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WR: Zain, Mark and Bo B1G Champs!

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March 4, 2018

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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (14-0, 9-0 B1G) crowned three champions at the 2018 Big Ten Championship tournament in East Lansing, Mich. Penn State also moved nine wrestlers through to the 2018 NCAA Championships in two weeks. Head coach Cael Sanderson and his squad will be gunning for their seventh NCAA title in the last eight years. Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) was named the 2018 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year as well.

Penn State's nine qualifiers include defending NCAA Champion Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), who went 2-0 at 157 with a pin and a major in session one Saturday. Penn State opted to medically forfeit Nolf out of the tournament after getting the two wins and the automatic bid to NCAAs. The Nittany Lions finished in second place at the Big Ten tournament, just behind Ohio State. Penn State will be looking to duplicate its NCAA title performance from a year ago when it followed up a runner-up showing in the Big Ten tourney with a national championship run in St. Louis.

Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 nationally at 149, took on No. 2 Brandon Sorensen of Iowa in Penn State's first Big Ten finals bout of the day. The duo battled evenly for the two minutes plus with neither wrestler finding a way to score. The first period ended in a scoreless tie and Sorensen chose down to start the second period. Retherford controlled the action from the top position for the entire period and carried 2:00 in riding time into the third, with the bout tied 0-0. Retherford chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 1-0 lead while retaining 1:36 in riding time. Retherford got in on a high single at the :40 mark but could not finish off the move and the clock ticked below :30 with the Lion leading by one. Retherford worked down the clock and walked away with his third Big Ten title thanks to a 2-0 win (with 1:36 in riding time).

Retherford also set a new Penn State record for consecutive wins at 89, breaking the old mark of 88 held by former Lion national champion and current Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy. Retherford went 3-0 with two majors and heads to Cleveland with a perfect 26-0 record. Retherford also has 121 career wins, which is 10th all-time at Penn State. His Big Ten Wrestler of the Year honor is his second, having won the honor in 2016.

Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 3 at 165, met No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the finals in a rematch of last year's NCAA title tilt (won by Joseph). The duo met in the middle of the mat and Joseph immediately took a finger to the eye. After a quick break, action stayed neutral with each wrestler working for top control deep into the opening period. The duo finished the opening period tied at 0-0. Joseph chose down to start the second period but could not break free of a strong Martinez Ride until the :40 mark. He led 1-0, but Martinez had 1:20 in riding time. Trailing 1-0 but owning a time edge, Martinez chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie while maintain his time advantage. Joseph scrambled for a late takedown, changing levels over the final :30 and getting in deep on a single. Martinez scrambled underneath and forced a stalemate at the :20 mark. The Lion continued to shoot low and as the bout ended, Martinez added in a late counter takedown on a Joseph shot to secure the 4-1 win. Joseph places second at 165 with a 3-1 mark, including a pin and a major.

Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, took on No. 6 Myles Amine of Michigan in the title bout at 174. Hall fought off an early push from Amine, working his way out of trouble on a couple early shots and keeping the bout tied 0-0 midway through the period. The duo worked on their feet in the middle of the mat for the remainder of the period. Hall chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. He took a couple slight shots as the second period clock worked below :30 and then carried the 1-0 lead into the third stanza. Amine chose down to start the third period and quickly reversed the Lion to take a 2-1 lead at the 1:42 mark. Hall quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie and action resumed in the middle of the mat. Hall turned a fast low single into a takedown right away and led 4-3 after an Amine escape at the :51 mark. Hall fought off a late Amine shot and walked away with a 4-3 victory and his first Big Ten title. Hall went 4-0 with two pins in his run and heads to NCAAs with a perfect 28-0 record.

Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 184, met No. 2 Myles Martin of Ohio State in the title bout. The due battled evenly for the first minute until Nickal worked his way in on a low single and finished off a scrambling takedown to lead early. Martin escaped to a 2-1 score and Nickal had :48 in riding time. Nickal led 2-1 after one and Martin chose down to start the second period. The Lion junior maintained control for :20 and the bout was tied 2-2, with Nickal having 1:08 in time. The Lion continued to pressure Martin and turned another low single into a takedown and a 4-2 lead with 1:00 left. Nickal rode Martin out and led 4-2 with 2:13 in time after two. The Lion chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Martin took Nickal down to cut the lead to 5-4 at the :55 mark but Nickal had the riding time point clinched. Martin cut Nickal loose to a 6-4 Nickal lead. Nickal fought off a late Martin flurry and, with 1:42 in riding time, walked away with a strong 7-4 win. Nickal went 3-0 with a pin to claim his second Big Ten title and heads to Cleveland with a perfect 26-0 record.

Junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 5 at 197, took on No. 3 Kollin Moore of Ohio State in the finals. Rasheed shot quickly, countering a slight Moore effort and seemingly took the Buckeye down. The takedown was not called but Penn State quickly challenged. The no call stood however and action resumed tied 0-0 just ten seconds into the bout. Moore worked Rasheed down for a takedown and the Lion quickly escaped to a 2-1 score at the 2:05 mark. Rasheed got in on a late shot but the clock hit zeroes and Rasheed trailed 2-1 after one. He chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Moore notched a second takedown and led 4-3 at the 1:33 mark. Leading 4-3, Moore chose neutral to start the final period. Moore bulled his way through a third takedown and led 6-4 at the 1:30 mark. Moore added a fourth takedown and posted the 8-4 win. Rasheed finishes second at his first Big Ten tournament with a 3-1 record, including a major.

True freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 8 nationally at 141, met Iowa's Vince Turk in the consolation semifinals. Lee led 5-3 after a lively first period and then rode Turk out for the second period to carry that lead, with 2:36 in time, into the third period. The Lion freshman tacked on two more points and 2:17 in riding time to roll to an 8-3 win. Lee met No. 15 Nate Limmex of Purdue in the third place bout. Lee opened up an early 6-2 lead with two takedowns and two back points in the first period. The Lion freshman poured on the offense for the rest of the period and walked away with a 15-5 major with 3:05 in riding time. Lee went 4-1 with three majors, placed third and will head to his first NCAA Championship in two weeks.

Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 4 at 285, met No. 7 Youssif Hemida of Maryland in the consolation semifinals. Nevills battled Hemida through a scoreless first period and then opened up a quick 3-0 lead in the second with an escape and a takedown. He rode that second period flurry into the third period, added another takedown and 1:16 in riding time to roll to a 6-1 win. Nevills then met No. 5 Sam Stoll of Iowa for third place. After a scoreless first period, Nevills chose down to start the second and escaped to a 1-0 lead. Stoll chose down to start the final stanza and Nevills made him pay by turning him for four back points to open up a 5-1 lead after Stoll escaped. Nevills gave up one stall point but walked away with a strong 5-2 win to place third. Nevills went 4-1 with a major to take third place.

Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), ranked No. 20 at 133, met No. 21 Ben Thornton of Purdue in the seventh place bout at 133. With the winner earning the Big Ten's final automatic bid at the weight, Keener opened up an early 4-1 lead with two solid takedowns in the first period. The senior built up over a minute's riding time and added a third takedown to lead 6-2 after two and then added two more takedowns and 3:00 riding time to post a 11-3 major, take seventh, and punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships. Keener went 2-2 with a pin and a major this weekend.

Senior Carson Kuhn (Sandy, Utah) continued on in the ninth-place bracket at 125, seeking one of the Big Ten's ten automatic bids to nationals. Kuhn, the 14th seed, took on No. 13 Drew Mattin of Michigan in a bout that would send the winner off to Cleveland and the National Championship. Kuhn led 2-1 after the opening period but Mattin rode him out in the second and was then given a reversal by the officials after a lengthy review. Kuhn dropped a hard-fought 6-4 decision. He took on Wisconsin's Johnny Jimenez for 11th place and ended his tournament with a dazzling pin at the 2:21 mark, rolling Jimenez to his back with a spladle and getting the first period fall for his third win of the weekend. Kuhn went 3-3 with a major and a pin and took 11th place as the 14-seed at 125.

Penn State went 9-3 overall in session three/four. Penn State ended the tournament with a 31-9 overall record. The Nittany Lions stacked up 23 bonus points off 11 majors and six pins (Kuhn's pin in the 11th place bout did not count in team points). All rankings listed are official NCAA coaches ranking as of 2/22/18. Penn State had three champions (Retherford, Hall, Nickal), two runners-up (Joseph, Rasheed), two third placers (Lee, Nevills), one sixth place (Nolf) and one seventh place finisher (Keener).

Nine Lions (Keener, Lee, Retherford, Nolf, Joseph, Hall, Nickal, Rasheed and Nevills) qualified for nationals on March 15-17 in Cleveland. The three day event takes place in Quicken Loans Arena and begins on Thursday, March 15, at 12 p.m. Penn State heads to Cleveland with a perfect dual meet season (14-0, 9-0 Big Ten) in hand, owners of the Big Ten Regular Season (dual meet) championship. The Nittany Lions have won six of the last seven NCAA Championships and will be looking to make it seven of eight in Quicken Loans Arena. Penn State will bring five returning NCAA Champions (Retherford, Nolf, Joseph, Hall, Nickal) with it amidst its nine qualifiers.

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 Big Ten Championships -- Team Standings (top five) FINAL:
March 4, 2018 -- Breslin Center -- East Lansing, Mich.

1: Ohio State -- 164.5
2: Penn State -- 148.0
3: Michigan -- 118.0
4: Iowa -- 90.5
5: Nebraska -- 72.5

Weight-by-weight agate (rankings listed are Coaches Poll as of 2/22/18)

125: Carson Kuhn, Sr. -- #14 seed -- 11th place

Rd. 1: #4 Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State -- L, 6-21 (TF; 5:51)
Cn. 1: Mitch Maginnis, Nebraska -- W, 12-3 maj. dec.
Cn. 2: #9 Sebastian Rivera, Northwestern -- L, 3-13 maj. dec.
Placer 1: Mitch Maginnis, Nebraska -- W, 7-2 dec.
Placer 2: #12 Drew Mattin, Michigan -- L, 4-6 dec.
11th Place: Johnny Jimenez, Wisconsin -- WBF (2:21)

Senior Carson Kuhn opened up his 2018 Big Ten Championship tournament against No. 4 Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State, the third seed. Kuhn, the 14th seed, fell behind early to the defending Big Ten champion and dropped a 21-6 technical fall (5:51). He dropped down to the consolation bracket where he met Nebraska's Mitch Maginnis. Kuhn posted a convincing 12-3 major over the Husker to stay alive in the tournament.

In session two, Kuhn got Penn State started in consolation action. Kuhn met No. 9 Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern in consolation round two, the No. 4 seed. Kuhn dropped a tough 13-3 major after a 1-2 showing in the tournament. Since the Big Ten qualifies 10 wrestlers for NCAAs at 125, the loss moved Kuhn out of the team tournament and into a six-man mini tournament for ninth and tenth place. While the matches count as wins and losses, the results of the six-man mini-tournament do not count in team scoring. Kuhn took on Nebraska's Mitch Maginnis again in his first bout in the mini-bracket and dominated the Husker again, winning 7-2.

For today's information, see recap above.

133: Corey Keener, Sr. -- #6 seed -- 7th Place

Rd. 1: bye
Qtrs: #12 Mitch McKee, Minnesota -- L, 4-9 dec.
Cn. 2: Jens Lantz, Wisconsin -- WBF (3:42)
Cn. #25 Dylan Duncan, Illinois -- L, 0-12 maj. dec.
7th Place: #21 Ben Thornton, Purdue -- W, 11-3 maj. dec.

Senior Corey Keener, the sixth seed, received a bye in the first round of his first Big Ten Championship tournament. He took on third seed, No. 12 Mitch McKee of Minnesota in the quarterfinals. The Lion senior gave up a six point second period move from the third seed and dropped a tough 9-4 decision.

In session two, Keener took on Wisconsin's Jens Lantz in the second round of consolation action and, after a scoreless first period, locked up Lantz's shoulders and turned him to his back for a fall at the 3:42 mark. Keener then met No. 25 Dylan Duncan of Illinois in the next round of consolations. The senior dropped a 12-0 major to Duncan.

For today's information, see recap above.

141: Nick Lee, Fr. -- #2 seed -- 3rd Place

Rd. 1: Mike Van Brill, Rutgers -- W, 12-2 maj. dec.
Qtrs: #16 Cole Weaver, Indiana -- W, 13-3 maj. dec.
Semis: #14 Michael Carr, Illinois -- L, 6-10 dec.
Cn Semis: Vince Turk, Iowa -- W, 8-3 dec.
3rd Place: #15 Nate Limmex, Purdue -- W, 15-5 maj. dec.

True freshman Nick Lee, the second seed, made his Big Ten Championship debut against Rutgers' Mike Van Brill. Lee dominated the match from start to finish, rolling to a 12-2 major with 2:58 in riding time to pick up a bonus point in his first Big Ten tourney bout. Lee then met No. 16 Cole Weaver of Indiana in the quarterfinals. Lee took care of Weaver in equally impressive fashion, rolling to a 13-3 major with over 1:30 in riding time.

In session two's semifinals, Lee faced No. 14 Michael Carr of Illinois as Penn State's first semifinalist of the night. Lee notched the bout's first takedown but Duncan came back strong and upset Lee 10-6.

For today's information, see recap above.

149: Zain Retherford, Sr. -- #1 seed -- Champion

Rd. 1: bye
Qtrs: #21 Steve Bleise, Minnesota -- W, 14-1 maj. dec.
Semis: #6 Ke-Shawn Hayes, Ohio State -- W, 10-0 maj. dec.
Finals: #2 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa -- W, 2-0 dec.

Senior Zain Retherford, the top seed at 149, received a first round bye in his final Big Ten Championship. He took on No. 21 Steve Bleise of Minnesota in the quarterfinals. Retherford dominated Bleise throughout the bout, accumulating 4:28 in riding time on his way to a 14-1 major decision.

In the semifinals, Retherford battled No. 6 Ke-Shawn Hayes of Ohio State in his semifinal bout. Retherford rolled over Hayes once more. He tallied the bout's only takedowns and controlled Hayes from the top position as well and finished with a 10-0 major decision.

For Session 2's action, see recap above.

157: Jason Nolf, Jr. -- #2 seed / precautionary medical forfeit / 6th place with a 2-0 mark

Rd. 1: Jake Tucker, Michigan State -- WBF (2:33)
Qtrs: #20 Jake Short, Minnesota -- W, 15-2 maj. dec.
Semis: Did not compete, medical forfeit -- NOT A LOSS

Junior Jason Nolf, the second seed at 157, took on Jake Tucker of Michigan State in the first round of the 2018 Big Ten Championships. Nolf, out of action since late January, was steady early in the first period, notched two takedowns. The Lion locked up a cradle after the second one and picked up the first period pin at the 2:33 mark. He then took on No. 20 Jake Short in the quarterfinals and dominated the Gopher, rolling to a 15-2 major.

The Nittany Lions opted to medically forfeit Nolf out of the tournament after his strong 2-0 start. Nolf does not receive a loss for the medical forfeit and goes 2-0 with a pin and a major in his first action since late January. Nolf places sixth, is an automatic qualifier for NCAAs and heads to Cleveland with a 19-1 overall record.

165: Vincenzo Joseph, So. -- #3 seed -- 2nd

Rd. 1: Mike Sepke, Northwestern -- WBF (3:39)
Qtrs: #11 Nick Wanzek, Minnesota -- W, 18-10 maj. dec.
Semis: #7 Logan Massa, Michigan -- W, 5-4 dec.
Finals: #1 Isaiah Martinez, Illinois -- L, 1-4 dec.

Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph, the third seed at 165, took on Northwestern's Mike Sepke in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. Joseph opened up an early 6-2 lead after one period and then ended the bout with a second period pin, getting the fall at the 3:39 mark to move into the quarterfinals. Joseph met No. 11 Nick Wanzek of Minnesota in the quarters and won a wild 18-10 major decision.

In the semifinal round, Joseph took on No. 7 Logan Massa of Michigan in the semifinals. Joseph notched an early takedown and led 4-2 into the third period. Mass was awarded a reviewed takedown on the edge of the mat to briefly tie the bout, but Joseph escaped to a 5-4 win that held firm.

For today's action, see recap above.

174: Mark Hall, So. -- #1 seed -- Champion

Rd. 1: Logan Ritchie, Michigan State -- WBF (5:33)
Qtrs: Ryan Christensen, Wisconsin -- WBF (0:47)
Semis: #17 Johnny Sebastian, Northwestern -- W, 4-1 dec.
Finals: #6 Myles Amine, Michigan -- W, 4-3 dec.

Sophomore Mark Hall, the top seed at 174, met Michigan State's Logan Ritchie in the opening round of the 2018 Big Ten Championship. Hall opened up an early 6-1 lead and had over 4:00 in riding time after two periods. He finished off the match in the third period with a fall at the 5:33 mark for the win. Hall met Wisconsin's Ryan Christensen in the quarterfinals. Hall made short work of the Badger, turning a first period takedown into a quick pin at the 0:47 mark.

In session two's semifinals, Hall met No. 17 Johnny Sebastian of Northwestern in the semifinals. Hall used a first period takedown to lead 2-0 after one period and added an escape and a penalty point on his way to a 4-1 victory.

For today's action, see recap above.

184: Bo Nickal, Jr. -- #1 seed -- Champion

Rd. 1: bye
Qtrs: Brandon Krone, Minnesota -- WBF (1:25)
Semis: #7 Emery Parker, Illinois -- W, 5-2 dec.
Finals: #2 Myles Martin, Ohio State -- W, 7-4

Junior Bo Nickal, the top seed at 184, received a first round bye to start his 2018 Big Ten tournament run. He took on Minnesota's Brandon Krone in the quarterfinals for his first bout of the tournament. Nickal wasted no time in ending the bout, moving from a standing position to a cradle midway through the opening period for a fall at the 1:25 mark.

In the semifinals, Nickal took on No. 7 Emery Parker of Illinois in the semifinals. Nickal scored early and nearly picked up back points in an early scramble but Parker fought off the near fall and Nickal settled for two. The Lion senior was steady for the remainder of the bout and posted a strong 5-2 win.

For today's action, see recap above.

197: Shakur Rasheed, Jr. -- #2 seed -- 2nd Place

Rd. 1: Jake Kleimola, Indiana -- W, 8-4 dec.
Qtrs: Zack Chakonis, Northwestern -- W, 11-8 dec.
Semis: #24 Christian Brunner, Purdue -- W, 10-2 maj. dec.
Finals: #3 Kollin Moore, Ohio State -- L, 4-8 dec.

Junior Shakur Rasheed, the second seed at 197, met Indiana's Jake Kleimola in his Big Ten Championship debut. The Lion junior battled Kleimola for the full seven minutes, overcoming an early first period deficit to roll to an 8-4 win with nearly 4:00 of riding time. Rasheed then took on Northwestern's Zack Chakonis in the quarterfinals. He controlled his quarterfinal bout, survived a wild scramble in the second period and posted an 11-8 victory.

Hitting the semifinals in his first trip to the tournament, Rasheed faced off against No. 24 Christian Brunner of Purdue in his semifinal bout. Rasheed dominated the bout early, opening up an 8-1 lead in the opening periods. The Lion junior added a third period reversal and rolled to a 10-2 major decision.

For today's action, see recap above.

285: Nick Nevills, Jr. -- #3 seed -- 3rd Place

Rd. 1: Deuce Rachal, Illinois -- W, 11-3 maj. dec.
Qtrs: #19 Conan Jennings, Northwestern -- W, 5-0 dec.
Semis: #2 Kyle Snyder, Ohio State -- L, 5-14 maj. dec.
Cn Semis: #7 Youssif Hemida, Maryland -- W, 6-1 dec.
3rd Place: #5 Sam Stoll, Iowa -- W, 5-2 dec.

Junior Nick Nevills, the third seed at 285, battled Illinois' Deuce Rachal in the opening round of the Big Ten Championships. Nevills rolled through the Illini, dominating Rachal on his way to an 11-3 major decision with 2:49 in riding time. Nevills took on No. 19 Conan Jennings in the quarterfinals and shut the Wildcat out, rolling to a 5-0 decision with 3:46 in riding time.

In the semifinals, Nevills battled No. 2 Kyle Snyder in the semifinals. Nevills battled Snyder tough early but the defending national champion moved out to a decisive lead and posted a 14-5 major decision.

For today's action, see recap above.




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