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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (14-0, 9-0 B1G) will head to the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships with nine NCAA qualifiers, eight of whom are seeded, including seven seeded in the top five and eight in the top eight. The three day event takes place in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 15-17.
The Nittany Lions are coming off yet another unbeaten regular season and another Big Ten Regular Season (dual meet) title. Penn State will be looking to win its seventh NCAA National Championship in the past eight years. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad, which won the NCAA title last year in St. Louis, received two No. 1 seeds and will feature five returning individual NCAA Champions.
Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.) will be making his fourth trip to the NCAA Championships and his first as a Nittany Lion. Keener is unseeded at 133 and will take on No. 11 Dom Forys of Pittsburgh in the opening round. Keener is 2-6 all-time at the NCAA Championships. He has posted a 16-8 overall record this season heading to NCAAs.
True freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.) will be making his first trip to the NCAA Championships and is seeded No. 8 at 141. Lee will battle Ryan Diehl of Maryland in the opening round. He has posted an 11-4 record against this year's field at 141. Lee is 26-5 this year as a true freshman so far this year.
Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), a three-time All-American and two-time defending NCAA Champion at 149, is once again the No. 1 seed. Retherford will take on Eastern Michigan's Kyle Springer in the opening round in Cleveland. He is 13-0 against the field this season. Retherford, who is 26-0 this year to date, won his third straight Big Ten title on March 4 and was named the 2018 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for the second time.
Junior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), a two-time All-American and the defending NCAA Champion at 157, is the No. 3 seed. Nolf, who returned to action for the first time in over a month with a 2-0 showing at Big Tens on March 3-4 (a pin and a major), will meet Colin Heffernan of Central Michigan in the opening round. Nolf is 21-1 to date with the lone loss being an injury forfeit on Jan. 28 in a bout he was winning at the time. Nolf is 9-1 against the field, with the lone loss the aforementioned injury default on Jan. 28.
Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), an All-American and the defending NCAA Champion at 165, is the No. 3 seed this year. Joseph will battle Jonathan Schleiffer of Princeton in the first round of this season's NCAA tournament. He is 9-2 against the field to date. Joseph heads to Cleveland with a 20-2 overall record.
Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), an All-American and the defending NCAA Champion at 174, is the No. 2 seed this year. Hall will take on Austin Rose of Drexel in the opening round of this year's tournament. He is 17-0 against this year's 174-pound field. Hall is coming off winning his first Big Ten title on March 4 and heads to Cleveland with a 28-0 overall record.
Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), a two-time All-American and the defending NCAA Champion at 184, will be the No. 1 seed this year in Cleveland. Nickal will face off against South Dakota State's Martin Mueller in the first round. The Lion junior is 10-0 against the field so far. Nickal is coming off winning his second Big Ten title on March 4 and heads to the NCAA Championships with a 26-0 mark.
Junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.) will be making his first trip to the NCAA Championships and is the No. 5 seed at 197. Rasheed will take on Sawyer Root of The Citadel in his first bout at nationals on Thursday. He is 7-3 against the field this season. Rasheed, who is 20-3 this year, is coming off a Big Ten runner-up finish at his first Big Ten Championships on March 3-4.
Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), a returning All-American, heads to his second NCAA Championship as the No. 3 seed at 285. Nevills will take on Stephen Suglio of Kent State in the opening round. The Penn State junior is 12-5 against this year's heavyweight field to date. Nevills will carry a 26-5 overall record with him to Cleveland.
As stated, the three day event takes place in Quicken Loans Arena and begins on Thursday, March 15, at 12 p.m. The entire three-day tournament will air live on the ESPN family of networks. All three morning sessions (1, 3 and 5) will air live on ESPNU. Thursday and Friday's evening sessions (2 and 4) will air live on ESPN and Saturday night's Championship Finals will air live on ESPN2.
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 www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.