Penn State Wrestling Dominates Ohio State 31-6
Coming into the weekend, the Penn State wrestling team was undefeated, but hadn’t been challenged in a dual meet to date. The defending national champions had won every match by at least ten points, the closest coming against No. 22 Lehigh. Last week’s national rankings reflected that fact, as the team dropped from the top spot down to No. 2. Sunday’s match against No. 6 Ohio State was the Nittany Lions’ first big chance of the year to make a statement to the rest of the country that they were a force to be reckoned with.
After Sunday’s match, they can consider that statement “made.”
Highlighted by Zain Retherford’s upset over two-time national champion Logan Steiber, the Nittany Lions (6-0, 1-0 B1G) blew out the Buckeyes (4-1, 0-1 B1G) 31-6 in front of another sold-out crowd at Rec Hall. The match also marked the return of senior Ed Ruth, who had been suspended for a DUI arrest.
After splitting the first two matches, Penn State went into the first marquee matchup of the day up 5-3. Retherford, a true freshman ranked No. 8 in the country, took on No. 1 Logan Steiber. Steiber had won 47 straight matches, including the last two national championships, and would be the toughest test in Retherford’s young career.
“[Senior] David [Taylor] obviously knows a lot about wrestling, and he helped me out this week,” Retherford said of his preparation for the bout. “But I think it was a collective effort. Everyone helped me out a little bit. I had to be aware of what he was doing, but in the end, I just moved forward and went where I felt comfortable.”
Retherford was taken down early, but battled back and escaped the first period only down 2-1. Steiber chose to be down to start the second period, but Retherford was able to stay on top and ride out the entire two-minute period, swinging the riding time in his favor. Neither could record another point in the third period, and the bout headed to a sudden victory period. The young freshman was able to take down Steiber in less than 30 seconds into the sudden victory period, sending the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
“I usually don’t celebrate too much after a match, but the crowd definitely got me fired up,” Retherford said. “I kinda lost my head for a second. It was electric in there, it was really exciting.” Retherford’s win ignited both the crowd and his teammates, as the Nittany Lions went on to win the next 5 bouts. Top-ranked David Taylor earned a dominating tech fall, and No. 3 Matt Brown tallied a major decision in the run.
No. 1 Ed Ruth started rusty in his first match since returning from suspension, as he was taken down just six seconds into the first period. Ruth was able to shake the rust off, however, and gained a 14-3 major decision over central PA native Kenny Courts.
The Nittany Lions will face another tough test this weekend when they travel to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to wrestle the third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. While Iowa is in the Big Ten, the match will be considered “non-conference.” Due to the Big Ten’s rotating schedule, the two teams were not slated to meet during the conference season, so the schools decided to schedule a non-conference meet in Iowa over Twitter.
The match, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 21, is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. It will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
125 lbs.: #3 Nico Megaludis (PSU) defeated #19 Nick Roberts (OSU) by tech fall, 21-4.
133: #6 Johnni DeJulius (OSU) defeated #15 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) by decision, 5-3.
141: #8 Zain Retherford (PSU) defeated #1 Logan Steiber (OSU) by decision, 4-2.
149: Zach Beitz (PSU) defeated #19 Ian Paddock (OSU) by decision, 5-3.
157: James Vollrath (PSU) defeated Randy Languis (OSU) by decision, 11-5.
165: #1 David Taylor (PSU) defeated Joe Grandominico (OSU) by tech fall, 20-5.
174: #3 Matt Brown (PSU) defeated Mark Martin (OSU) by major decision, 16-4.
184: #1 Ed Ruth (PSU) defeated #12 Kenny Courts (OSU) by major decision, 14-3.
197: #5 Nick Heflin (OSU) defeated Wes Phipps (PSU) by decision, 3-1.
285: #12 Jimmy Lawson (PSU) defeated Nick Tavanello (OSU) by major decision, 15-4.