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WR: Penn State Dominates Day 1 of Southern Scuffle

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Jan. 1, 2018

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.; January 1, 2018 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (5-0, 1-0 B1G) dominated the first day of the 2018 Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Nittany Lions picked up nearly 40 wins on the first day and moved out to a large lead in the team race (at press time).

Penn State pushed eight wrestlers into tomorrow morning’s semifinals at seven different weights. The Nittany Lions are looking for their seventh Southern Scuffle title, having won six in a row before not competing at the event last year. As of 9 p.m. at press time, with a handful of consolation bouts still on the mat, Penn State had 101 team points with Northern Iowa in second with 81.5 and Lehigh in third at 68.

Penn State had 18 wrestlers competing at the team scored tournament, 16 attached and two unattached. Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad had ten wrestlers seeded at the event, including seven top seeds: Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), ranked No. 18 at 133, was the No. 4 seed; junior Jered Cortez (Carol Stream, Ill.), ranked No. 15 at 141, was the No. 3 seed; true freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), unattached at 141, was the No. 5 seed; senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, was the No. 1 seed; junior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, was the No. 1 seed; sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, was the No. 1 seed; sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, was the No. 1 seed; junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 184, was the No. 1 seed; sophomore Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.), ranked No. 9 at 197, was the No. 1 seed; and junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 3 at 285, was the No. 1 seed.



Rounding out Penn State’s entrants were red-shirt freshman Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) at 125; junior George Carpenter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) at 133; red-shirt freshman Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) at 149, true freshman Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) wrestling unattached at 149; sophomore Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge, N.Y.) at 174; senior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) at 197; junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.) at 197; and red-shirt freshman Alex Nicholas (Allentown, Pa.) at 285.

Schnupp was Penn State’s scoring wrestler at 125 and went 0-2. At 133, Keener bounced back from an upset loss in round two to major Carpenter and Northern Iowa’s Rudy Yates in consolation action. Keener heads into day two’s conso action with a 3-1 mark, all wins by major. Carpenter, with his loos to Keener, ended his tournament with a 1-2 mark. At 141, Cortez roared out to a 3-0 start with a forfeit win and two decisions. But late in the third period of his third round win, Cortez was injured and finished the final :12 unable to put weight on one foot. He ended his Scuffle with a 3-0 mark after injury forfeiting out of the tournament. True freshman Lee, wrestling unattached and therefore not a scoring wrestler for Penn State in the team race, was a perfect 3-0 on the day, including a tech a pin and a major.

Retherford rolled through day one, posting a 3-0 mark with two pins and a tech fall. The Lion senior’s performance has him set for tomorrow morning’s semifinals. Verkleeren advanced to the quarterfinals before losing, going 2-1 with a major. The unattached true freshman will wrestle in consolation action tomorrow morning. Pipher went 0-2 at 149 as well. Nolf rolled to a 3-0 mark with a forfeit victory and two pins to advance to the quarterfinals at 157. Joseph posted a 3-0 mark to roll into the semis as well, picking up a pin and a tech in the process. Hall went 3-0 to move into the quarters at 174 with two quick pins and a major in the quarterfinals. Bisono went 0-2 at 174.

Nickal was a perfect 3-0 on the day as well, getting three first period pins at 0:56, 1:34 and 1:09 to move into tomorrow’s semifinals. Cassar posted a 2-0 mark at 197 as the top seed, moving into the semifinal round tomorrow morning. Rasheed had an outstanding first day at 197, going 3-0 with two wins over ranked wrestlers, including a pin in just :27 over No. 15 Scottie Boykin of Chattanooga in the quarterfinals. Rasheed’s 3-0 day has him in tomorrow’s semifinals. McCutcheon picked up a first round pin but then suffered an injury default loss in the second round and bowed out of the tournament with a 1-1 mark. Nevills suffered a 4-3 upset loss in the quarterfinals and went 2-1 on day one. He will wrestle in tomorrow morning’s consolation action. Nicholas picked up his first win as a Nittany Lion at 285, going 1-2 at 285.

Penn State posted a 36-14 record on day one, with nine majors, three techs and 14 pins. Retherford now has nine pins for the season, 45 for his career (fourth all-time at Penn State); Nolf has ten this year and 39 for his career (fifth all-time); Nickal has eight this year and 33 for his career (ninth all-time) and Hall has seven this year and 19 for his career (nearing PSU’s top 20).

The Southern Scuffle continues tomorrow, Jan. 2, at 10 a.m. The Nittany Lions’ next home dual is a Big Ten battle against Purdue in Rec Hall on Friday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. With all home dual meets sold out, a limited number of Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets are available to select Rec Hall duals based on availability. Call 1-800-NITTANY for information or to purchase tickets.

The 2017-18 Penn State wrestling season is sponsored by The Family Clothesline. Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling’s Facebook page at and on Instagram at This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

2018 Southern Scuffle – Team Standings (Top 3 as of 9 p.m.):
January 1, 2018 – Chattanooga, Tenn.

1: PENN STATE – 101.0
2: Northern Iowa – 81.5
3: Lehigh --- 68.0


125: Devin Schnupp
Rd. 1: Bye
Rd. 2: Alonzo Allen, Chattanooga – L, 8-14 maj.
Cn. 2: Fabian Gutierrez, Chattanooga – L, 6-8 dec.

Schnupp received a first round bye and the dropped a 14-8 major to Chattanooga’s Alonzo Allen in the second round. He moved into consolation action where he lost a hard-fought 8-6 decision to Chattanooga’s Fabian Gutierrez, going 0-2 on the day for Penn State.

133: #18 Corey Keener (4th seed)
Rd. 1: Wade Cummings, Chattanooga – W, 12-1 maj.
Rd. 2: Gary Wayne Harding, Oklahoma State – L, 0-7 dec.
Cn. 2: George Carpenter, Penn State – W, 10-2 maj.
Cn. 3: Rudy Yates, Northern Iowa – W, 10-2 maj.
Cn. 4: tomorrow

Keener started the tournament strong, rolling to a 12-1 major decision over Chattanooga’s Wade Cummings. He then suffered his first loss as a Nittany Lion, dropping a 7-0 decision to Oklahoma State’s Gary Wayne Harding. Keener handed teammate George Carpenter a 10-2 major defeat in his first conso bout and then majored Northern Iowa’s Rudy Yates 10-2 to round out day one with a 3-1 mark, all by major decision.

133: George Carpenter
Rd. 1: Durbin Lloren, Utah Valley – L, 1-11 maj.
Cn. 1: Brandon Bright, Gardner Webb – W, 9-0 maj.
Cn. 2: #18 Corey Keener, Penn State – L, 2-10 maj.

Carpenter lost an 11-1 major to Utah Valley’s Durbin Lloren in the opening round, falling to consolation action. He then majored Gardner Webb’s Brandon Bright 9-0 with over 5:00 in riding time to move into the second round of consolation action. He took on teammate Keener in his next consolation bout and dropped a 10-2 major, bowing out of the tournament with a 1-2 mark.

141: #15 Jered Cortez (3rd seed)
PT: Franco Valdes, Chattanooga – W, forfeit
Rd. 1: Alec Opsal, Air Force – W, 8-6 dec.
Rd. 2: Owen Lamb, Northern Colorado – W, 6-3 dec.

Cortez picked up a forfeit victory in his pigtail bout to start the tournament. He then met Air Force’s Alec Opsal in the first round and posted an 8-6 decision. He moved to 3-0 with a 6-3 win over Owen Lamb of Northern Colorado in the second round but was injured late in the match. While hanging on for the victory, the Lion was unable to continue in the tournament and ended the tournament with a 3-0 mark (Cortez took medical forfeits, not losses, bowing out of the tournament).

141: Nick Lee (unattached – 5th seed)
Rd. 1: Garrett O’Shea, Air Force – W, 18-3 (TF; 4:55)
Rd. 2: Evan Cheek, Cleveland State – WBF (2:58)
Qtrs: Russell Rohlfing, CS-Bakersfield – W, 15-5 maj.
Semis: tomorrow

Lee, wrestling unattached, began his tournament with a dominant 18-3 technical fall over Air Force’s Garrett O’Shea (4:55). He then posted a late first period pin of Cleveland State’s Evan Cheek, getting the fall at the 2:58 mark. Lee moved into the semifinals with a 15-5 major over CS-Bakersfield’s Russell Rohlfing in the quarterfinals, ending his day with a 3-0 mark.

149: #1 Zain Retherford (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Brandon Leynaud, Duke – WBF (1:20)
Rd. 2: Jon Mele, Lehigh – WBF (4:21)
Qtrs: Jamal Morris, North Carolina State -- W, 15-0 (TF; 5:43)
Semis: tomorrow

Retherford picked up his eighth pin of the year in the first round, pinning Duke’s Brandon Leynaud at the 1:20 mark to get things started. He then pinned Lehigh’s Jon Mele at the 4:21 mark in the second period, notching his 45th career pin as a Nittany Lion. He then posted a dominant 15-0 tech fall over North Carolina’s Jamal Morris in the quarterfinals to finish day one with a 3-0 mark.

149: Jarod Verkleeren (unattached)
Rd. 1: Jake Keating, Virginia – W, 16-5 maj.
Rd. 2: Kalani Tonge, CS-Bakersfield – W, 11-4 dec.
Qtrs: Jered Prince, Navy – L, 5-8 dec.
Cn 4: tomorrow

Verkleeren, wrestling unattached, opened up his tournament with an impressive 16-5 major over Virginia’s Jake Keating. The true freshman then downed CS-Bakersfield’s Kalani Tonge 11-4 to move on. The true freshman dropped a hard-fought 8-5 decision to Navy’s Jared Prince in the quarterfinals, going 2-1 on day one.

149: Bo Pipher
Rd. 1: Ty Buckiso, The Citadel – L, 1-10 maj. dec.
Cn. 1: Tejon Anthony, George Mason – L, 2-3 dec.

Pipher dropped a 10-1 major to The Citadel’s Ty Buckiso in the opening round, sliding down to consolation action. Pipher lost 3-2 to George Mason’s Tejon Anthony, ending his tournament with an 0-2 mark.

157: #1 Jason Nolf (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Bryce Reddington, George Mason – W, forfeit
Rd. 2: Cam Coy, Virginia – WBF (4:35)
Qtrs: Tyler Marinelli, Gardner Webb – WBF (1:43)
Semis: tomorrow

Nolf received a forfeit victory over George Mason’s Bryce Reddington in the opening round and then pinned Virginia’s Cam Coy at the 4:35 mark in his first live action of the day. Nolf picked up his second pin of the day in the quarterfinals, getting the fall over Gardner Webb’s Tyler Marinelli at the 1:43 mark. Nolf posted a 3-0 first day with two pins.

165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Michael Elliot, Appalachian State – WBF (3:22)
Rd. 2: Zach Finesilver, Duke – W, 19-4 (TF; 5:11)
Qtrs: Ebed Jarrell, Drexel – W, 10-7 dec.
Semis: tomorrow

Joseph, returning to live action for the first time since November, opened up the tournament with a fall, pinning Michael Elliot of Appalachian State at the 3:22 mark. He then dominated Duke’s Zach Finesilver, rolling to a 19-4 tech fall at the 5:11 mark to move into the quarterfinals. Joseph fought off a strong effort from Drexel’s Ebed Jarrell to post a 10-7 win, going 3-0 on the day and moving into the semifinals.

174: #2 Mark Hall (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Evan Schenk, Gardner Webb – WBF (0:55)
Rd. 2: Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech – WBF (0:35)
Qtrs: Matt Finesilver, Duke – W, 12-3 maj.
Semis: tomorrow

Hall, who wrestled unattached at the Scuffle last year and won the 174 pound title and OW award, opened up his title defense with a quick pin (0:55) of Gardner Webb’s Evan Schenk. He needed less time against Virginia Tech’s Hunter Bolen, using a head lock and throw to put the Hokie to his back for a first period pin at the 0:35 mark. Hall dominated Duke’s Matt Finesilver in the quarters, rolling to a 12-3 major to go 3-0 with two pins and a major on day one.

174: Francisco Bisono
Rd. 1: #17 Forrest Przybysz, Appalachian State – L, 7-18 maj.
Cn. 1: Hestin Lamons, Oklahoma State – L, 4-5 dec.

Bisono met 17th-ranked Forrest Przybysz in the opening round and lost an 18-7 major. He bowed out of the tournament with a hard-fought 5-4 loss to Oklahoma State’s Hestin Lamons, going 0-2 at this year’s event.

184: #1 Bo Nickal (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Nick Mosco, North Carolina – WBF (0:56)
Rd. 2: Austin Flores, Stanford – WBF (1:34)
Qtrs: Sam Smeltzer, Virginia Tech – WBF (1:09)
Semis: tomorrow

Nickal continued his torrid start to the season with another fast fall, this pin coming at the 0:56 mark over North Carolina’s Nick Mosco. Nickal followed that pin up with another first period fall, getting the call at the 1:34 mark against Stanford’s Austin Flores. Nickal made it three for three on first period pins with a fall over Virginia Tech’s Sam Smeltzer at the 1:09 mark to move into the semifinals.

197: #9 Anthony Cassar (1st seed)
Rd. 1: bye
Rd. 2: Tristan Sponseller, Lock Haven – W, 13-10 dec.
Qtrs: Stephen Loiseau, Drexel – W, 4-1 dec.
Semis: tomorrow

Cassar received a first round bye and shook off the rust of a long wait with a 13-10 decision over Lock Haven’s Tristan Sponseller in the second round. The win moved the Lion sophomore into the quarterfinals where he posted a 4-1 win over Stephen Loiseau of Drexel, advancing to the semifinals with a 2-0 first day.

197: Matt McCutcheon
Rd. 1: Ben Stacey, Chattanooga – WBF (5:40)
Rd. 2: Anthony McLaughlin, Air Force – L, inj. def.

McCutcheon opened up the Scuffle with a pin, getting a third period fall over Chattanooga’s Ben Stacey at the 5:40 mark. McCutcheon was battling Air Force’s Anthony McLaughlin late in the third when the Lion called for an injury timeout, could not continue, and took an injury default loss. McCutcheon went 1-1 with a pin at this year’s Scuffle.

197: Shakur Rasheed
Rd. 1: Anthony Perrine, Gardner Webb – W, 12-3 maj.
Rd. 2: #18 Jacob Seely, Northern Colorado – W, 12-2 maj.
Qtrs: #15 Scottie Boykin, Chattanooga – WBF (0:27)
Semis: tomorrow

Rasheed opened up his tournament with a strong 12-3 major over Gardner Webb’s Anthony Perrine. He then dominated No. 18 Jacob Seely, the tournament’s sixth seed, in a 12-2 major decision to advance to the quarterfinals. Rasheed then downed his second straight ranked opponent, this one in fast fashion as the Lion junior pinned No. 15 Scottie Boykin of Chattanooga at the 0:27 mark to move into the semifinals with a 3-0 first day.

285: #3 Nick Nevills (1st seed)
Rd. 1: Price Jackson, Gardner Webb – WBF (1:42)
Rd. 2: Tyler Love, Virginia – W, 3-0 dec.
Qtrs: Mike Boykin, North Carolina State – L, 3-4 dec.
Cn. 4: tomorrow

Nevills picked up a quick first period pin in his first bout, getting the fall over Gardner Webb’s Price Jackson at the 1:42 mark. He used a third period takedown to ice a 3-0 win over Virginia’s Tyler Love in the second round, moving into the quarterfinals. Nevills slipped into a reversal in the third period to drop a 4-3 decision to North Carolina State’s Mike Boykin, going 2-1 on day one.

285: Alex Nicholas
Rd. 1: Joey Goodhart, Drexel – L, 0-15 (TF; 5:00)
Cn. 1: Bubby Scherer, Virginia – W, 9-6 dec.
Cn. 2: Dustin Dennison, Utah Valley – L, 2-15 maj.

Nicholas dropped a 15-0 technical fall to Drexel’s Joey Goodhart to open up his Scuffle action. In consolation action, he picked up his first collegiate victory with a 9-6 decision over Virginia’s Bubby Scherer. His tournament ended with a 15-2 major loss to Utah Valley’s Dustin Dennison.


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