All it took was four minutes for the crowd in a sold out Rec Hall to make its presence felt as the No. 1 Penn State wrestling team (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) started off its conference schedule with a lightning fast start against Indiana (5-3, 0-1 Big Ten).
The Lions won all 10 of their bouts and the match by a score of 52-0.
Nico Megaludis, Jordan Conaway, Bryan Pearsall, and Andrew Alton put in strong performances at 125 pounds, 133 pounds, 141 pounds and 149 pounds, respectively, to make a statement for Penn State.
“Our guys did a nice job, especially in those lower weights,” Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. “Nico, Conaway, and Pearsall really pursing and continuing to score and getting those falls.”
All four wrestlers registered pins before the break while Dylan Alton picked up an 11-6 decision at 157 pounds to give momentum to the heavy weights as the Lions entered the intermission up 27-0.
At 125 pounds, No.3 Megaludis faced off against redshirt sophomore Joe Duca. Megaludis started the match strong, leading after the first period 6-2 and taking 1:00 of riding time into the second period.
The second period is what really got the crowd excited. With 24 seconds left in the second period and leading 15-6, Megaludis pinned Duca by the legs to light up the crowd at the 4:36 mark.
When Conaway faced off against Quin Murphy at 133 pounds, it was more of the same. After the Nittany Lion Open last Sunday, the freshman worked on his defense and moving his legs to prepare for Indiana. The work paid off as he pinned Murphy at 4:42.
For Conway, it was his first conference dual in a Penn State singlet and he said the crowd reaction to his pin surprised him.
“It was crazy, I don’t know if you get that experience when you pin someone at any other school,” Conaway said. “Only here.”
In the 141 pound bout, Pearsall started slow against Eric Roach as after the first period he lead 2-0 with 56 seconds of riding time. In the second period, he took over, registering the Lions’ third pin of the match at the 4:32 mark.
At 149 pounds, Andrew Alton made his return in a dual in impressive fashion. Building off of his performance at the Nittany Lion Open that saw him win his weight class, he pinned Geno Capezio after just 52 seconds.
“The kid pretty much put himself in that position, so I decided to go with it and pin him,” Alton said. “Sort of wanted to get a couple more takedowns but I went with the flow pretty much.”
Sanderson said while pins are great for the team, quick matches make it tough for the coaching staff to assess fitness and the wrestlers must make it up with extra conditioning.
“That would catch up to you late in the season conditioning wise, all of our guys get work in after their matches,” Sanderson said. “We don’t want to discourage them from pinning but they got to make sure they’re getting that work in.”