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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (15-0, 9-0 B1G) has been selected as the host site for the 2016 NWCA Dual Meet Championship Series title event. No. 1 Penn State will host No. 2 Oklahoma State (*12-2) on Sunday, February 21; at 5 p.m. in Rec Hall (rankings listed are InterMat TPI as of 2/16/16). The event, which is already sold out, will air live on the Big Ten Network. *Oklahoma State hosts North Carolina on Friday, 2/19, post-press.
The Penn State/Oklahoma State match-up pits the nation’s top-ranked Big Ten team against the nation’s top-ranked non-Big Ten squad (based on NWCA Coaches Poll, released 2/15), and the winner of the dual meet will be declared the 2016 NWCA Dual Meet Champion. The Series, in its first season in this new iteration, features eight dual meets across the country. The full 2016 NWCA National Duals Championship Series is as follows: Oklahoma State at Penn State (for the 2016 NWCA National Dual Championship), Iowa State at Minnesota, Lehigh at Rutgers, Appalachian State at Indiana, Missouri at Nebraska, Virginia Tech at Michigan, Edinboro at Ohio State and North Carolina State at Iowa.
“We are excited to be a part of the first NWCA National Dual Championship series,” said Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson. “It is an honor and a great opportunity for us. We are looking forward to Sunday’s dual.”
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 2-0 weekend that saw them win at No. 14 Lehigh (28-9) on Friday night and turn around and win a home dual over Michigan State (41-3) on Saturday night. The MSU victory gave Penn State a perfect 9-0 mark in Big Ten dual meets and earned it a share of the 2016 Big Ten Regular Season title (with Iowa, also 9-0). The Nittany Lions are 15-0 overall.
Penn State features a young and balanced line-up that features five returning All-Americans and nine ranked individuals. Senior All-American Nico Megaludis is 23-2 and No. 4 at 125, senior All-American Jordan Conaway is 21-3 and No. 5 at 133, junior All-American Jimmy Gulibon is 10-7 at 141, sophomore All-American Zain Retherford is 24-0 and No. 1 at 149 and senior All-American Morgan McIntosh is 23-0 and No. 1 at 197. Joining Retherford and McIntosh with No. 1 rankings are red-shirt freshmen Jason Nolf (25-0 and No. 1 at 157) and Bo Nickal (25-1 and No. 1 at 174). Sophomore Matt McCutcheon is 14-3 and No. 6 at 184, red-shirt freshman Nick Nevills is 1-1 and No. 16 at 285 and red-shirt freshman Shakur Rasheed is 15-6 and No. 17 at 174. Penn State has a potential starting line-up featuring six underclassmen (four red-shirt freshmen and two sophomores).
Oklahoma State will bring a 12-2 record into the event. The Cowboys feature a talented line-up as well. Senior Eddie Klimara is 24-3 and No. 6 at 125, sophomore Dean Heil is 23-0 and No. 1 at 141, junior Anthony Collica is 24-6 and No. 12 at 149, true freshman Joe Smith is 27-3 and No. 8 at 157, senior Alex Dieringer is 23-0 and No. 1 at 165, junior Nolan Boyd is 23-6 and No. 13 at 184 and senior Austin Marsden is 22-1 and No. 5 at 285. Junior Kyle Crutchmer is ranked No. 8 at 174 but has been out of the Cowboy line-up.
Sunday’s title tilt will be the 21st meeting between the two national powers. The Cowboys own a 13-6-1 lead in the all-time series, including a close 21-18 win in Stillwater last February (2/15/15). Penn State won the last meeting in Rec Hall, a 23-12 win on 2/16/14. The Nittany Lions and Cowboys both competed in this year’s Southern Scuffle, with Penn State winning its sixth straight Scuffle crown with 183.0 points and OSU second with 158.0
The Nittany Lions will take part in the 2016 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on March 5-6 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Action on Saturday, March 5, begins with at 11 a.m. Eastern, with a 7 p.m. Eastern session to follow. Sunday, March 6th’s session begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The NWCA Dual Meet Championship Series match-up is sold out. 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 NITTANY LIONS (15-0, 9-0 B1G)WT NAME EL HT/HS REC
125 #4 Nico Megaludis Sr. Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional 23-2
133 #5 Jordan Conaway Sr. Abbottstown, Pa./New Oxford 21-3
141 Jimmy Gulibon Jr. Latrobe, Pa./Derry 10-7
Kade Moss So. South Jordan, Utah/Bingham 15-6
149 #1 Zain Retherford So. Benton, Pa./Benton 24-0
157 #1 Jason Nolf Fr. Yatesboro, Pa./Kittanning 25-0
165 #17 Shakur Rasheed Fr. Coram, N.Y./Longwood 15-6
Geno Morelli Jr. DuBois, Pa./DuBois 17-6
174 #1 Bo Nickal Fr. Allen, Texas/Allen 25-1
184 #6 Matt McCutcheon So. Apollo, Pa./Kiski Area 14-3
197 #1 Morgan McIntosh Sr. Santa Ana, Calif./Calvary Chapel 23-0
285 #16 Nick Nevills Fr. Clovis, Calif./Clovis 1-1
Jan Johnson Fr. Mohnton, Pa./Governor Mifflin 1-8
#2 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (*12-2)WT NAME EL HT REC
125 #6 Eddie Klimara Sr. Joliet, Ill. 24-3
133 Gary Wayne Harding So. Collinsville, Okla. 11-8
141 #1 Dean Heil So. Brunswick, Ohio 23-0
149 #12 Anthony Collica Jr. Solon, Ohio 24-6
157 #8 Joe Smith Fr. Stillwater, Okla. 27-3
OR Ryan Blees Fr. Bismark, N.D. 12-5
165 #1 Alex Dieringer Sr. Port Washington, Wis. 23-0
174 Chandler Rogers Fr. Stillwater, Okla. 23-6
184 #13 Nolan Boyd Jr. Edmond, Okla. 23-6
197 Preston Weigel Fr. Russell, Kan. 14-8
OR Andrew Marsden Fr. Crystal Lake, Ill. 16-7
285 #5 Austin Marsden Sr. Crystal Lake, Ill. 22-1
* Oklahoma State hosts North Carolina on Friday, 2/19, post-press.
Team ranking is InterMat Tournament Power Index (TPI) as of 2/16/16
All Individual Rankings are InterMat as of 2/16/16
THIS WEEKNo. 1 Penn State (15-0, 9-0 B1G) will host No. 2 Oklahoma State (*12-2) in the NWCA Dual Meet Championship match-up. The dual, which will crown the NWCA’s 2016 National Dual Meet Champion, is set for 5 p.m. in Rec Hall and will air live on the Big Ten Network. *Oklahoma State hosts North Carolina on 2/19, post-press.
UP NEXTThe Nittany Lions will take part in the 2016 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on March 5-6 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Action on Saturday, March 5, begins with at 11 a.m. Eastern, with a 7 p.m. Eastern session to follow. Sunday’s session begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.
ON THE AIRTV - Big Ten Network
Live Web Video - http://www.btn2go.com ($)
Radio All Season - Penn State Wrestling Radio Network (1390 WRSC AM locally); go to http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-wrestl/spec-rel/110915aad.html for full listing. All audio is streamed live thru GoPSUsports and College Sports Live (CBS). All live streaming of Penn State audio is free this year.
HEAD COACH Cael Sanderson
Cael Sanderson is now in his seventh season as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team. The veteran head coach already has four NCAA and four Big Ten titles in hand. He has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times and was named the 2013 National Coach of the Year (his second such honor).
THE PENN STATE YEARS...
In his first year at Penn State (2009-10), he guided the Lions to a 13-6-1 dual meet mark, 5-3 in Big Ten action, and crowned his first Big Ten Champion. The Lions finished No. 10 in the final USA Today/Coaches dual meet poll and placed ninth at NCAAs.
In 2010-11, Sanderson guided the Nittany Lions to its first-ever Southern Scuffle Co-Championship and its first Virginia Duals Championship since 1991. In guiding Penn State to a 6-1-1 conference mark, Sanderson equaled the most Big Ten dual meet wins in Penn State history in just his second year at the helm of the Nittany Lions (Penn State won six Big Ten duals in 1998). Sanderson led Penn State to the school’s first ever Big Ten Championship on March 5-6 and was named 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Saving the best for last, he led the Nittany Lions to the 2011 NCAA National Championship in Philadelphia on March 17-19, Penn State’s first since 1953 and Sanderson’s first as a collegiate head coach.
In 2011-12, Sanderson led Penn State to a school record 7-1 Big Ten dual record and a share of the 2012 Big Ten dual meet championship. Sanderson then made it two in a row by leading Penn State to the 2012 Big Ten Championship at Purdue on March 3-4 and was named 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, earning the honor for the second straight season. Two weeks later, Sanderson led Penn State to a second straight NCAA crown, helping Penn State to become just the sixth team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles.
In 2012-13, Penn State went 13-1 overall in dual meets this year and won its third straight Southern Scuffle title in early January. The Nittany Lions followed that up with a third straight Big Ten Championship on March 9-10 at Illinois and a third straight NCAA National Title in Des Moines on March 21-23. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third straight season (sharing this year’s honor as a co-CotY) and 2013 National Coach of the Year (the second time he has earned that honor).
In 2013-14, Sanderson led Penn State to a 15-1 overall record, yet another share of the Big Ten dual meet title with a 7-1 mark, a fourth straight Southern Scuffle title, a fourth straight Big Ten title and a fourth straight NCAA Championship. He was once again named Big Ten Coach of the Year, the third time he has been so honored.
In 2014-15, Sanderson led Penn State to an 11-4 dual meet record, a fifth straight Southern Scuffle title and garnered five All-Americans and another National Champion at the NCAA Championships. Sanderson has now coached 80 NCAA qualifiers, 46 All-Americans and 11 NCAA Champions.
In only six seasons as Penn State’s coach (heading into this, his seventh season), Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to six straight Southern Scuffle titles, three B1G dual meet titles (co-), four Big Ten Championships, four NCAA Championships, collected 31 All-Americans, eight National Champions, three Gorriaran winners, two NCAA tourney Outstanding Wrestlers, one CoSIDA Academic All-American of he Year, one NCAA Top 10 Award winner and two Hodge Trophy winners. Sanderson, who has coached 46 total All-Americans and 11 total National Champions (including his three years at Iowa State) heads into the 2015-16 season with a 126-24-2 dual meet mark, 82-14-2 at Penn State.
This year, he has already added a sixth straight Southern Scuffle championships and a third Big Ten dual meet title (co-).
LIONS GRAB SHARE OF 2016 B1G REGULAR SEASON TITLE
Penn State dominated Big Ten foe Michigan State on Saturday, 2/13/16, rolling to a 41-3 win in sold out Rec Hall. The win allowed the Nittany Lions to close out the Big Ten dual meet schedule with a perfect 9-0 mark and grab a share of the 2016 Big Ten Regular Season Championship. The Lions, who shared the title with Iowa, have won or shared the B1G Regular Season crown three times (‘11-12, ‘13-14, ‘15-16).
NITTANY LIONS POST RECORD B1G DUAL MEET SEASON
Penn State’s 41-3 win over Michigan State gives this year’s team the all-time best Big Ten dual meet record in school history. The 2015-16 Penn State squad went 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.
NEVILLS MAKES COLLEGIATE DEBUT, GETS FIRST WIN
Red-shirt freshman Nick Nevills made his collegiate debut on consecutive evenings on 2/12 and 2/13. Nevills wrestled in the Blue and White for the first time in a dual meet victory at Lehigh on 2/12 and dropped a hard-fought 5-4 decision to No. 17 Max Wessell on an illegal hold call that made the difference in the bout. He rebounded quickly, however, rolling to a 5-2 win in over Michigan State’s Dimitrus Renfroe in his Rec Hall debut on 2/13, picking up his first win as a Nittany Lion.
Geno Morelli PICKS UP FIRST DUAL WIN AS A LION
Junior Geno Morelli picked up his first dual meet win as a Nittany Lion in Penn State’s 41-3 victory over Michigan State in sold out Rec Hall on 2/13. Morelli controlled the action from start to finish at 165 and posted a strong 8-2 win over MSU’s Dean Vettese. Morelli had 17 dual wins during his two seasons a starter at Pittsburgh.
NOLF’S QUICK WORK WEEKEND
Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf record two first period pins in a 24-hour span, upping his team-leading season total to 12 as of 2/13. Nolf pinned Lehigh’s Ian Brown at the 1:22 mark on 2/12 at Lehigh and then, just one night later, pinned Michigan State’s Mark Bozzo at the 2:02 mark.
McINTOSH TECH’S #17 BOLICH TO LEAD LIONS OVER LEHIGH
Senior Morgan McIntosh put on a nearfall clinic at Lehigh on 2/12, turning #17 John Bolich three times for four-point nearfalls in under two periods to shut out the ranked Mountain Hawk 16-0. The tech fall came at the 4:17 mark and helped lead Penn State to a dominating 28-9 win in Bethlehem in front of nearly 6,000 fans in Stabler Arena (the crowd of 5,909 set a new Lehigh record for attendance at a dual meet).
CONAWAY, NOLF, NICKAL AND McCUTCHEON GET RANKED WINS IN 24-14 VICTORY OVER OHIO STATE
Penn State took care of visiting Ohio State on 2/5 in front of nearly 16,000 fans in a sold out Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions got six big wins, including four victories over ranked Buckeyes. Jordan Conaway handled #10 Johnni DiJulius 8-4 at 133, Jason Nolf dominated #11 Jake Ryan 19-6 at 157, Bo Nickal handled #14 Myles Martin 11-5 at 174 and Matt McCutcheon shut out #13 Kenny Courts 4-0 at 184. Penn State also got a pin from Zain Retherford at 149 and a tech fall from Morgan McIntosh at 197.
PENN STATE FANS CONTINUES TO PACK REC HALL AND THE BRYCE JORDAN CENTER
Penn State handled visiting Ohio State 24-14 on 2/5/16 in a sold out Bryce Jordan Center. The announced crowd of 15,983 at that event was the second largest crowd in Penn State history (15,996 vs. Pitt on 12/8/13) and the third largest in NCAA history (behind that dual and Iowa’s 42,287 held in Kinnick Stadium this year on 12/13/15). Penn State has now wrestled in front of 31 of 32 sell-outs at home, including three of four in the BJC (and 28 straight in Rec Hall).
JOSEPH AND CORTEZ WIN MESSIAH OPEN TITLES
Seven Lions competed in two separate open tournaments Saturday, with two winning individual titles at their respective weights. Red-shirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph and red-shirt freshman Jered Cortez each won titles, both at the Messiah Open. Joseph went 4-0 with two falls, a technical fall and a major to win the 165-pound crown at Messiah. Cortez moved up to 141 and went 4-0 with two tech falls to win the championship as well. Scott Stossel went 2-1 with a major and was the runner-up at 125 and Triston Law went 3-2 with a tech to place fourth at 141. Patrick Higgins also competed at 133 at Messiah. Gary Dinmore and Domenic Giannangeli each won once at the Edinboro Open as well.
RETHERFORD AND NOLF WITH BIG RANKED WINS TO LEAD PENN STATE OVER #10 MICHIGAN
Sophomore Zain Retherford and red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf picked up big wins over ranked opponents to lead Penn State to a lop-sided 35-7 win over #10 Michigan. The dual was wrestled in front of over 6,500 fans in sold out Rec Hall. Retherford pinned #6 Alec Pantaleo at the 6:35 mark of the third period at 149 while Nolf rolled to a 22-6 technical fall (6:14) over #9 Brian Murphy at 157.
NOLF PINS #1 MARTINEZ, B1G WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf ended top-ranked Isaiah Martinez’s 54-match unbeaten streak in Penn State’s 30-15 win at Illinois on 1/23. Nolf broke open the match in the second period against the defending NCAA champion with a six point move that ended with Nolf pinning Martinez at the 4:56 mark in the second period. Nolf’s pin sparked Penn State’s victory. Nolf notched two takedowns of Martinez before recording the pin. It marked the first time in Martinez’s collegiate career that he had been beaten. Nolf was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his efforts (1/26).
NICKAL PINS #5 BRUNSON, LIONS DOWN #8 ILLINOIS
Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal pinned #5 Zac Brunson of Illinois at the 6:49 mark to help lead Penn State to a 30-15 victory in Champaign on 1/23. Nickal’s fall was one of three for the Nittany Lions (teammates Jason Nolf and Zain Retherford each had falls as well).
ZAIN’S BIG TOP FIVE WEEKEND EARNS HIM BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK LAURELS
Sophomore Zain Retherford faced two top-five ranked wrestlers on the weekend of 1/15-1/17 and dominated the competition. He majored No. 4 Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska 12-3 on 1/15 in Rec Hall and then majored No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis, a two-time All-American and the ‘14 NCAA champion, 15-5 on 1/17 at Northwestern. Retherford had five takedowns and built up 3:17 in riding time on his way to a 12-3 major over Sueflohn in Penn State’s 24-10 win over #11 Nebraska. Two days later, he dominated Tsirtsis, picking up six takedowns and amassing 3:33 in riding time to roll to a 15-5 major in Penn State’s 46-4 win at #25 Northwestern. He combined for 11 takedowns and nearly 7:00 in RT in the wins. Retherford was honored as the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his performance.
McINTOSH GRABS CAREER WIN 100 IN PENN STATE’S 46-4 WIN AT #25 NORTHWESTERN
Senior Morgan McIntosh picked up the 100th win of his career with a 17-4 major over Jacob Berkowitz on 1/17 to lead Penn State to a resounding 46-4 win at No. 25 Northwestern. McIntosh’s victory was one of nine in the lop-sided Lion win, which also included Zain Retherford’s 15-5 major over No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis at 149.
McCUTCHEON DOWNS #5 DUDLEY TO LEAD LIONS TO 24-10 WIN OVER #11 NEBRASKA
Sophomore Matt McCutcheon notched a last second takedown, one of two takedowns in a furious third period comeback, to down No. 5 TJ Dudley 8-7 at 184 to lead Penn State to a 24-10 win over Nebraska. McCutcheon’s win was one of seven matches where Penn State grapplers downed ranked opponents. Zain Retherford majored No. 5 Jake Sueflohn 12-3 at 149 and Nico Megaludis downed No. 9 Tim Lambert 8-5 at 125 as well. The dual was wrestled in front of 6,537 fans in sold out Rec Hall. Rec Hall has been the site of 26 straight shut-outs, including the Nebraska dual.
VAN CURA PICKS UP FIRST DUAL WIN AS PENN STATE HAMMERS INDIANA
Red-shirt freshman Devon Van Cura stepped up at 184 and picked up his first dual meet win as a Nittany Lion, posting a 5-3 win over Indiana’s Matt Irick in Penn State’s 34-8 win in Bloomington. Van Cura was one of eight Penn State wins as the Lions got pins from Zain Retherford and Morgan McIntosh in the victory.
RASHEED PINS #5 CHAD WELCH TO LEAD LIONS TO 42-3 ROAD WIN AT PURDUE
Wrestling his best against the best, Shakur Rasheed once again dominated a ranked opponent, pinning #5 Chad Welch of Purdue at the 1:56 mark in the first period in Penn State’s dual meet at Purdue on 1/8. Improving to 4-1 against ranked foes, Rasheed’s first period pin was the highlight of Penn State’s dominating 42-3 road win in a packed Holloway Gymnasium in West Lafayette. Penn State won the dual with four techs, two pins and major.
BRILL PICKS UP WIN IN DUAL DEBUT
Lock Haven native Brian Brill made his Penn State dual meet debut in the Nittany Lions’ 42-3 win at Purdue, wrestling at 184. The junior picked up a strong 11-7 win over Tanner Lynde as Penn State won nine of ten bouts in the dual.
Bo Nickal DOWNS #1 REALBUTO, SCUFFLE O.W./BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK (1/5)
Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal used a series of punishing turns to beat No. 1 ranked and previously unbeaten Brian Realbuto in the semifinals of the 2016 Southern Scuffle 14-7. The win was part of a 6-0 tournament for the Lion rookie, who rolled to the 174-pound title with two techs and a major. Nickal was honored as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler as Penn State won its sixth straight team title in Chattanooga. Nickal was then honored as the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the week ending January 4, his second Big Ten weekly nod of the year.
LIONS CROWN FIVE CHAMPS TO WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT SOUTHERN SCUFFLE TITLE
Penn State dominated the field at the 2016 Southern Scuffle, crowning five champions (going 5-1 in the finals) to win its sixth straight Scuffle title. Nico Megaludis went 5-0 with two majors to win at 125 (picking up his 100th career win along the way); Zain Retherford went 5-0 with three techs, a pin and a major to win at 149; Jason Nolf went 5-0 with two pins and two techs to win at 157; Bo Nickal went 6-0 with two techs and a major to win at 174 and was named the event’s OW; Morgan McIntosh went 5-0 with two pins, a tech and a major to win at 197; and Jordan Conaway went 4-1 with a major to finish as runner-up at 133. Penn State won the team title with 183.0 points, far ahead of second place Oklahoma State’s 158.0
PENN STATE WINS 2016 SCUFFLE CROWN WITH 10 PLACERS
In addition to its five champs and a runner-up, Penn State had four other place winners on its way to its sixth straight Southern Scuffle title in Chattanooga. Kade Moss went 4-3 with a pin to take eighth at 141. Zack Beitz went 6-2 with a tech and a pin to place fifth at 157. Geno Morelli went 5-2 with a tech to take fifth at 165. Garett Hammond went 5-2 with three pins and two majors to take seventh at 165.
MEGALUDIS NOTCHES CAREER WIN 100
Senior Nico Megaludis majored Oklahoma State’s Elijah Hale in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Southern Scuffle for his 100th career win. Megaludis rolled to the Scuffle title with a 5-0 mark and moved closer to Penn State’s top 20 career win list.
Shakur Rasheed PINS #15 BRENNAN TO LEAD PENN STATE TO BIG WIN AT RIDER
Red-shirt freshman pinned #15 Conor Brennan at the 4:28 mark in Penn State’s 38-4 win at Rider on 12/19. Shakur got the fall after taking a 4-3 lead in the second with a takedown, turning a double-leg into a headlock and a fall. It was the first pin of the year for Rasheed. Penn State won nine of ten bouts on its way to the lop-sided victory in front of a sold out Alumni Gymnasium crowd in Lawrenceville, N.J.
NOLF, NICKAL WIN BIG TEN DUAL DEBUTS TO LEAD LIONS OVER WISCONSIN
Red-shirt freshmen Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal each won big in their Big Ten dual meet debuts, sparking Penn State to a dominating 36-7 win over #15 Wisconsin in the first of two BJC Duals this year. Penn State downed visiting Wisconsin on Sunday, Dec. 13, in front of nearly 13,000 fans and Nolf and Nickal were each among eight victorious Nittany Lions. Nolf pinned Wisconsin’s TJ Ruschell at the 6:00 mark and Nickal posted a 16-2 major over #16 Ricky Robertson. Zain Retherford also got a pin while both Nico Megaludis and Matt McCutcheon picked up majors in the lop-sided victory. Junior Geno Morelli made his Penn State dual meet debut, nearly upsetting #3 Isaac Jordan before a last-second take down led to a 5-4 loss. Red-shirt freshman Devon Van Cura also made his PSU dual meet debut, losing up a weight at 285 to Badger Brock Horwath.
SEVEN LIONS WIN NITTANY LION OPEN TITLES
Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad crowned seven champions at the event, which featured over 300 wrestlers. Senior Nico Megaludis, ranked No. 4 at 125, notched Penn State’s first individual title of the day, posting a 15-5 major over Virginia’s Joseph Martinez. Megaludis went 5-0 with three pins, a technical fall and a major on the day. Red-shirt freshman Jered Cortez used a reversal in the tie-breaker to notch a thrilling 5-4 (tb) win over teammate Jordan Conaway in the finals at 133. Cortez took the crown with a 4-0 record, including a fall. Conaway, ranked No. 8 nationally, took second place with a 3-1 mark, including a tech and a major. Sophomore Zain Retherford (, ranked No. 1 at 149, posted an 8-1 win over Rutgers’ Ken Theobold in the finals at 149 to win the title. Retherford went 4-0 with a pin, a tech and a major (plus a win over a non-collegiate wrestler, which does not count as a match). Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf, ranked No. 3 at 157, pinned Lehigh’s Drew Longo at the 1:23 mark in the finals to the NLO. He went 5-0 with three pins, a tech and a major (plus a win over a non-collegiate, which does not count as a match). Junior Geno Morelli used riding time to post a 3-2 win over teammate Shakur Rasheed in the finals at 165. Morelli went 5-0 with two tech falls to win the championship. Rasheed, ranked No. 20 nationally, went 4-1 with three majors and a tech to place second. Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal, ranked No. 6 nationally, won the NLO title at 174 with a 4-3 victory over Ohio State’s Myles Martin in the finals. Nickal went 5-0 with three pins and a tech fall. Senior Morgan McIntosh, ranked No. 1 at 197, won the title with a strong 15-6 major over Army’s Rocco Caywood. McIntosh went 3-0 with two techs and a major (plus two more wins over non-collegiate wrestlers. NICKAL NAMED BIG TEN WRESTLER OF THE WEEK (11/22) Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler Bo Nickal was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the week ending Nov. 22, 2015. Nickal’s honor is the first of his young collegiate career and the first for Penn State as a team this year. Nickal remained unbeaten on the year during Penn State’s 2-0 road swing in California. The Allen, Texas, native pinned returning All-American Bryce Hammond (ranked No. 16) in the first period, decking the CSU Bakersfield wrestler at the 1:57 mark. He followed that up with a strong 12-4 major over Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck in Maples Pavilion. Penn State rolled to two more wins, 39-3 over Bakersfield and 31-12 over No. 18 Stanford, to stay unbeaten on the year.
LIONS DOMINATE NO. 18 STANFORD
Penn State won six of nine contested bouts in front of over 2,500 fans in Stanford’s Maples Pavilion to dominated the Cardinal 31-12 on Nov. 22. The Nittany Lions got pins from California native Morgan McIntosh at 197, Zain Retherford on 149 and Jason Nolf at 157 to roll to victory.
RASHEED AND NICKAL LEAD LIONS OVER BAKERSFIELD
Red-shirt freshmen Shakur Rasheed and Bo Nickal posted impressive wins over ranked wrestlers to lead Penn State to a 39-3 win at CSU Bakersfield on Nov. 20. Rasheed shut out No. 13 Adam Fierro 6-0 at 165 and Nickal pinned returning All-American and 16th-ranked Bryce Hammond at the 1:57 mark as Penn State rolled to victory in front of a record crowd of nearly 2,000 in Bakersfield.
NOLF AND NICKAL DOWN #3-RANKED OPPONENTS IN WIN AT #7 VIRGINIA TECH
The top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team won six of ten bouts and grabbed an impressive 21-15 win at No. 7 Virginia Tech in Penn State’s first road dual of the year on 11/15. In a dual meet featuring 15 ranked grapplers, head coach Cael Sanderson’s crew took control late with three straight victories to grab the win. The Nittany Lions rode the strong performances of red-shirt freshmen Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal, both of whom downed third-ranked opponents, to the road win. The dual was wrestled in front of 5,097 fans, a new Virginia Tech attendance record for wrestling. Nolf took down No. 3 Nick Brascetta 4-1 at 157 and Nickal took care of No. 3 Zach Epperly 6-2 at 174. In addition to those wins, Jordan Conaway beat No. 18 Kevin Norstrem 4-1 at 133, Zain Retherford tech falled No. 13 Sal Mastriani 15-0 (4:25) at 149, Matt McCutcheon got an 18-4 major over Zack Zavatsky at 184 and Morgan McIntosh beat No. 17 Jared Haught 9-2 at 197.
4 FRESHMEN WIN AS PSU SHUT-OUTS LOCK HAVEN
Penn State shut-out visiting Lock Haven 50-0 on Nov. 13 in the season opener for the Lions. Four red-shirt freshmen won in their collegiate debuts. Jason Nolf got a pin, Shakur Rasheed was up 2-0 when his foe injury defaulted, Bo Nickal got a tech fall and Jan Johnson downed a fourth-year junior after only two-plus weeks of practice. In addition to those victories, Jimmy Gulibon posted a strong 3-1 win over No. 12 Dan Neff at 141.
HAMMOND WINS ESU OPEN TITLE
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team sent eight wrestlers to the East Stroudsburg Open Sunday at East Stroudsburg University. Three of the eight Nittany Lions reached the finals with sophomore Garett Hammond claiming the crown at 165. Hammond went 5-0 at the event, including two technical falls, a pin and a major. He took the title by medical forfeit. Teammate Cody Law went 4-0 at 165 to reach the finals but did not wrestle, allowing Hammond to take the title uncontested. Law had two majors and a tech fall. Junior Zack Beitz reached the finals at 157 and went 3-1 overall to take second place. Beitz had a pin and a major. Red-shirt freshman George Carpenter went 3-2 at 133 and sophomore Kade Moss went 2-1 at 141 with two pins. Triston Law wrestled unattached at 141 and went 2-2 with two pins as well. Junior Geno Morelli picked up a win at 165 while junior Caleb Livingston posted a 3-2 record with a pin and a tech at 165 as well.
MORELLI RUNNER-UP TO LEAD STRONG LION SHOWING AT 2015 BEARCAT OPEN
Nine members of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team opened up the open tournament season at the 2015 Bearcat Open in Binghamton, N.Y., which wrapped up late Sunday night. Five Nittany Lions wrestled attached while four more wrestled unattached. Junior Geno Morelli led Penn State with a 5-1 run at 165, advancing all the way to the finals before dropping a match. Morelli notched a tech fall and a major during his run. True freshman Kellan Stout posted a 5-1 mark at 184 to place sixth, including two majors. Red-shirt freshman Kenny Yanovich was a strong fourth at 125 after going 4-1 with a major. Senior Caleb Livingston went 2-2 at 165 with a pin while red-shirt freshman Devon Van Cura went 1-2 with a pin at 184. True freshman Dom Giannangeli went 2-2 at 141 while classmate Francisco Bisono went 1-2 at 165. True freshman Scott Stossel went 1-2 at 125 and sophomore George Carpenter also competed at 125 for Penn State.
LIONS RANKED #1 ON INTERMAT’S TPI
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (15-0, 9-0 B1G) remains the top-ranked team in the country in the Feb. 16 release of InterMat Wrestling’s Tournament Power Index (TPI). Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad also tops InterMat’s Dual Meet Rankings. This marks the 17th straight week that Penn State, with nine ranked individuals, holds the No. 1 spot in the TPI. Four of Penn State’s nine ranked wrestlers continue to be ranked No. 1 at their respective weights. As a team, Penn State holds the top spot on InterMat’s TPI with 127.5 points while Oklahoma State (Penn State’s foe in this Sunday’s NWCA Dual Meet Championship match-up) is second with 93.0. Virginia Tech is No. 3 at 84.5, Ohio State No. 4 at 83.5 and Iowa No. 5 at 83.0. Teams 2-4 are separated by a mere 10 points in this week’s TPI.
The four Nittany Lions who hold top spots at their weight classes are senior Morgan McIntosh, 23-0 at 197; sophomore Zain Retherford, 24-0 at 149; red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal (, 25-1 at 174; and red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf, 25-0 at 157. Senior Nico Megaludis is ranked No. 4 at 125 with a 23-2 record. Senior All-American Jordan Conaway is ranked No. 5 at 133 with a 21-3 record and sophomore Matt McCutcheon is No. 6 at 184 with a 14-3 mark, giving Penn State seven individuals ranked in the top six at their respective weights. Red-shirt freshman Nick Nevills made his collegiate debut last weekend, going 1-1 and is now ranked No. 16 at 285. Red-shirt freshman Shakur Rasheed is No. 17 at 165 with a 15-6 record.