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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Seven Penn State Nittany Lion wrestlers trekked to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2015 Las Vegas/ASICS U.S. Open and the UWW Junior Nationals, the nation's premier freestyle event. Six of the Lion contingent competed in Junior Nationals while one current Lion and seven members of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club took part in Senior Nationals.
True freshman Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) brought home the 96 kg title after a superb 4-0 run through the tournament. Cassar tallied two falls in the event and claimed the title with an 8-3 decision over Jacob Seely.
True freshman Jason Nolf (Kittanning, Pa.) and red-shirt sophomore Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) both placed second. Nolf made an outstanding national freestyle debut, going 4-1 with two tech falls to finish as runner-up at 74 kg. Retherford was equally impressive, going 5-1 with three falls and two tech falls to place second at 66 kg.
Red-shirt freshman Cody Law (Windber, Pa.) was outstanding at 74 kg as well, going 4-1 with two tech falls to place second and classmate Garett Hammond (Chambersburg, Pa.) placed seventh at 74 kg with a 5-2 mark. True freshman George Carpenter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) competed at 60 kg, going 1-2. Red-shirt freshman Kade Moss (South Jordan, Utah) competed in Senior Nationals, going 3-2 with a fall and a tech fall at 65 kg.
The seven man contingent from the NLWC that competed in the senior division was led by former Lion great David Taylor, who rolled through the 74 kg division to claim the championship. Taylor went 5-0 with two falls and two tech falls. Olympic Champion Jake Varner suffered an upset loss in the finals at 97 kg and took second with a 4-1 record. Former Lion great and current Penn State assistant coach Frank Molinaro went 4-2 with two pins at 65 kg to finish fifth while Eric Thompson went 3-2 at 125 kg to finish seventh.
Former Penn State stars Mark McKnight, Cyler Sanderson and Quentin Wright each competed as well. McKnight went 2-2 at 57 kg, Sanderson was 1-2 at 70 kg and Wright went 1-2 at 86 kg. Former Lion stand out Ed Ruth went 5-1 to take third at 86 kg as well.
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstateWREST and on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2014-15 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.