UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team brought out the big hammers Sunday afternoon against Indiana as the Lions demolished the Hoosiers 52-0 before a noisy crowd at Rec Hall.
The 52-0 win was the largest margin of victory for Penn State in a Big 10 dual meet. It is the second largest in PSU history, only bettered by a 54-point margin over Millersville in 1983.
As for the margin of victory, Penn State coach Cael Sanderson was quick to point out that falls tend to skew the final score.
"When you jump out to a 24-0 lead, that makes it tough to come back from and our guys took advantage of the situation," he said. "We had a lot of falls today and falls will do some damage on the scoreboard. Despite the score there were some good matches in there."
With the score already 49-0 in favor of the Lions, the final bout pitted area favorite Jon Gingrich (Bald Eagle Area) against Indiana's eighth-ranked Adam Chalfant.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, Gingrich picked up the pace to score an escape and pair of takedowns to down the nationally-ranked Chalfant 6-5 to preserve the shutout. As for a win like this one putting his name out there, Gingrich said he never thought much about that.
"I guess you could look at the win in that way, but you still have to wrestle every match the same," Gingrich said. "I definitely had a game plan going in to the match today, but you still have to wrestle hard and try to use things to my strength."
Trailing 3-1, Gingrich escaped and took Chalfant down for his first lead at 4-3. Chalfant escaped to knot the score at 4-4, but the former BEA standout picked up his second takedown of Chalfant to go up 6-4 before Chalfant escaped late in the bout.
For possibly an obvious reason, most of the crowd stayed around with the dual meet already decided, and they were rewarded for their patience.
"It was pretty awesome," Gingrich said. "That (feeling) is something I never felt before, especially at the end of the match when I got my hand raised. When I heard how loud the crowd was, I was so high on energy I felt like I could run through a brick wall."
As for Gingrich coming on strong down the stretch, he felt it was a matter of conditioning.
"I felt him getting a lot more tired when we got to the third period and that was my game plan," he said. "Wear him down, get him tired and then maybe he'll make sloppy shots."
The Lions came roaring out of the locker room as they recorded four straight falls. Picking up the deck jobs were Nico Megaludis (123), Jordan Conaway (133), Bryan Pearsall (141) and Andrew Alton (149).
Alton's fall in 52 seconds was the fastest of the meet.
"It was exciting for me," Alton said of his quick pin. "The kid pretty much put himself in that position so I just decided to go with it and get the fall. I sort of wanted to get a couple more takedowns, but when it was there, I just went with the flow pretty much."
Following his red shirt year, Alton said it felt good to be back on the mat under the lights.
"It was real exciting seeing the crowd out there," he said. "It was nice to hear the crowd cheering the way they did and it was just nice to get my first match (back in Rec Hall) out of the way."
Dylan Alton slowed things down a little at 157 when he bested Tyler Walsh 11-6 for a 27-0 Lion at intermission.
With the Altons now in the lineup back-to-back, Dylan hasn't always been one to watch his brother's match.
"I always have to be prepared before his match because it could be quick and I would be right out there," Dylan Alton said. "I am always prepared just to walk out there because it could be quick whereas with (Frank) Molinaro I at least had a little bit of time (to warm up). I usually watch him because he is the match right before me so I am just bouncing around."
Sanderson was glad to see the quick start to the dual meet.
"The matches started off good for us, and the guys did a nice job, especially in those early matches," Sanderson said. "Nico, Conaway, Pearsall really pursuing and then getting the falls was good to see. When you jump out 24-0, that is tough to come back from."
Following the break, David Taylor turned it on late in his bout with Ryan LeBlanc for a 9-0 major before Ed Ruth and Matt Brown returned the Lions to the six-point category.
Brown hammered Cheney Dale for a 14-3 lead before picking up the fall at 6:40 and Ruth wasted little time in disposing of Luke Sheridan with a fall in 1:24.
Quentin Wright was awarded a forfeit win at 197, setting up the showdown between Gingrich and Chalfant.
Not only did the Lions dominate the Hoosiers on the scoreboard, they also dominated their Big Ten foes by a whopping 28-1 margin in takedowns.
The next action for the Lions will be Saturday when they host Lock Haven University.