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| 2011 NCAA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Jim & Tony Nordland
Penn State won the 81st annual NCAA Wrestling Championships before
17,687 fans at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The Nittany Lions tallied 107.5 points, crowned one champion and garnered five All-Americans en route to their second NCAA mat title. Penn State sophomore, ninth-seeded Quentin Wright (21-6) won the lone championship as he pinned Iowa's Grant Gambrall in the semifinals and posted a solid 5-2 decision in the 184-pound final.
Cornell amassed 93.5 points and finished as runners-up for the second consecutive year. The Big Red were paced by sophomore Kyle Dake (65-4 career mark) who claimed his second NCAA title. Dake was unscored upon in five bouts and dominated Frank Molinari (Penn State), 8-1, in the 149-championship. In that bout Dake scored quickly with a single leg/lift takedown and later added a three-point near fall along with over six minutes of riding time. Dake said after the match, "I've been working on my leg series for a long time and he wasn't expecting the half-backside, I sunk it, cranked it over and held on as tight as I could."
Rounding out the top teams were defending team champion Iowa (86.5), Oklahoma State (70.5) and a strong showing from American University who finished in fifth place with 65 points. Arizona State's Anthony Robles (36-0) defeated defending champ Matt McDonough (Iowa) at 125 pounds. Robles used a snap/spin takedown and a tight arm/bar tilt for a 7-1 verdict. Robles was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler award and finishes with a spectacular career mark of 122-13 and as a three-time All-American. Robles' teammate Bubba Jenkins (21-3), a Penn State transfer, squared off against undefeated freshman David Taylor (Penn State) in the 157-pound final. Jenkins applied a tight overheadd cradle and stunned the Nittany Lion and partisan crowd with a stunning second period fall.
Nebraska's two-time tilist Jordan Burroughs (36-0) rolled through the 165-pound bracket, as he posted two tech falls, two major decisions and had a default victory. In the finals he rolled with an 11-3 win over Oklahoma's Tyler Caldwell. Other champions were sophomore Jordan Oliver (133) of Oklahoma State, Kellen Russell (101-11 career) of Michigan at 133, three-time All-American Jon Reader (124-23 career) of Iowa State at 174, Dustin Kilgore (38-2) of Kent State at 197 and Lehigh's Zach Rey (44-1) at 285 pounds.