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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0, 0-0 B1G), ranked No. 1 on InterMat's pre-season Tournament Power Index (TPI), opens up the 2017-18 season with two home duals. The Nittany Lions host Army West Point (0-0) on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall and the Bucknell Bison (0-2*) on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. in Rec Hall. *Bucknell hosts Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 12, post-press.
Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad enters the season with six returning All-Americans and five returning national champions from last year's NCAA title team. Penn State, winners of six of the last seven NCAA titles, will feature a handful of new faces mixed in with its strong cast of returning veterans. The Nittany Lions ride a 31-dual win streak into the new season.
Penn State will send a talented line-up into action during this opening dual weekend. Six All-Americans return, five of whom won NCAA titles last year. Add to that two three-time NCAA qualifiers and talented younger wrestlers at two lighter weights and the Nittany Lions head into the season ranked No. 1 in both the InterMat TPI and the NWCA Coaches Poll (dual meet). Zain Retherford (No. 1 at 149), Jason Nolf (No. 1 at 157), Vincenzo Joseph (No. 1 at 165), Mark Hall (No. 2 at 174) and Bo Nickal (No. 1 at 184) all return after winning NCAA titles. Nick Nevills (No. 3 at 285) returns as an All-American. Seniors Matt McCutcheon (No. 4 at 197) and transfer Corey Keener (No. 15 at 133) each return as three-time NCAA qualifiers.
Army West Point opened up its season last weekend at the Hokie Invitational, an open tournament in Blacksburg, Va. The Black Knights got solid performances from a number of wrestlers in Blacksburg last weekend, led by Rocco Caywood's 4-1 showing at 197. Freshman Knox Fuller went 4-1 at 149, Andrew Mendel went 3-1 at 165, No. 19 Ben Harvey went 3-1 at 174 and Bobby Heald went 3-1 at 285. Penn State leads the all-time series 31-4-2, including the last 13 in a row. The Nittany Lions won the last meeting 45-0 last season at West Point on 11/11/16. The Lions won the last meeting at Penn State, 21-18, on 12/6/92.
Bucknell, which hosts Lehigh Friday night (post-press) opened up its season last weekend by facing CSU-Bakersfield and Edinboro at Edinboro, going 0-2. The Bison dropped a 26-10 dual to CSU Bakersfield and a 30-10 match-up to No. 18 Edinboro. Bucknell looks to be led by No. 10 Tyler Smith at 141, who posted two wins last weekend, and No. 14 Tom Sleigh at 197, who went 0-1 with his loss to another top-ranked foe. Penn State won the only other meeting between the two neighbors, a 17-11 victory at Penn State on 1/13/45.
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 2017-18 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.
#1 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (0-0, 0-0 B1G)125 -- Devin Schnupp Fr. Lititz, Pa./Warwick / 0-0
OR Justin Lopez Fr. Yonkers, N.Y./Yonkers / 0-2
OR Kenny Yanovich Jr. Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley / 0-0
133 -- #15 Corey Keener Sr. Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Blue Mountain / 0-0
141 -- Jered Cortez Jr. Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North / 0-0
149 -- #1 Zain Retherford Sr. Benton, Pa./Benton / 0-0
157 -- #1 Jason Nolf Jr. Yatesboro, Pa./Kittanning / 0-0
165 -- #1 Vincenzo Joseph So. Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny / 0-0
174 -- #2 Mark Hall So. Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley / 0-0
184 -- #1 Bo Nickal Jr. Allen, Texas/Allen / 0-0
197 -- #4 Matt McCutcheon Sr. Apollo, Pa./Kiski Area / 0-0
Anthony Cassar So. Rocky Hill, N.J./Montgomery / 0-0
Shakur Rasheed Jr. Coram, N.Y./Longwood / 4-1
285 -- #3 Nick Nevills Jr. Clovis, Calif./Clovis / 0-0
ARMY WEST POINT BLACK KNIGHTS (0-0)125 -- Trey Chalifoux So. Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan / 2-2
133 -- Lane Peters Fr. Urichsville, Ohio/Claymont / 4-2
141 -- Austin Harry Jr. Harvey's Lake, Pa./Lake Lehman / 5-2
149 -- Knox Fuller Fr. Cleveland, Tenn./Bradley Central / 4-1
157 -- Lucas Weiland So. Barnhart, Mo./Seckman / 2-2
165 -- Andrew Mendel Sr. Mason, Ohio/Moeller / 3-1
174 -- #19 Ben Harvey So. New Palestine, Ind./Indianapolis Cathedral / 3-1
184 -- Noah Stewart So. Lewistown, Pa./Mifflin County / 3-2
197 -- Rocco Caywood Jr. Toledo, Ohio/Perrysburg / 4-1
285 -- Bobby Heald Fr. Bedford, N.H./Bedford / 3-1
BUCKNELL BISON (0-2*)125 -- Jakob Campbell Fr. Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown / 0-2
133 -- Joe Gould So. Easton, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic / 0-0
OR David Campbell Fr. Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown / 0-2
141 -- #10 Tyler Smith Sr. Export, Pa./Franklin Regional / 2-0
149 -- Seth Hogue So. Masbury, Ohio/Reynolds / 1-1
157 -- Zach Kelly Jr. Lower Burrell, Pa./Burrell / 0-0
OR Mitch Hartman So. Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon / 0-2
165 -- Joey Schiele Fr. Wharton, N.J./Morris Hills / 0-2
174 -- Nick Stephani Jr. Columbia Cross Roads, Pa./Troy / 1-1
184 -- Drew Phipps So. Irwin, Pa./Norwin / 1-1
197 -- #14 Tom Sleigh Sr. DuBois, Pa./DuBois / 0-1
285 -- Eric Chakonis Fr. Washington Township, N.J./Don Bosco Prep / 0-2
Individual rankings are InterMat, team ranking is InterMat TPI
(Tournament Power Index) as of 11/7/17 -- *Bucknell at Lehigh Friday
THIS WEEKNo. 1 Penn State (0-0, 0-0 B1G) opens up the 2017-18 season with two home dual meets. The Nittany Lions welcome Army West Point (0-0) to Rec Hall on Thursday, Nov. 9, for a 7 p.m. dual. Penn State then hosts Bucknell (0-2*) in Rec Hall on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. *Bucknell hosts Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 10, post-press.
UP NEXTThe Nittany Lions hit the road next weekend for a dual at Binghamton on Friday night, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Penn State then treks to the University of Pennsylvania for the Keystone Classic on Sunday, Nov. 19.
ON THE AIRTV - None
Live Web Video - Lionvision ($) via http://www.gopsusports.com/collegesportslive/
Radio All Season - FREE!!! Penn State Radio Network. All live streaming of Penn State audio is free this year. All audio and some video (both free and $) can be accessed through Lionvision ( http://www.gopsusports.com/collegesportslive/ ).
NOTESBrady Berge LEADS LIONS AT PRINCETON OPEN
True freshman Brady Berge, wrestling unattached at 157, had a strong debut wrestling at the collegiate level to pace Penn State at the Princeton Open on 11/4. The true freshman, redshirting this season, advanced to the semifinals with two major decisions before dropping a match. He rebounded from that loss to win twice including in the consolation finals, placing third at his first tournament. Berge went 4-1 with two majors.
LEE AND RASHEED STRONG AT CLARION OPEN
True freshman Nick Lee competed unattached at 141 in his first open tournament as a Penn Stater and led the Lions at the Clarion Open on 11/5. Lee was impressive, advancing all the way to the finals. Lee went 4-1 on the day with three dominating tech falls and a major. He dropped a hard-fought 6-4 decision to No. 10 Brock Zacherl of Clarion in the finals. Junior Shakur Rasheed, wrestling at 197, went 4-1 with three pins and a tech fall. The Lion junior placed third, winning the consolation finals with a pin in just 0:39. Redshirt freshman Bo Pipher wrestled at 149. Pipher posted a 3-2 mark, with all three wins coming by fall. Junior George Carpenter competed at 133 and posted a solid 4-2 mark including four straight wins in consolation action.
NEVILLS AND HALL COMPETE AT NWCA EXHIBITION
Penn State All-Americans Mark Hall and Nick Nevills competed in the 2017 NWCA All-Star Classic on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m. The exhibition took place at Princeton University. The results from the NWCA All-Star Classic do not count as official wins or losses. Nevills, a 2017 All-American at 285 after placing fifth last year, battled Tanner Hall, also an All-American from Arizona State who placed third last season. Nevills posted a 2-0 win with riding time. Lion sophomore Hall, the 2017 NCAA Champion at 174 as a true freshman, took on Arizona State All-American Zahid Valencia, who finished third last year at nationals. Valencia notched a takedown with just :18 left to grab the 3-2 win. The results are not official wins or losses as the event was an exhibition.
8 LIONS RANKED BY INTERMAT
The Penn State wrestling team, winner of six of the last seven NCAA titles, will enter the season ranked No. 1 in the nation in InterMat's preseason Tournament Power Index (TPI). Eight Nittany Lions are listed in InterMat's pre-season weight-by-weight rankings as well. Corey Keener is ranked No. 15 at 133, Zain Retherford No. 1 at 149, Jason Nolf No. 1 at 157, Vincenzo Joseph No. 1 at 165, Mark Hall No. 2 at 174, Bo Nickal No. 1 at 184, Matt McCutcheon No. 4 at 197 and Nick Nevills No. 3 at 285.
CAEL TO SPEAK AT BLAIR COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Nittany Lion head coach Cael Sanderson will serve as the guest speaker at the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony on Saturday, April 7, 2018. The event will take place at the Blair County Convention Center. Advance orders for tickets, priced at $75 (or $750 for a table of 10) before Dec. 31 and $85 ($850 for a table of 10) after Dec. 31, are currently being accepted. Checks can be made payable to the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 162, Altoona, Pa., 16603. Tickets can be purchased online at the HOF's website at www.blaircountysportshof.com. For more information contact Kathy Millward at 814-312-0151. Former guest speakers at the prestigious event include Joe Paterno (1987), James Franklin (2015), Terry Bradshaw, Bobby Knight, Dick Vitale, Joe Theisman, Mary Lou Retton, Bobby Bowden, Jim Boeheim, Hines Ward, Chris Fowler, Ben Rothlisberger and Jay Bilas.