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By Brandon Pelter, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion wrestling team is no stranger to bonus point victories, but Sunday afternoon it took some added work to defeat the Bucknell Bison 36-3.
After Devin Schnupp lost a competitive 3-1 battle against Jake Campbell at 125 pounds, Corey Keener turned in a hard-fought major decision,12-4, over David Campbell. With the win, Keener collected 3:51 of riding time and improves to 2-0 to start his Nittany Lion career, something that's already impressing Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson.
"Corey's a great kid and he's a real likeable kid," Sanderson said. "He's a great wrestler too, he has goals he wants to accomplish and I think he's wrestling well. When you're wrestling on a team with guys like Zain [Retherford] and [Jason] Nolf, [Nick] Nevills, Bo Nickal and Mark Hall, I think you're going to up your game to play at that level."
Jered Cortez followed suit at 141 pounds beating Matt Kolonia 10-4 with 1:12 of riding time.
Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf then delivered with back-to-back pins in the second period.
Retherford, who is rarely taken to the mat, isn't afraid to expand his repertoire.
"I got taken down today," Retherford said. "But that was something where I was trying a new move and I'm just going to keep doing that."
Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall recorded third period technical falls, with Sanderson making specific note of Joseph's performance.
"(Vincenzo's) got great leg attacks," Sanderson said. "He can threaten you with the upper body stuff also. His opponent was comfortable in that position too, but I thought Vincenzo looked really good tonight. His double legs were crisp and he did a nice job on top."
While it wasn't Nevills' flashiest performance, it included 2:50 of riding time and represented the Nittany Lions day on the mat, 10 hard-fought performances.
Just a week into the season, Sanderson is focused more on scoring points than the flashy moves or early pins, with improvements as the focus moving forward.
"It just depends on a lot of different things," Sanderson said. "But, we're not looking for first period pins right now. If it happens, it happens. We're just trying to wrestle and score points and get better and we saw a lot of that."