As many expected, the Penn State Nittany Lions lead by head coach and Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson were off to a roaring start in St. Louis after the first session for the 2012 NCAA Division I national wrestling championships. Strong performances by David Taylor, Quentin Wright and Frank Molinaro (as well as a host of bonus points) helped the team out to an early if narrow lead. Full bracket updates can be viewed here.
The team standings after the first round have Penn State in front, but not with a commanding lead, at least not yet:
1. Penn State 25.5
2. Minnesota 22
3. Oklahoma St. 17.5
4. Cornell 17
5. Iowa 17
Today's second session will kick off at 7:30 pm ET local time.
Iowa's Matt McDonough gave up an early takedown, but took over immediately after by pinning Jared Germaine of Eastern Michigan at 3:14. Stanford's Ryan Mango moved on as did Minnesota's Zach Sanders.
Oklahoma State's Jordan Oliver absolutely rolled in his first round match, getting the fall just after two minutes over Frank Marotelli of Penn State. Other top-seeded wrestlers like Iowa's Tony Ramos, Ohio State's Logan Stieber and Virginia Tech's Devin Carter easily advanced.
As for the University of Pennsylvania, twelfth-seeded Bryan Ortenzo was upset by Central Michigan's Zach Horan in a decision 5-4.
Top seed and defending national champion Kellen Russell out of Michigan cruised in his first round match, besting Nicholas Hucke of Missouri 6-1. Fourth-seeded Michael Mangrum of Oregon State had a tough match against unseeded Joshua Kindig of Oklahoma State, but managed to win 6-4 in OT.
Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech managed to upset tenth-ranked John Sueflohn of Nebraska. But as expected, other top seeds such as Kendric Maple of Oklahoma, Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly and Hunter Stieber of Ohio State easily moved to the next round.
Penn State's Frank Molinaro easily moved to the next round, beating Christopher Villalonga of Cornell 9-0. Third seed Cole VanOhlen also cruised as did two-seed Jamal Parks.
In terms of upsets, ninth-seeded David Habat of Edinboro was upset by Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech in a tightly contested match (3-1). 149 also say Justin Accordino of Hofstra get past twelfth-seed Ivan Lopouchanski of Purdue. But the biggest upset of the division for this session has to be fourth-seed Donald Vinson of Binghamton losing to Nick Lester of Oklahoma 9-4. Corey Jantzen of Harvard also defeated tenth-seed Cam Tessari of Ohio St.
Two-time defending national champion easily moved on, pinning John Nicholson of Old Dominion in just over a minute. He'll face Joshua Kreimier of Air Force in his next match. Two-seed Derek St. John and three-seed Jason Welch also easily advanced.
In terms of upsets, Walter Peppelman of Harvard - the fourth seed - was pinned by David Bonin of Northern Iowa at 2:55 of the matc.
To no one's surprise, Penn State's David Taylor easily moved, pinning Corey Lear of Bucknell in just over a minute. He'll face Brandon Wright of Chattanooga in the next round of the tourney. Andrew Sorensen (three seed) and Shane Onufer (two seed) also moved on.
Ninth-seed Conrad Polz of Illinois was upset by unseeded Patrick Graham of Oklahoma in an easy 8-3 decision. Sixth seed Peter Yates of Virginia Tech was easily bested by Dallas Bailey Oklahoma State 13-2.
Ed Ruth, the top-seeded wrestler in this weight class, also rolled. He pinned Jim Resnick of Rider in just over a minute. Nick Amuchastegui advanced by pin as well. Three-seed Chris Perry. Perry defeated Chris Moon of Virginia Tech 9-4.
Top seed Joe LeBlanc moved on to the next round where he'll face Erich Smith of Pennsylvania next. Robert Hamlin of Lehigh and Ben Bennett of Central Michigan, the other two top seeds, also advanced to the next round.
Other than that, there were no major upsets of seeded wrestlers.
As expected, Cornell's Cam Simaz easily got past Brandon Palik of Drexel winning by tech fall 12-1. Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro and Matthew Wilps of Pittsburgh, the other top seeds, also advanced.
There were upsets, however. Cody Reed of Binghamton got past four seed Christian Boley of Maryland. Boley had a hand a knee wrap headed into the match.
Defending national champion Zach Rey had a tough first round match and barely squeaked by Adam Chantal of Indiana in sudden death with a questionable takedown call.
Number 1 seed Ryan Flores of American rolled with two pins, the first coming in the pigtail rounds. The second came over Devon Mellon of Missouri at 4:23 of the match.