ROSEMONT, Ill. — After six long years, Central York High School graduate James English is finally headed to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
English punched his first-ever ticket to the national tournament with a fifth-place finish in the 149-pound class at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships.
English helped PSU earn its fourth-straight Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions finished with a team score of 140.5. The Nittany Lions become just the fifth school to win four consecutive conference titles and the first since Iowa won 25 successive crowns from 1974-1998. Penn State took home two individual crowns. Ed Ruth and David Taylor closed their careers as just the 12th and 13th wrestlers to be crowned four-time Big Ten Champions.
Iowa finished in second place with 134 points, while Minnesota took third with 114.5.
Taylor was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and Wrestler of the Championships. The senior becomes just the second athlete to be named Wrestler of the Year three times, joining Iowa's Mark Ironside (1996-98). He is also the fourth consecutive Nittany Lion to be named Wrestler of the Championships. Head Coach Cael Sanderson took home Coach of the Year honors for the fourth year in a row.
English's career at PSU has been hampered by multiple injuries, which resulted in him getting two medical redshirt seasons. He made his final chance to make the NCAA field count, however.
He entered the event seeded No. 7. He received a bye in the first round before narrowly losing to No. 2 seed Nick Dardanes of Minnesota, 3-2, to get knocked down into the consolation bracket.
English won his first two consolation bouts, beating Purdue's Brandon Nelsen, the No. 8 seed, 3-2, and Ohio State's Ian Paddock, the No. 6 seed, 5-2. English then lost to Michigan's Eric Grajales, the No. 5 seed, 12-2, before rebounding with a 3-2 decision over Wisconsin's Ryan Lubeck, 3-2, in the fifth-place match.
English will enter the NCAA Championships with an 11-5 record this season and a career record of 55-20. English earned his berth in the Big Ten event by beating teammates Andrew Alton and Seth Beitz in a wrestle-off.
English compiled 150 career wins while at Central York and finished third at 145 pounds in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament during his senior season back in 2008.
English already has a degree in chemical engineering and he's now pursuing a degree in energy business finance.
The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.