Last Updated: Thu Jul 14, 2022 - 3:04AM
Westmoreland County has produced an array of top-level college wrestlers, but very few went on to capture both a team and individual national championship at the Division I level. One of the grapplers who achieved that feat was Nico Megaludis, who excelled at Franklin Regional and then at Penn State University. Although six years removed from college, Megaludis still wrestles against the best competition in the world, while also succeeding at his full-time job. Megaludis is the latest feature in the Westmoreland Where Are They Now?
Competing in the 103-pound weight class as a freshman at Franklin Regional in 2007-08, Megaludis posted a record of 37-1, winning the Class AAA Section 1 tournament and the WPIAL Class AAA crown, and finishing in third place in the PIAA tournament.
Megaludis then moved up in weight class in each of his next three campaigns, and recorded an undefeated mark each time.
As a sophomore, he went 46-0 at 112 pounds, again claiming section and WPIAL titles, and also securing the PIAA crown courtesy of a 3-1 overtime decision against Zach Horan of Nazareth.
He accomplished the same feats the following year at 119 pounds, notching a 36-0 record. This time, the Panthers’ junior secured an 8-4 decision against Liberty’s Anthony Marino in the state final.
In his senior season in 2010-11, Megaludis went an incredible 51-0, culminating with another state championship, this time in the 125-pound bracket. Megaludis left no doubt in winning PIAA gold, as he dominated Boyertown’s Jeremy Minich 16-4.
Megaludis concluded his career with the Panthers with a mark of 170-1, capturing four section titles, four district crowns, and three PIAA championships.
“I miss the team. We had a heck of a fun team,” Megaludis said of the Panthers, who had four other wrestlers reach the state tournament in his senior campaign.
For his efforts with the Panthers, Megaludis will soon be immortalized in the inaugural Franklin Regional Athletic Hall of Fame, which was announced this week.
After graduating from Franklin Regional, Megaludis moved on to Penn State University, where he became an integral part of a dominant Nittany Lions squad at 125 pounds. As a freshman, Megaludis went 28-8, including an unlikely run to the NCAA Championship match, where he finished as the runner up. Penn State, meanwhile, repeated as National Champions, easily besting second-place Minnesota.
In the ensuing year, Megaludis improved his mark to 28-4, and again reached the NCAA finals, but came up short. The Nittany Lions completed a three-peat, narrowly edging Oklahoma State for the NCAA Team Championship.
In 2013-14, the 125-pounder notched 31 victories, and finished in third place in the national tournament. Once again, Penn State reigned supreme in the team tournament, outlasting Minnesota.
However, Megaludis did not compete the following year, as he instead redshirted while the team reloaded its talent.
Megaludis finally reached the pinnacle as a redshirt senior in 2015-16, as he compiled a mark of 32-2, and captured the elusive individual national title. Megaludis bested Iowa’s Thomas Gilman 6-2 in the final bout. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, captured another team title, winning by a comfortable margin over second-place Oklahoma State.
As a result, Megaludis concluded his career in Happy Valley as a four-time All-American, one time NCAA Individual Champion, and four-time team champion.
Choosing his fondest memory at Penn State was a tall task for Megaludis, who instead reflected more broadly.
“Just the experiences I was able to get. I had an Olympic champion as a coach. The resources were unbelievable,” he said. “There’s nothing like the atmosphere of an NCAA Tournament.”
A finance major, Megaludis wasted little time in starting a professional career after his graduation.
“As soon as I was done, I got right into the business. I partnered with my dad at Megaludis Financial,” he said of the Monroeville-based company.
“As soon as I got in the business and really started learning, it’s awesome. It’s something I really have a passion for,” Megaludis continued.
Serving as a financial advisor, Megaludis works Monday through Friday, but has the flexibility to make his own schedule.
That flexibility is key, as he has continued to compete on the mat since his graduation. For a couple of years, he continued to train at Penn State with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. He moved back to Western Pennsylvania in 2018, though, and joined the Pitt Wrestling Club.
“Now, I got an excellent schedule where I’m very busy with work, but I create it, so I know when my practice time is, I know when I gotta work out, and I have a team too. So if I go to Turkey or Russia or wherever it is, it’s not like I have to worry, because I have five other people on my team that my clients all know,” he said.
“Nothing’s ever easy, but I’m passionate about both of them,” Megaludis added.
International competition has taken Megaludis all over the globe, as he’s competed in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Spain, and France, among other places.
“I love being able to go to different countries and see how they live,” he stated.
However, injuries have plagued Megaludis in recent years. Initially, he tore his ACL in 2019, but with the Olympics looming the next year, he attempted to expedite his return to the mat.
“2020 was supposed to be the Olympic year, and the trials were in April, so I had to kind of take a little bit of a risk and come back within six, seven months,” he detailed.
Unfortunately, the result was another ACL tear in February 2020. Although he wrestled without an ACL for several months, Megaludis ultimately opted to get the ligament repaired in August of that year.
His first competition back came a few months ago, as he wrestled in Istanbul in March.
“I certainly didn’t pick an easy tournament to come back to – it was a world-ranking tournament. I competed very well, especially for my first tournament back,” he said.
The following month, Megaludis won the US Open in Las Vegas, and lofty aspirations remain in his sight.
“To be a world champion. That’s something you dream of as a kid,” he revealed. “When you know you gave it everything you had, it just gives you peace of mind.”
Now 30 years old, the Churchill resident realizes that his career on the mat won’t last forever. As a result, he takes things day by day.
“I do it because I love it,” he stated. “Whenever I stop loving it or there comes a day when I’m not competing as good as I should be, then I’ll hang up my shoes.”
When that day does arrive, Megaludis still has plans to stay connected to the sport. While he’s managed to find time to travel and see friends and family, Megaludis doesn’t have much in the way of hobbies or activities away from the mat.
“I’ll help out in some way,” he said in reference to coaching after his career concludes. “I won’t be a full-time coach, but it’d be nice to do something where I could go in a couple days a week, have that relationship with the guys.”