Taking in the annual preseason Intrasquad Dual from the sidelines, Penn State All-American wrestlers Nico Megaludis, Dylan Alton, David Taylor and Quentin Wright were resting for Saturday’s NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington, D.C.
The tournament will provide an opportunity for the four wrestlers to gauge their skills, before the season begins.
“We want to set the tone for the season and wrestle hard. These are big matches for these guys. They’re wrestling guys they may potentially see in the NCAA tournament,” Coach Cael Sanderson said.
At 125 pounds, Megaludis will take on University of Illinois’ Jesse Delgado. Both wrestlers are coming off excellent freshman seasons, which saw Delgado earn seventh at Nationals and Megaludis place second.
Facing a familiar Big Ten foe, Megaludis is determined to set the pace early for the upcoming season.
“You don’t want to wrestle somebody too many times, but it will be good to get a feel for it, especially against someone good,” Megaludis said. “I want to make him not want to wrestle me again.”
For 157-pound Alton, the All-Star Classic presents an opportunity to defend his third place victory at Nationals last Spring, with a rematch against Northwestern senior Jason Welch.
Alton is confident in his ability to compete with Welch again.
“I think I’m pretty good right now. I’m just going to wrestle like I did at the NCAA [tournament],” Alton said.
Recipient of the Hodge Trophy given to the NCAA’s best wrestler, junior David Taylor will battle Cornell’s Kyle Dake. This is a marquee matchup in the collegiate wrestling world, as both wrestlers ended last season as undefeated National champions in their respective weight classes.
“I have an opportunity to wrestle one of the best guys in the country and that’s all you can ask for as an athlete,” Taylor said.
Entering his final season at Penn State, three time All-American Quentin Wright hopes to earn All-American honors for the fourth time in as many seasons. His quest will begin against senior Matt Wilps of University of Pittsburgh.
This will be Wright’s first season wrestling at 197-pounds.
While the big-name bouts scheduled to take place this weekend won’t count for each wrestler’s individual records, Penn State’s quartet of distinguished wrestlers aren’t changing their game plans.
“Going down [to Washington] is the same as a dual meet or a big match against Iowa. We’ve been preparing like it’s just a big match,” Taylor said.
“There’s no such thing as a game that doesn’t count,” Taylor continued. “One way or another it’s going to count for something,” Taylor said.