Ohio - W, 17-2 TF (6:25)
2nd Rd: vs. Christian Cullinan, Central Michigan - W, 5-2 dec. Qtrs: vs. Dominic Parisi, Appalachian State - W, 12-4 maj. dec. Semis: vs. #1 Alan Waters, Missouri -- Tonight
133 - No. 12 Jordan Conaway
1st Rd: vs. Vincent Dellafave, Rutgers - L, 1-3 (SV)
Cn 1: vs. Dylan Hyder, Air Force - W, 6-4 (SV2) Cn 2: vs. Dane Harlowe, Boston - W, 6-4 dec. Cn 3: vs. Rosario Bruno, Michigan - WBF (4:17) Rd. 12: vs. #8 Cody Brewer, Oklahoma - Tonight
141 - Bryan Pearsall
1st Rd: vs. Joey Lazor, Northern Iowa - L, 4-12 maj. dec.
Cn 1: vs. Frank Goodwin, Maryland - W, 10-2 maj. dec. Cn 2: vs. Steven Keith, Harvard - L, 3-8 dec.
149 - No. 11 Andrew Alton
1st Rd: vs. Drake Houdashelt, Missouri - L, 1-4
Cn 1: Daniel Young, Army - WBF (2:05) Cn 2: vs. #12 Eric Grajales, Michigan - L, 1-8 dec.
157 - No. 8 Dylan Alton
Pigtail: vs. Jake O'Hara, Columbia - W, 10-2 maj. dec.
1st Rd: vs. Donnie Tasser, Pittsburgh - W, 8-4 dec.
2nd Rd: vs. Zac Cibula, Rider - W, 13-5 maj. dec. Qtrs: vs. #1 Jason Welch, Northwestern - L, 3-8 dec. Rd. 12: vs. #4 James Green, Nebraska - Tonight
165 - No. 2 David Taylor
1st Rd: vs. John Staudenmayer, North Carolina - WBF (2:51)
2nd Rd: vs. Zach Strickland, Appalachian State - WBF (2:41) Qtrs: vs. #7 Conrad Polz, Illinois - WBF (0:24) Semis: vs. #3 Peter Yates, Virginia Tech - Tonight
174 - No. 2 Matt Brown
1st Rd: vs. Todd Porter, Missouri - W, 10-1 maj. dec.
2nd Rd: vs. Nick Bonaccorsi, Pittsburgh - WBF (1:30) Qtrs: vs. Tanner Weatherman, Iowa State - W, 13-5 maj. dec. Semis: vs. #6 Logan Storley, Minnesota - Tonight
184 - No. 1 Ed Ruth
1st Rd: vs. Fred Garcia, Lock Haven - WBF (0:28)
2nd Rd: vs. Kevin Radford, Arizona State - WBF (3:41) Qtrs: vs. Max Thomusseit, Pittsburgh - W, 11-1 maj. dec. Semis: vs. #4 Steve Bosak, Cornell - Tonight
197 - No. 2 Quentin Wright
1st Rd: vs. Donald McNeil, Rider - W, 7-3 dec.
2nd Rd: vs. Branden Palik, Drexel - W, 3-2 dec. Qtrs: vs. #10 Scott Schiller, Minnesota - WBF (2:48) Semis: vs. #3 Matt Wilps, Pittsburgh - Tonight
285 - Jimmy Lawson
1st Rd: vs. Jeremy Johnson, Ohio - L, 3-4 dec. Cn. PT: vs. Adam Fager, Utah Valley - W, 5-4 dec. Cn. 1: vs. Ben Apland, Michigan - L, 3-7 dec.
1. Penn State - 77.5
2. Oklahoma State - 65.5
3. Minnesota - 47.5
4. Iowa - 39
5. Missouri - 38.5
Action resumes at 7 p.m. ET
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