Penn State ransacked their competition at the Palestra for a second consecutive year with seven individual titles and the team title in this year's tournament. The Lions went a perfect seven-for-seven in the finals with three of the wins coming by fall.
The biggest win of the tournament came for No. 3 Nick Nevills when he defeated No. 6 Jakob Kasper (Duke) in the final, 3-1. After a scoreless first period, Nevills started the second period on bottom and fought very hard for a reversal that never came. He ultimately conceded over 1:30 in riding time to Kasper. Nevills used his very effective top game to great effect in the third though, nearly riding out Kasper for the whole period and getting two crucial back points to get the win. The win will strengthen Nevills' position in the top 3 and should help him come seeding for the NCAA Tournament in March.
Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) gave Zain Retherford a real test in the final. Zain went on to pick up a win 10-2, but Deakin made him earn it. Deakin put his hands on Zain whenever he could and his length presented some issues for Zain. On another day Deakin may have beaten a less worthy opponent. The problem is Zain is Zain. Despite Deakin's best efforts, he never really got close to a takedown on the defending Hodge trophy winner. Zain continued to push until the end, and scored two takedowns in the final thirty seconds to pick up the major decision win. Zain won all four of his matches by bonus with three falls.
Jason Nolf, Mark Hall and Bo Nickal all secured pins in their finals. Nolf managed to pin his way through the field and has managed to win all seven of his matches this season by pin. Hall dominated the field as expected,as he wasn't taken down once on the day, and won all five of his matches by either pin or tech fall. Hall managed to pin Harvard's Josef Johnson in 50 seconds in the final, and that was not even the quickest pin of the finals for Penn State. Bo did Bo things, he won four matches on the day, all by bonus, but he also ended up winning three different matches by pin in under a minute. In the final against No. 16 Mitch Sliga (Northwestern), Bo managed to pick up the pin in 48 seconds. Bo now has four pins this season in matches that lasted under a minute. It's safe to say these three are rolling right now.
Anthony Cassar and Matt McCutcheon wrestled in the semifinals, and Cassar managed to pull out the win 6-5 with a late double leg. Cassar is not the most active offensive wrestler, but he is very efficient when he does shoot at finishing his takedowns. McCutcheon struggled to deal with Cassar's length, but still showed why he would be a good option if he ends up winning the job. Cassar went on to face No. 12 Frank Mattiace (Pennsylvania) in the final and won 7-4. Cassar bounced back nicely from his loss last weekend, and he appears to be in the driver's seat to be Penn State's starter at 197 pounds. McCutcheon ended fourth after he forfeited due to injury in the third place match.
Jered Cortez won the title at 141 pounds after some tight matches with AJ Jaffe (Harvard) and Tyson Dippery (Rider). Cortez was dominant in his first two matches of the tournament, winning them both by fall. It should be good for Cortez's confidence to pick up some wins over potential NCAA qualifiers in Dippery and Jaffe. Devin Schnupp went 1-2 and did not place in the tournament. He picked up his first win of the season over Matt Simonetti (Franklin & Marshall) 15-9.
This year's tournament did not come without casualties though, as Vincenzo Joseph was not registered for the tournament due to an injury he sustained against Binghamton and Corey Keener forfeited from the semifinals due to an injury he picked up in the tournament. The severity, or potential lack thereof, of their respective injuries are unknown at this time.
final places for psu wrestlers
- 125 pounds - Devin Schnupp (DNP)
- 133 pounds - No. 15 Corey Keener (6th), Dominic Giannangeli and George Carpenter (DNP)
- 141 pounds - Jered Cortez (1st)
- 149 pounds - No. 1 Zain Retherford (1st), Luke Gardner and Bo Pipher (DNP)
- 157 pounds - No. 1 Jason Nolf (1st), Brian Friery (DNP)
- 165 pounds - No one for Penn State wrestled at 165 pounds.
- 174 pounds - No. 2 Mark Hall (1st), Francisco Bisono (DNP)
- 184 pounds - No. 1 Bo Nickal (1st), Devon Van Cura (DNP)
- 197 pounds - No. 4 Matt McCutcheon (4th), Anthony Cassar (1st)
- 285 pounds - No. 3 Nick Nevills (1st), Alex Nicholas (DNP)