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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 21, 2016 -- No. 1 Penn State (16-0, 9-0 B1G) took care of No. 2 Oklahoma State (13-3) on Sunday to win the 2016 NWCA National Dual Championship Series title. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad took down the Cowboys 29-18 in front of yet another sold out Rec Hall crowd.
The NWCA dual crown is the third different championship won by Penn State to date this season: the team won its sixth straight Southern Scuffle title on January 1-2 and a share of the 2016 Big Ten Regular Season title (shared with Iowa, Penn State's third such championship). The dual was wrestled in front of 6,575 fans, the 29th straight Rec Hall sell-out and the 32nd of 33 including the Bryce Jordan Center.
Three seniors wrestled in their final dual meets in Rec Hall and the dual meet began with two of them. Senior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 125, brought the standing room only crowd to its feet with a pin in his final match in Rec Hall. Megaludis pinned No. 6 Eddie Klimara at the 3:58 mark to give Penn State an early 6-0 lead. Senior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 133, added to the Lion lead with a strong win in his final Rec Hall match. Conaway controlled Gary Wayne Harding, rolling to an 8-4 win with 2:03 in riding time.
Junior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) lost a spirited and hard-fought 9-5 decision to No. 1 Dean Heil at 141 as Oklahoma State cut Penn State's lead to 9-3. Sophomore Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, dominated No. 12 Anthony Collica, rolling up 2:35 in riding time on his way to a strong 4-1 win. Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, sent Penn State into the intermission on a high note, hitting a standing cradle to pin Ryan Blees at the 6:32 mark in the third period (Nolf was up 21-8 at the time). Penn State led 18-3 heading into the halftime break.
Junior Geno Morelli (DuBois, Pa.) dropped a 17-2 technical fall to No. 1 Alex Dieringer at 165 as the Cowboys cut Penn State's lead to 18-8. Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 174, answered immediately however, rolling to an identical 17-2 technical fall, this one at the 4:39 mark to put Penn State up 23-8. Sophomore Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 184, was leading 1 to No. 13 Nolan Boyd when he was injured on an illegal hold (pulling McCutcheon's knee brace). After an extended injury time, McCutcheon tried to continue but was injured once again on the next flurry and lost by injury default at the 3:38 mark.
Senior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 1 at 197, closed out his Rec Hall career in rousing fashion, getting a quick first period pin (1:59) of Andrew Marsden to put Penn State up 29-14 and clinch the NWCA Dual Meet title. With red-shirt freshman Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 16 at 285, sent to the U.S. Collegiate Championships at Air Force to get more matches under his belt, true freshman Jan Johnson (Mohnton, Pa.) stepped up at 285 and dropped a hard-fought 18-6 major to No. 5 Austin Marsden. Johnson notched a reversal and two takedowns late in the match but his comeback efforts were not enough.
The Nittany Lions end the regular season with a perfect 16-0 mark, 9-0 in the Big Ten. Oklahoma State ends its dual season with a 13-3 record. The 16 dual meet victories are the most since Penn State won 17 in 2011 (going 17-1-1). The perfect 16-0 record marks the first time since 1972 that a Penn State team wrestling ten or matches has gone through the season unblemished (no losses or ties). Penn State went 12-0 in 1972. The 2015-16 Penn State squad has already gone 9-0 in conference duals, only the second-ever Penn State team to run through the conference schedule unblemished. Penn State went 6-0 in 1997-98 and 5-0-1 in 1992-93. The nine dual victories is also a school record for Big Ten dual wins in a single season.
Penn State posted a 24-14 takedown advantage and rolled up 11 bonus points off three pins (Megaludis, Nolf, McIntosh) and a technical fall (Nickal). Wrapping up their final dual meets as Nittany Lions, Penn State's three starting seniors head to their final post-season with outstanding career records. Conaway is 83-27 after today, Megaludis 111-18 and McIntosh 106-18. McIntosh ends his Penn State career with 53 dual meet victories, 12th all-time. Megaludis ends his with 52, 14th all-time. Conaway collected 42 dual meet wins during his Lion career. Each of the senior trio has already earned All-America honors (Conaway once, McIntosh twice, Megaludis three times).
Penn State will head to Iowa City, Iowa, for the 2016 Big Ten Wrestling Championships at the University of Iowa on March 5-6. The event, in Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena, begins on Saturday with an 11 a.m. session and a 7 p.m. session (Eastern). The championship, serving as the NCAA qualifier for the conference, concludes on Sunday with a 1 p.m. session (Eastern).
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. The 2015-16 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.
#1 Penn State 29, #2 Oklahoma State 18
February 21, 2016 -- Rec Hall -- University Park, Pa.
125: #4 Nico Megaludis PSU pinned #6 Eddie Klimara OSU, WBF (3:58) / 6-0
133: #5 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Gary Wayne Harding OSU, 8-4 / 9-0
141: #1 Dean Heil OSU dec. Jimmy Gulibon PSU, 9-5 / 9-3
149: #1 Zain Retherford PSU dec. #12 Anthony Collica OSU, 4-1 / 12-3
157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU pinned Ryan Blees OSU, WBF (6:32) / 18-3
165: #1 Alex Dieringer OSU tech fall Geno Morelli PSU, 17-2 (TF; 4:36) / 18-8
174: #1 Bo Nickal PSU tech fall Heston Lamons OSU, 17-2 (TF; 4:39) / 23-8
184: #13 Nolan Boyd OSU inj. def. #6 Matt McCutcheon PSU, (3:38) / 23-14
197: #1 Morgan McIntosh PSU pinned Andrew Marsden OSU, WBF (1:59) / 29-14
285: #5 Austin Marsden OSU maj. dec. Jan Johnson PSU, 18-6 / 28-18
Attendance: 6,575 (sold out -- 29 straight sell outs in Rec Hall, 32 of 33 including BJC)
Records: Penn State 16-0, 9-0 B1G; Oklahoma State 13-3
Up Next for Penn State: at 2016 Big Ten Championships, Iowa City, March 5-6
125: Senior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.), ranked No. 4 at 125, took on No. 6 Eddie Klimara in one of many marquee match-ups in the dual meet. Klimara came out quick, trying to score off shoulder control early but Megaludis forced a stalemate on the initial move. Megaludis began to control the tempo from that point on, taking numerous low singles and keeping Klimara backing away. Megaludis gained control of Klimara's right ankle and broke the Cowboy down for a 2-0 lead at the :50 mark. Megaludis put together a strong ride, controlling Klimara for the ride out. Leading 2-0 with :50 in riding time, Megaludis chose down to start the second period and quickly worked his way into a reversal and a 4-0 lead. Klimara escaped, only to have Megaludis blow through a low double and gain control of the Cowboy once again. This time, Megaludis used leverage and backed his way into Klimara. With his back to the Cowboy, Megaludis forced Klimara's head to the mat, then worked his shoulders flat for a pin at the 3:58 mark.
133: Senior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 133, met Gary Wayne Harding. Conaway wasted no time taking control of the match, breaking Harding down off the whistle with a single leg to a scrambling takedown. Conaway then controlled Harding for over 1:09 before the Cowboy escaped to a 2-1 score. The Lion senior was relentless, however, taking another low single and turning it into a 4-1 lead with a second takedown. Conaway maintained control for the rest of the period and led 4-1 with 1:53 in time after one. Harding chose down to start the second period and Conaway added to his riding time advantage. Harding escaped to a 4-2 score at the 1:25 mark and then quickly countered a slight Harding shot for a third takedown and a 6-2 lead. With over 3:00 in riding time, Conaway worked for a chance to the Cowboy for back points. Another ride out gave Conaway a 6-2 lead with 3:36 in time after two periods. Conaway chose down to start the third period and steadily worked his way to his feet and an escaped with 1:10 on the clock. Leading 7-2, Conaway shot low looking to secure a major but Harding countered the shot for his own takedown. Still, Conaway's dominant performance gave the Lion senior an 8-4 win.
141: Junior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) met No. 1 Dean Heil at 141. The duo battled evenly for the bout's opening minute. Heil then scored the bout's first takedown with a fast move at the 2:11 mark to take a 2-0 lead. Gulibon worked his way to an escaped and a 2-1 score with 1:12 on the clock and action resumed in the center of the mat. Gulibon shot quickly off a reset but Heil was able to fight off the efforts and carry the 2-1 lead into the second stanza. Gulibon chose down to start the second period but could not break free of Heil's strong ride. The Cowboy controlled the action for over :30 before Gulibon worked his way free to a 2-2 tie, but Harding had 1:39 in riding time. Gulibon upped the tempo after the escape and forced Heil into defense. Heil was able to fight off a furious Gulibon attack and the match moved to the third period tied 2-2 with Heil owning a riding time edge. Heil chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. Gulibon pressed in on offense but Heil able to counter the shot for another takedown and a 5-2 lead. With Heil owning a clinched riding time point, Gulibon reversed the Cowboy off a reset, cut his lead to 5-4 and cut him loose to a 6-4 score with 1:00 on the clock. Gulibon shot low and Heil countered once again for another takedown and an 8-4 lead with :30 on the clock. Gulibon escaped to an 8-5 score but Heil's defense was enough down the stretch for the Cowboy to post the 9-5 win.
149: Sophomore Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, took on No. 12 Anthony Collica. Retherford set a fast early tempo, forcing Collica on to his heels as he worked for scoring position. With 2:06 on the clock, Retherford shot low and quickly turned the shot into a takedown and a 2-0 lead. The Lion sophomore maintained control for :40 before Collica escaped to a 2-1 score. Collica took a high single that Retherford quickly stepped back from and the Lion pressed in on offense. Collica was able to defend his way through the first period with Retherford leading 2-1. Collica chose down to start the second period and Retherford went to work on top. Collica tried to work his way to his feet but Retherford was too strong, keeping control for the entire period. Leading 2-1 with 2:40 in riding time, Retherford chose down to start the final period. Retherford quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead and then immediately turned in to Collica, looking for an opening to score. Retherford continued to shoot and Collica's defense was able to keep the Lion from breaking through. Retherford's 2:35 in riding time gave the Lion a 4-1 win.
157: Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, faced off against Ryan Blees. Nolf connected quickly, turning a low single into a lift and a 2-1 lead off a fast takedown. The Lion freshman worked a fast tempo for the next minute, forcing Blees backwards and then working his way behind the Cowboy for a takedown and cut to lead 4-2 with 1:10 on the clock. Nolf blew through a third takedown to lead 6-3 and went back to work in the center circle. Nolf picked up a fast fourth takedown and then rode Blees out to lead 8-3 with :38 riding time after one period. Nolf chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 9-3 lead. The Lion dove low for another takedown and cut to up his lead to 11-4. He tacked on four more takedowns and a two point cradle as the period ended to lead 21-7 after two periods. Blees chose down to start the third period and Nolf cut him loose to a 21-8 lead. The Lion, knowing that at takedown would end the match, patiently waited for an opportunity to bring the home crowd to its feet. With just over :30 left to wrestle, Nolf saw an opening and quickly hit a standing cradle. Nolf adjusted one time and got the pin at the 6:32 mark.
165: Junior Geno Morelli (DuBois, Pa.) met No. 1 Alex Dieringer at 165. Morelli shot low quickly and Dieringer quickly countered, rolling the Lion to his back for a takedown and four near fall points. Morelli fought off the pin and worked to reset himself but Dieringer tied up an arm bar and controlled the action from the top. He turned Morelli for another four-point near fall and led 10-0 at the 1:23 mark before blood time stopped the action. Morelli worked his way to his feet on the reset and escaped to a 10-1 score with 1:05 on the clock. Dieringer worked a low single into another takedown and a 12-1 lead after one period. Dieringer chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 13-1 lead. Morelli shot low on the Cowboy but Dieringer stepped back, reset himself and then took Morelli down to up his lead to 15-1. He tried to turn Morelli for back points but the Lion rolled through the move and escaped to a 15-2 score. Dieringer ended the match with a final takedown to post the 17-2 technical fall at the 4:36 mark.
174: Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 174, battled Heston Lamons. Nickal set a fast tempo from the start, working a scrambling low single into a takedown and a 2-0 lead with 2:29 on the clock. Nickal then worked his way into a near fall, taking a 6-0 with a four point turn at the midway point of the first period. Nickal cut Lamons loose to a 6-1 score and then countered a diving Lamons shot for a takedown and an 8-1 lead. He added four more near fall points before the period ended to lead 12-1 with 1:48 in riding time after one period. Nickal took down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 13-1 lead. Nickal once again turned a scrambling low single into a takedown and a 15-1 lead with 1:20 on the clock. Nickal cut Lamons loose off a reset and then ended the match with a final takedown at the ;21 mark. The 17-2 tech fall came at the 4:39 mark.
184: Sophomore Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 184, met No. 13 Nolan Boyd. McCutcheon fought off a quick Boyd high single, keeping control of the Cowboy's shoulders and forcing an early stalemate. Boyd shot quickly again off the reset and this time McCutcheon countered, working a low single into a takedown and a 2-1 lead after a quick Boyd escape. McCutcheon countered another Boyd shot, nearly picking up a quick takedown. Boyd forced a scramble that lasted to the :57 mark before a stalemate halted the action. Boyd shot in on McCutcheon again and this time grabbed the inside of his knee brace, getting called for an illegal hold and forcing an extended injury time as McCutcheon's previous injury was aggravated. Oklahoma State called for a review of the illegal hold but the ruling was confirmed and McCutcheon led 3-1 at the :36 mark. McCutcheon got hit for stalling at the :08 mark but led 3-1 after one. Boyd chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. Boyd shot low, forcing a scramble and once again McCutcheon was injured. This time, the Lion was unable to continue and Boyd got the injury default win at the 3:38 mark.
197: Senior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), ranked No. 1 at 197, took on Andrew Marsden. McIntosh quickly took the Cowboy down and briefly locked up a cradle, nearly getting the fast pin. The Lion senior reset himself and turned Marsden for four near fall points and a 6-0 lead. McIntosh continued to control the action from the top position until Marsden escaped. McIntosh, however, was undaunted, taking the Cowboy down and then quickly locking up a cradle and getting a pin at the 2:59 mark.
285: With red-shirt freshman Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 16 at 285, sent to the U.S. Collegiate Championships at Air Force to get multiple matches under his belt, true freshman Jan Johnson (Mohnton, Pa.) stepped up at 285 and met No. 5 Austin Marsden. Marsden opened up an early 2-0 lead with a takedown on the edge of the mat. The fifth-ranked Cowboy then controlled the action from the top position, building up 1:30 in time before Johnson escaped to a 2-1 score. The Lion freshman worked in for a shot but Marsden quickly countered and took Johnson down to lead 4-1. He added a four-point near fall to carry an 8-1 lead with 2:20 in riding time into the second period. Marsden chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 9-1 lead. Johnson connected on a low single at the 1:34 mark and nearly took Marsden to the mat but the Cowboy senior was able to work his way out of trouble, notching a counter takedown to lead 11-1. Johnson rolled through a scramble on the edge of the mat to notch a reversal at the :12 mark, cutting Marsden's lead to 11-3. Marsden was able to escape and carried a 12-3 lead into the third period. Johnson chose neutral to start the third period and thrilled the standing room only crowd with a takedown on the edge of the mat to cut Marsden's lead to 12-5. He cut Marsden loose to a 13-5 score and continued looking for another takedown. Johnson shot low once more and Marsden was able to counter the move for a takedown and a 15-5 lead. Johnson escaped to a 15-6 score and Marsden finished with one more takedown to win 18-6 with 3:20 in riding time.