The past few duals, No. 2 Penn State had struggled early on and had to rely on its middleweight star-power. Against No. 20 Wisconsin on Friday night though and with the dual starting at 157 lbs. with No. 1 Jason Nolf (13-0), the Nittany Lions got out to an early lead and never looked back en route to a 33-11 win. Penn State dominated the better part of the dual, topping the Badgers 25-2 in takedowns.
How It Happened
Facing Wisconsin’s backup Jared Scharenbrock (8-7), Nolf (13-0) took a 10-3 lead after a first period despite being reversed after putting Scharenbrock on his back. In the second period though, Nolf had his own reversal before picking up his eighth pin of the season.
At 165 lbs., in a potential Big Ten Championship matchup, No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph (11-2) and No. 3 Isaac Jordan (17-1) of Wisconsin felt each other out before an exciting third period. Jordan reversed Joseph for the lead, Joseph escaped and took Jordan down, and then Jordan reversed Joseph to tie the score in the final seconds of regulation. Jordan appeared to score back points but the clock expired before he could pick them up. In overtime, Jordan took down Joseph for the win, which made the team score 6-3 in favor of Penn State.
A week after dropping his first dual match, No. 7 Mark Hall (19-2) majored Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen (16-11) 18-4 for his first win since burning his redshirt. No. 2 Bo Nickal (13-0) then continued his streak of falls to three by pinning Wisconsin’s Hunter Ritter (14-10).
With Penn State now leading 16-3 and having controlled the mat for the entirety of the previous two matches with flashy moves, the dual changed gears for the next two matches.
At 197 lbs., No. 10 Matt McCutcheon (11-2) rode out No. 12 Ricky Robertson (20-11) of Wisconsin in the third period to grind out the 2-0 win. In the most anticipated matchup of the night, two undefeated heavyweights squared off. With the score tied 2-2 after the second period, No. 4 Nick Nevills (12-1) escaped early in the third period before being taken down by No. 2 Connor Medbery (17-0) of Wisconsin who held him down for the last 40 seconds of the match. Nevills nearly escaped but could not register the tying point before the buzzer. The decision was Medbery’s 100th win of his Wisconsin career and Nevills’ first loss of the season.
At 125 lbs., No. 3 Nick Suriano (12-1), coming off of his collegiate first loss of the season, got back to his winning ways, majoring Wisconsin’s Johnny Jimenez (6-5) 14-4.
The Nittany Lions’ woes at 133 lbs. continued as redshirt freshman Triston Law (0-1), who was replacing George Carpenter (1-8), fell 17-2 to Wisconsin’s Eli Stickley (17-13), who had more than four minutes of riding time. Penn State bounced back in the final two matches. Last week against Iowa, No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon made a statement by reversing the course of the dual. On Friday, he made another one by majoring No. 15 Cole Martin 15-3. No. 1 Zain Retherford ended the dual by pinning Andrew Crone, who he was already leading 15-2.
Wrestler of the Dual
Bo Nickal, Redshirt Sophomore, 184 lbs.
There may not be a hotter wrestler in the country than Bo Nickal, whose last three matches have lasted a total of 7:25. His fall over Hunter Ritter opened up the team deficit to 16-3 to bury the Badgers early in the dual.
The Nittany Lions return home to Rec Hall this Sunday to face Northwestern for the back-end of the split conference weekend.