Penn State wins fourth consecutive title

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Ed Ruth and David Taylor won individual titles to lead Penn State to its fourth consecutive NCAA Division I wrestling title Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Penn State is only the third team in NCAA history to win four consecutive titles.

Ruth (38-1) became the first wrestler in Penn State history to win three titles. Ruth, a four-time All-American who was seeded No. 2 in the 184-pound weight class, capped his career with a 7-2 victory against Maryland's Jimmy Sheptock, the No. 1 seed.

"It's an honor to become Penn State's first three-time champion," said Ruth, who concluded his career with 136 wins. "Hopefully, somebody else comes along and ties my record. It's a great way to end my career."

Penn State actually clinched the team title before Taylor wrestled in the final match of the night. Minnesota entered the finals with a 104-101.5 lead on the Nittany Lions, but both of the Gophers' finalists -- Dylan Ness and Anthony Nelson -- lost.

Ness (28-6) dropped a 13-4 decision to Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer in the 157-pound final. Nelson, a two-time NCAA champion, was upset, 4-2, by North Carolina's Nick Gwiazdowski in the 285-pound final.

Taylor (39-0) capped the evening with a 6-0 win against Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell in the 165-pound final. It was his fourth appearance in the finals and his second title. Taylor was the only unbeaten wrestler in the tournament and finished his career with 134 wins.

"This is what we wrestle for," Taylor said. "Winning a fourth team title was our goal. It's a great way to end my career."

Taylor and Ruth were two of seven Penn State All-Americans. To become an All-American, a wrestler must place among the top eight in a weight class.

The Nittany Lions' Nico Megaludis (36-5), the No. 3 seed at 125, rebounded to place third after losing Friday in the semifinals. Megaludis, a Franklin Regional graduate, posted a 6-1 win against Virginia Tech's Joey Dance in the consolation. He also posted a 5-2 victory in the consolation semifinals against Iowa's Cory Clark.

"Nico hurt his rib in the final match in the first period," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. "Ribs are painful, but he's a tough kid. It's going to take a lot more than that to slow him down. He did a great job."

Zain Retherford and Matt Brown placed fifth for Penn State. Retherford (37-5), the No. 3 seed at 141, won by medical forfeit in the fifth-place consolation against Northern Iowa's Joey Lazor. Matt Brown (38-8), the No. 5 seed at 174, posted a 6-3 victory in his consolation for fifth place against Iowa's Michael Evans.

James English and Morgan McIntosh each placed seventh for the Nittany Lions.

Edinboro had three All-Americans for the first time since 2009. And all three finished among the top four in their weight class. Mitchell Port claimed a bronze medal, while A.J. Schopp and David Habat each finished fourth.

Tyler Wilps (36-9) became the 75th All-American in Pitt history when he placed seventh at 174 pounds. Wilps, the No. 7 seed, recorded a 4-2 victory against Cal State Bakerfield's Bryce Hammond in the consolation for seventh place. Wilps is the second member of his family to become an All-American. His brother Matt was a two-time place-winner in 2012-13. Pitt has had an All-American in seven of the past eight years.

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