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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.– The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the direction of head coach Cael Sanderson, was honored at its annual awards banquet today, capping off a season that saw it win its seventh NCAA National Championship in the last eight years. The Penn State Wrestling Club hosted the annual event, which features a bevy of annual awards given to members of the team.
All awards given, save two, are stat driven either academically or competitively. Two awards not driven by a specific metric. The Carl Winterburn Award for Manager of the Year was given once again to Shannon Daugherty (Titusville, Pa.), who won the honor for the second time. Daugherty will graduate with a degree in International Politics (French minor). Senior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) was given the Community Service Award. McCutcheon posted a 5-3 record this season before an injury ended his campaign. He leaves Penn State as a three-time NCAA Qualifier with a 67-31 career record.
Four statistical awards are handed out by the coaching staff, with two-time Hodge Trophy winner Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) taking home three of them. True freshman All-American Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.) won the other.
Retherford won the Bill Koll Award for most pins with 17, the Joe Scalzo Award for most team points scored with 176.5 and the Most Bonus Points Scored Award with 58.5. Retherford ended his season with a 31-0 mark, riding a 94-match win streak and winning his third straight NCAA title. A four-time All-American, Retherford went 126-3 as a Nittany Lion, won two straight Hodge Trophies, three straight Big Ten titles and was named NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler three years in a row. Lee won the Charles Spiedel Award for most takedowns, notching 135. Lee placed fifth as a true freshman this season and posted a 32-7 overall record.
Five academic awards were given out as well (all years listed are academic, not eligibility). Austin Clabaugh (York Springs, Pa.) won the Freshman Academic Award with a 4.00 grade point average. Bran Friery (Lewisburg, Pa.) won the Sophomore Academic Award with a 3.98 GPA. Dominic Giannangeli (Murrysville, Pa.) won the Junior Academic Award with a 3.81 GPA. Devon Van Cura (Washington, N.C.) won the Senior Academic Award with a 3.99 GPA. Retherford took home the Fifth Year Academic Award with a 3.73 GPA.
Penn State’s eight All-Americans also received their team All-American Awards at the banquet. Junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.) received his for earning his first All-America honor at 197, placing seventh and ending the year with a 24-5 record. Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) received his for becoming a two-time All-American at 285, taking seventh this season and going 30-7 on the year. Lee picked up his for his fifth place finish at 141.
Penn State’s five national finalists also received theirs. Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) received his for his national runner-up performance at 174. The 2017 National Champion became a two-time All-American and finalist this year, going 32-1. Retherford got his for his third straight title at 149. Junior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) became a two-time NCAA Champion and three-time finalist this year, going 26-1 at 157. Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.) became a two-time NCAA Champion at 165 this year, posting a 25-2 record. Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas) became a two-time NCAA Champion at 184 and three-time finalist, going 31-0 on the year.
Penn State went 14-0 this year, including winning yet another Big Ten Regular Season (dual meet) title with a 9-0 conference mark. The team heads into next year returning seven of its school-record tying eight All-Americans from this past season, including a combined seven national championships between Nolf, Joseph, Hall and Nickal. The Nittany Lions have won 45 straight dual meets dating back to the 2014-15 season.
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.