Penn State completed the Big Ten dual season undefeated with a 28-13 victory over No. 3 Iowa. The sold out Bryce Jordan Center crowd saw the Nittany Lions extend their dual win streak to 44, as the Nittany Lions won three of their bouts by bonus points, including two pins.
The featured matchup of the dual pitted No. 1 Zain Retherford against No. 2 Brandon Sorensen. Retherford picked up a 6-2 decision win over Sorensen, but the score doesn't tell the tale of how the match went down. Sorensen had solid neutral defense as he generally does, but Zain was able to get the takedowns he needed to pick up the win. He also amassed over three minutes of riding time. The win was Zain's first non-bonus point win this season, but he was never close to losing. It's amazing to watch Zain when he is in a Penn State singlet, and he will be wrestling his final Rec Hall dual next weekend against Buffalo. The separation between him and the pack is quite simply astounding.
The dual's biggest upset came at 165 pounds, when No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph picked up his first loss since last season's Big Ten Tournament in a 9-6 loss to No. 7 Alex Marinelli. Vincenzo had a 5-3 lead following a Marinelli escape in the third period, aand Joseph went for the home run swing looking for a bonus-point victory. As Joseph attempted a throw, Marinelli was able to counter it and throw Joseph to his back for two points plus four nearfall points. Joseph was able to escape, but could not make the up the deficit.
The loss puts the 165-pound picture into a bit of a mess going forward. It seems like Marinelli will now be the favorite to get the one seed at the Big Ten Tournament, considering his wins this season and his undefeated record. That leaves Joseph and Isaiah Martinez potentially on the same side of the bracket as the two and three seeds. It also opens the question as to whether Marinelli can contend for a Big Ten and NCAA Title at 165 pounds. While it's easy to dismiss Marinelli's win as a lucky throw, Marinelli countering the throw shows how dangerous he can be. This loss isn't the end of the world for Joseph either. Sure, the undefeated season is gone but he got caught. He was in control of the match at the time of the trip, and that can happen sometimes. He'll just have to learn from this and move forward.
Another fascinating look inside the Lions' wrestling room is at 197 pounds. Penn State's questions at this class will intensify after Shakur Rasheed picked up a dominant 11-2 major decision win over No. 7 Cash Wilcke. Rasheed was able to takedown Wilcke at will and nearly secured another cradle before Wilcke was able to get out of bounds. Rasheed's cradle is well known but his top game is not limited to just that, as he also amassed 3:52 in riding time. Rasheed and current No. 8 Anthony Cassar have both shown why they deserve consideration to get the nod from Cael Sanderson this postseason. The difference between the two might be Rasheed's bonus point potential. Cassar has put in an excellent effort this campaign, and even if he is not chosen by Sanderson to compete in March, he still has plenty to be proud of. Sanderson is in a position of luxury as he gets to choose between two studs, it's just a shame that one of them has to be left home.
No. 6 Nick Nevills picked up his most important win of the season by defeating No. 3 Sam Stoll 3-2. Nevills has a legitimate claim to being the third best heavyweight in the country after this win. He has now defeated Stoll, No. 4 Jacob Kasper, No. 7 Youssif Hemida, No. 9 Tanner Hall and No. 10 Mike Hughes this season. The win also should basically guarantee that Nevills will not be a seven or eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, which will be important to avoid No. 1 Kyle Snyder and No. 2 Adam Coon until at least the semifinal.
The two pins Penn State got in this dual were by No. 2 Mark Hall and No. 1 Bo Nickal. Hall picked up his fall at the 1:00 mark, which was the tonic the Bryce Jordan Center crowd needed following Joseph's surprise loss. Nickal picked up the fastest pin of the dual with a fall at :50. The fall was Nickal's seventh first period fall this season.
Penn State will wrestle their final dual of the season against Buffalo next Sunday at 2 p.m. EST.
- 125 pounds - No. 3 Spencer Lee fall Carson Kuhn (0-2), WBF (2:06), Iowa 6-0
- 133 pounds - Corey Keener (13-6) dec. Paul Glynn, 5-2, Iowa 6-3
- 141 pounds - No. 8 Nick Lee (20-4) dec. Vincent Turk, 11-8, Iowa 6-6
- 149 pounds - No. 1 Zain Retherford (22-0) dec. No. 2 Brandon Sorensen, 6-2, PSU 9-6
- 157 pounds - No. 2 Michael Kemerer maj. dec. Bo Pipher (5-11), 14-4, Iowa 10-9
- 165 pounds - No. 7 Alex Marinelli dec. No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (16-1), 9-6, Iowa 13-9
- 174 pounds - No. 2 Mark Hall (23-0) fall Joey Gunther, WBF (1:00), PSU 15-13
- 184 pounds - No. 1 Bo Nickal (22-0) fall Mitch Bowman, WBF (:50), PSU 21-13
- 197 pounds - Shakur Rasheed (16-2) maj. dec. No. 7 Cash Wilcke, 11-2, PSU 25-13
- 285 pounds - No. 6 Nick Nevills (20-4) dec. No. 3 Sam Stoll, 3-2, PSU 28-13