Penn State used strong efforts from David Taylor and Jordan Conaway over the weekend and a milestone by Quentin Wright to defeat No. 19 Wisconsin 36-6 on Friday night and No. 22 Purdue 35-3 Sunday afternoon.
With a pin at 1:24 on Friday night, Wright became the 27th wrestler in school history to win 100 bouts.
The senior said that getting his 100th win at home was extra special to him.
“It means a lot to be out there and give them the opportunity to enjoy the moment with me,” Wright said.
Conaway went 2-0 over the weekend, setting the momentum up at 133 pounds after two Nico Megaludis wins. He upset No. 3 Tyler Graff against Wisconsin with a thrilling 10-8 decision in sudden victory before getting a 13-4 major victory on Sunday.
Head coach Cael Sanderson said these wins are allowing Conaway to get into the national picture but he still has work to do to get an automatic bid into the national championship. Each weight class sends 33 wrestlers to the tournament, with 290 of the 330 spots determined via automatic qualification based on performance at qualifying tournaments.
“He still has to earn his way, we don't want to have to get into the wild card process. He'd like to get there on his own account, I think that's more exciting for him,” Sanderson said after Friday's dual.
While the Lions’ lightweights used decisions to get points on the board, the heavyweights opened up the score for the Lions, going 10-0 over the weekend with three pins, one technical fall and one major.
Taylor opened up the Lions second halves with two strong performances, registering a 25-7 technical fall victory on Friday over Frank Cousins of Wisconsin. He followed up his performance with a pin on Sunday at 2:41 over Doug Welch.
Matt Brown continued the strong performances in the upper weights with two victories by decision. After a back and forth 12-8 victory over Wisconsin’s Scott Liegel, the sophomore earned a major victory against Purdue’s Kyle Mosier. He used a dominating first period performance to open the score up, leading 7-1 after one period. After a tightly contested second period, Brown used three third period takedowns to earn the major victory.
With three of the Penn State's four remaining Big Ten duals on the road and with trips to Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio State looming, Taylor said February will be a good test for the team.
“We haven't really had a road test since I've been in school. This year we will definitely be tested going to Iowa, wrestling a really strong Illinois team, going to Ohio State, and wrestling a Pitt team,” Taylor said after Friday's dual. “I'm really looking forward to wrestling at Carver.”