The championship round of the isn’t scheduled to begin until Saturday night, yet Penn State has clinched its first NCAA Wrestling championship since 1954 as the program is guaranteed to finish in the top third of five weight classes.
Both, Andrew Long and Ed Ruth won their third place matches on Saturday morning at the Wells Fargo Center and Quentin Wright, David Taylor and Frank Molinaro will vie for first place Saturday night..
"I had no idea," redshirt freshman Ed Ruth said. "My coaches didn't tell me anything. I just knew I wanted to go out there and give it my all since it’s the last match of my freshman year."
Ruth, who earned All-American status earlier in the day, defeated Cornell's Mack Lewnes, 6-2, despite battling a knee injury he suffered in his quarterfinal match Friday. Heavily bandaged, Ruth has some trouble with mobility, and therefore changed his approach on the mat. Ruth said his leg, "felt funny" and that he couldn't shoot any shots to his left side, so he adjusted and concentrated his attack on to the right side. Ruth got up, 2-0, early with a takedown and control the match for the rest of the time.
"As long as I'm at Penn State, I hope to see this continue," Ruth said, about the possibily of a Penn State wrestling dynasty. "I will do everything in my power to see it continue."
After trailing early in the match, Long scored two take downs in the final two periods to clinch third place at 133 pounds with a 7-5 decision over Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan. The match was Long’s second win of the morning sessions after losing Friday night. He said that he believed his first win helped set the tone for his teammates heading into the final day.
“It feels great to get a win for the team,” said Long, who was an All-American and NCAA runner-up last season at Iowa State.
The sophomore said the team could “feel the rush” of the crowd in the sold-out Wells Fargo Center, which seemed to be dominated by Penn State fans.
“It’s good they’re real important, seems like we have more on our side,” Long said.