Nico Megaludis, No. 2 at 125-pounds, set the tone for the Nittany Lions Sunday by pinning Rider’s Patrick Skinner at the 3:48 mark in the first bout on the way to a 48-0 rout of the Broncs.
The Lions (12-1, 7-1 Big Ten) trailed in only one bout, when Broncs’ (10-7) No. 20 Ramon Santiago took an early two-point lead on No. 2 David Taylor. Taylor quickly recovered and did not waste much time before pinning Santiago in the second period.
In one of the closer matches on the day, No. 5 Dylan Alton took on Rider’s Zac Cibula in the 157-pound weight class. The two battled back and forth for most of the match as Alton held on to a slim lead before finally winning the bout, 5-2.
Head coach Cael Sanderson said the final score did not look good for the Broncs, but it did not mean the Broncs do not have strong wrestlers.
“They’ve got some good kids and that’s a good match for us this time of year,” Sanderson said. “I think Dylan definitely wrestled one of their tougher kids. They have some NCAA qualifiers on their team and some potentials again this year.”
Senior Bryan Pearsall also picked up a pin in his last match in Rec Hall on senior day along with No. 7 Matt Brown and No. 1 Ed Ruth for a total of five pins for the Lions on the day.
Sanderson said he likes to see his kids looking for pins and earning the team bonus points because of future implications.
“We need the bonus points,” Sanderson said. “I think that’s what separated us from the rest of the pack the last two years…we need those bonus points if we want to win the nationals and the Big Ten.”
Sanderson also said the pins are a part of the team mentality because the wrestlers are competing for team points, not just for themselves.
The Rider dual also marked sophomore Jimmy Lawson’s fourth-straight start after fellow sophomore Jon Gingrich had been named the heavyweight starter earlier in the year. Lawson earned a victory by decision over the Broncs’ Greg Velasco on Sunday.
Sanderson said he feels No. 12 Lawson will be at his best in the big matches, but the Lions are still trying to figure out which heavyweight will score the most points at the Big Ten and national championships.
Although Sanderson said nothing is finalized, he said the notion that the team has been giving the nod to Lawson lately is a “pretty good indicator.”
The Lions will close out their regular season against Rutgers on Sunday in New Brunswick, N.J. before heading to Champaign, Ill., for the Big Ten Championships starting March 9.