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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0, 1-0 B1G) return to the Southern Scuffle after skipping last year's event. This year's two-day, team scored tournament, takes place on Jan. 1-2, 2018, at UT-Chattanooga. Penn State won six straight Scuffle crowns before missing last year's tournament.
Penn State is scheduled to enter 17 attached wrestlers in the event with two more Lions heading down unattached. Penn State's dual meet starting line-up will be in action. Red-shirt freshman Devin Schnupp will compete at 125, No. 17 Corey Keener goes at 133 as does sophomore Dominic Giannangeli. No. 15 Jered Cortez is in action at 141 and No. 1 Zain Retherford goes at 149 along with redshirt freshman Bo Pipher.
No. 1 Jason Nolf is set at 157 as is No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph at 165. No. 2 Mark Hall, last year's Southern Scuffle Outstanding Wrestler as an unattached Lion, returns to defend his title at 174 and he will be joined at that weight by sophomore Francisco Bisono. No. 1 Bo Nickal and junior Devon Van Cura wrestle at 184.
No. 9 Anthony Cassar, senior Matt McCutcheon and junior Shakur Rasheed will all compete at 197. No. 3 Nick Nevills and redshirt freshman Alex Nicholas will go at 285. Two Nittany Lion true freshmen are schedule to trek to the event and compete as unattached wrestlers, Nick Lee at 141 and Jarod Verkleeren at 149. Penn State's scheduled competitors, both attached and unattached, are subject to change.
The Nittany Lions won Scuffle crowns in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Penn State's success in the Scuffle has been impressive. Besides the team title, the Lions have coming away with a long list of individual champions; three in the 2010-11 Scuffle, four in 2012, two in 2013, three in 2014, none in 2015 and five in 2016. Add to that Mark Hall's title at 174 (and subsequent OW honor) and the Nittany Lions have a total of 18 Scuffle champions since its dominant tournament run started in 2010-11.
The 2018 Scuffle field is an impressive one. Teams sending full their line-ups to the team-scored tournament include Penn State, Oklahoma State, Lehigh, Virginia, Northern Iowa, Stanford, Appalachian State, Navy, Duke, Campbell, Cleveland State, Lock Haven, Gardner-Webb, Northern Colorado, CS-Bakersfield, Drexel, Utah Valley, George Mason, The Citadel, Chattanooga, Air Force and Hofstra. Teams sending partial rosters include Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and Bloomsburg.
Penn State will head to Chattanooga for the 2018 Southern Scuffle. The Nittany Lions will be looking for their seventh Scuffle title at the event, which takes place on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 1-2, 2018. Penn State's next home dual will be on Friday, Jan. 19, when Purdue invades Rec Hall for a 7 p.m. match-up. With all home dual meets sold out, a limited number of Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets are available to select Rec Hall duals based on availability. Call 1-800-NITTANY for information or to purchase tickets.
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.
#2 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (5-0, 1-0 B1G)125 Devin Schnupp Fr. Lititz, Pa./Warwick 1-7
133 #17 Corey Keener Sr. Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Blue Mountain 6-0
Dominic Giannangeli So. Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional 7-4
141 #15 Jered Cortez Jr. Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North 8-1
149 #1 Zain Retherford Sr. Benton, Pa./Benton 9-0
Bo Pipher Fr. Paonia, Colo./Paonia 7-7
157 #1 Jason Nolf Jr. Yatesboro, Pa./Kittanning 9-0
165 #1 Vincenzo Joseph So. Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic 4-0
174 #2 Mark Hall So. Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley 10-0
Francisco Bisono So. Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge 2-4
184 #1 Bo Nickal Jr. Allen, Texas/Allen 9-0
Devon Van Cura Jr. Washington, N.C./Washington 7-3
197 #9 Anthony Cassar So. Rocky Hill, N.J./Montgomery 8-1
Matt McCutcheon Sr. Apollo, Pa./Kiski Area 5-2
Shakur Rasheed Jr. Coram, N.Y./Longwood 7-2
285 #3 Nick Nevills Jr. Clovis, Calif./Clovis 10-0
Alex Nicholas Fr. Allentown, Pa./Salisbury Twp. 0-3
141 Nick Lee Fr. Evansville, Ind. 10-2
149 Jarod Verkleeren Fr. Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield 5-0
Penn State (5-0, 2-0 B1G) returns to the Southern Scuffle after skipping last year's event. This year's two-day, team scored tournament, takes place on Jan. 1-2, 2018, at UT-Chattanooga. Penn State won six straight Scuffle crowns before missing last year's tournament.
The Nittany Lions hit the road for two Big Ten duals in Michigan in their next action. The Lions visit No. 4 Michigan on Friday, Jan. 12, for a 9 p.m. dual that will air live to a national BTN audience. Penn State then visits Michigan State on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m.
ON THE AIR
TV - None
Live Free Web Video - None
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/ ).
LIONS DOMINATE INDIANA 44-3 IN BIG TEN OPENER
Junior Jered Cortez posted a 6-5 win over No. 12 Cole Weaver at 141 pounds and the Penn State Nittany Lions added eight more wins, all by bonus, to roll over the visiting Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten dual opener for Penn State. In front of another sold out Rec Hall crowd, Penn State got the win from Cortez; majors from Corey Keener (133), Anthony Cassar (197) and Nick Nevills (285); a tech fall from Mark Hall (174); a forfeit win for Vincenzo Joseph (165); and pins from Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157) and Bo Nickal (184).
PENN STATE'S BONUS BONANZA
Penn State's hot start to the season, 5-0 in duals and winners of the Keystone Classic, comes on the shoulders of a bonus point bonanza. Penn State is 41-9 in its four duals, with 30 of those wins coming via bonus (14 pins, 1 forfeit, 5 tech falls and 10 majors).
PENN STATE'S PIN PARADE
The race for the Penn State pin crown has gotten off to a fast start and the title is official up for grabs. Jason Nolf (157) is 9-0 on the with eight pins; Mark Hall (174) is 10-0 with five pins; Zain Retherford (149) is 9-0 with seven pins and Bo Nickal (184) is 9-0 with five pins. Shakur Rasheed has added six pins in open tournaments at 197 as well.
BO'S FAST FALLS
Okay, so Bo Nickal's fast falls are, well, fast. Nickal is 9-0 on the year with five pins. All four have come in under 60 seconds. That's quick. His fast falls have come in 0:26, 0:53, 0:38, 0:48 (over #16 Mitch Sliga of Northwestern) and 0:42.
NEVILLS CAPS OFF COMEBACK WIN OVER #7 LEHIGH
Junior All-American Nick Nevills clinched Penn State's 23-19 come-from-behind win over homestanding Lehigh with a third period rideout of No. 14 Jordan Wood to post a 2-0 win. With Penn State leading 20-19 at the time, Nevills' victory helped Penn State finish off a road comeback in front of nearly 10,000 fans in the sold out PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Nevills used a second period escape and 1:48 in riding time thanks to a full third period rideout of Wood to clinch the victory. Penn State, wrestling with two nationally ranked starters out, had trailed 15-0 after three bouts and 19-11 heading into the final four matches.
NOLF PINS HIS WAY THROUGH FIRST SEVEN BOUTS
Jason Nolf had a pretty solid start to the 2017-18 season. The junior 157-pounder began his season with seven straight pins. He won the Keystone Classic on 11/19 with four pins and went 3-0 in Penn State's first four duals with pins. The pin streak ended when we won by tech fall over Lehigh's Ian Brown (23-8, 6:40) on 12/3 at Lehigh.
Nick Lee WINS MAT-TOWN OPEN
True freshman Nick Lee, wrestling unattached at Lock Haven, won the Mat-Town Open title on Sunday, 11/26, at 141 pounds. Lee went 4-0 with two pins, a tech and a major to win the crown. Red-shirt freshman Patrick Higgins also competed, going 2-2 with a tech fall to finish fourth at 133 as well.
LIONS ROLL TO KEYSTONE CLASSIC TITLE
Penn State rolled to its second straight Keystone Classic title on 11/19. The Nittany Lions posted a perfect 7-0 mark in the finals and won the team crown with 190.5 points, ahead of second place Northwestern's 156.5. Penn State's title winners were: Jered Cortez (141), Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Mark Hall (174), Bo Nickal (184), Anthony Cassar (197) and Nick Nevills (285).
LIONS GRAB ROAD WIN AT BINGHAMTON
Penn State picked up its first road win of the season, winning at Binghamton 40-2 on 11/17. The Lions won nine of ten bouts, including Bo Nickal's 15-6 major over #14 Steven Schneider and three pins (Zain Retherford, Jason Nolf and Mark Hall).
PENN STATE DOMINATES BUCKNELL 36-6
The Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts in a lopsided 36-6 victory over visiting Bucknell on 11/12. Penn State picked up pins from Jason Nolf and Zain Retherford, tech falls from Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall and majors from Corey Keener and Bo Nickal.
LIONS NOTCH 5 PINS IN WIN OVER ARMY WEST POINT
Penn State opened up its 2017-18 season with a resounding 45-3 win over visiting Army West Point on 11/9. The Nittany Lions rode five pins to the victory. Senior Corey Keener made his Penn State debut with a pin at 133, Jason Nolf had a fall at 157, Mark Hall pinned #19 Ben Harvey at 174, Bo Nickal picked up a pin in 0:26 at 184 and Nick Nevills had a pin at 125. The five pins in one dual is the most by a Nittany Lion team since pinning five Maryland Terrapins last year on Feb. 12, 2017.
VERKLEEREN WINS BEARCAT OPEN CROWN
True freshman Jarod Verkleeren competed unattached at 149 and rolled through the field for the 149-pound title at the Bearcat Open in Binghamton on 11/12. The Greensburg native went 5-0 in his first open tournament as a collegian to lead Penn State, which had six of its 13 entrants place. Verkleeren had two tech falls. True freshman Nick Lee went 3-1 with two tech falls and a major to place third at 141. Junior Shakur Rasheed went 3-1 with three pins to take fourth place at 197. Junior Devon Van Cura wrestled at 184 and posted a 5-1 record with a major to place fifth. Sophomore Dominic Giannangeli wrestled at 133 and posted a 5-1 mark as well to finish fifth.
Brady 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.
9 LIONS RANKED BY INTERMAT
The Penn State wrestling team, winner of six of the last seven NCAA titles, is currently ranked No. 2 on InterMat's Tournament Power Index (TPI) and No. 1 in its dual meet rankings (as of 12/19/17). Nine Nittany Lions are listed in InterMat's pre-season weight-by-weight rankings as well. Corey Keener is ranked No. 18 at 133, Jered Cortez No. 19 No. 15 at 141, 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, Anthony Cassar No. 9 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.