In a rematch of the last season's 125-pound NCAA championship bou No. 2 Nico Megaludis defeated No. 4 Jesse Delgado, 5-4, Friday night. But Megaludis expressed no triumph or joy during his post game interview.
"I'll enjoy it [the win] more in March," he said with a solemn demeanor. Megaludis made it clear that a victory was only the start of his national championship quest. "He's got a thing I want and I want to take it."
Megaludis' victory was the highlight of top-ranked Penn State's 31-3 victory over No. 11 Illinois (6-5, 0-4) in its first Friday night dual meet of the season at Rec Hall.
This was the fifth meeting between the wrestlers with Megaludis now leading the series 3-2. Megaludis won the first two meetings but Delgado got the best of Megaludis during the 2013 Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
"He took what I wanted, there isn't a day that passes that I don't think about that," Megaludis said. "I have been waiting 10 months for that, but bigger things are yet to come."
The 125-pound bout was scoreless in the first period, but then Megaludis took a 4-2 lead after two periods with a reversal and takedown. He was able to pull out a 5-4 win with an escape with 55 seconds remaining in the third period.
"Especially it's a big match, a Friday night, our first Friday night here for us, you can feel different energy which was fun, and Nico got things rolling there," Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said.
Penn State (11-0, 5-0) won nine out of the 10 matches, with the only loss coming from No. 15 Jimmy Gulibon. Gulibon fell to No. 11 Zane Richards, 3-1.
Among other highlights: Jon Gingrich wrestling at the heavyweight class and won, 6-1, in front of the 6,480 fan home crowd. It was his first time in a meet since Nov. 17, 2013. No. 4 Dylan Alton also had a good dual with Zac Brunson at 157, winning by a 5-2 decision. No. 1 David Taylor had an 11-3 major decision at 165 win over No. 12 Jackson Morse.
1 Penn State 31, #11 Illinois 3
January 24, 2014 - Rec Hall - University Park, Pa.?
125: #2 Nico Megaludis PSU dec. #4 Jesse Delgado ILL, 5-4 3-0
133: #11 Zane Richards ILL dec. (SV) #15 Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 3-1 (sv) 3-3
141: #2 Zain Retherford PSU maj. dec. John Fahy ILL, 15-3 7-3
149: Zack Beitz PSU dec. #19 Caleb Ervin ILL, 4-2 10-3
157: #4 Dylan Alton PSU dec. #12 Zac Brunson ILL, 5-2 13-3
165: #1 David Taylor PSU maj. dec. #12 Jackson Morse ILL, 11-3 17-3
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU maj. dec. Tony Dallago ILL, 12-2 21-3
184: #2 Ed Ruth PSU maj. dec. Nikko Reyes ILL, 14-3 25-3
197: #7 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. Jeff Koepke ILL, 10-3 28-3
285: Jon Gingrich PSU dec. Chris Lopez ILL, 6-1 31-3
Attendance: 6,480 (17th-straight home sell out)
Records: Penn State 11-0, 5-0 B1G; Illinois 6-5, 0-4 B1G
Up Next for Penn State: at Michigan State, Friday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.