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Five Penn State Wrestlers Claim Title At Nittany Lion Open

Five Penn State wrestlers earned individual titles at the Nittany Lion Open on Sunday in Rec Hall,  a non-team scored open tournament hosted by the Nittany Lion wrestling club.

Penn State, ranked No. 6 in the latest Intermat Tournament Power Index, saw No. 11 Jordan Conaway (125), No. 5 Jimmy Gulibon (133), Jason Nolf (157), No. 3 Matt Brown (174), and No. 19 Matt McCutcheon crowned as champions for the Nittany Lions, wrestling against both collegiate and non-collegiate athletes for other schools, as well as redshirt teammates. Cael Sanderson’s squad posted a 66-26 overall mark at the tournament, sending ten wrestlers to the finals.

Junior Jordan Conaway picked up Penn State’s first title of the day, cruising to three straight wins with two technical falls and a major to advance to the finals, where he handled Dalton Macro, a non-collegiate grappler, 10-3. Sophomore Jimmy Gulibon won the 133-pound title with a 3-1 win over Rutgers’ Anthony Giraldo in the finals while going 2-0 against collegiate competition to win the title.

Two Nittany Lions met in the finals at 157, with true freshman Jason Nolf defeating redshirt freshman Cody Law in a 21-8 major decision to take the crown. Nolf went 5-0 with three pins, a tech fall, and a major on his way to the finals, while Law finished 3-1, including a pin, to take second. Two other Penn State teammates would meet in the finals at 174, with All-American Matt Brown taking on true freshman Bo Nickal. The young grappler from Allen, Texas gave the NCAA finalist all he could handle, with Brown posting a thrilling 10-7 win.

Redshirt freshman Matt McCutcheon won his first Nittany Lion Open title, posting a 4-0 mark with a pin, a tech fall, and a major. Junior Morgan McIntosh also posted a perfect 4-0 mark and took second place at 197, finishing with two pins and two majors, though he did not compete in the finals. At 285, the finals bout between Nittany Lions Jimmy Lawson and true freshman Nick Nevills was not contested and the duo split second place. Lawson was 1-0 (with two more wins over non-collegiate grapplers) and Nevills was 2-0 with a pin (and another pin over a non-collegiate).

Junior Luke Frey was an impressive 5-1 with two majors and a tech fall to place third at 149, while redshirt freshman Kade Moss posted a 3-2 mark to place fourth at 141 and junior Michael Waters went 3-2 at 141 to take fifth. Junior James Frascella posted a 4-2 mark at 184 with a pin, a tech, and a major to place fourth. True freshman Anthony Cassar rolled to 5-2 to place fifth at 197, and redshirt freshman Garett Hammond put together a 4-1 record at 165 to place seventh. True freshman Kenneth Yanovich went 3-3 at 125 and placed eighth, while redshirt freshman Nicholas Weldon went 3-2 and placed seventh at 184.

While the day included a dizzying number of matches, a few Nittany Lions saw limited action. Sophomore Zack Beitz, ranked No. 14 at 149, suffered an upset loss in the opening round of the tournament in his only match of the day, while senior Jon Gingrich, ranked No. 7 at 285, pinned Virginia Tech’s Brandon Taylor in the first round to finish 1-0.

Other notables: Junior Rex Lutz went 2-1 at 174. Redshirting freshman Jordan Pagano went 3-2 at 165, while classmate George Carpenter went 1-1 at 125. Junior Josh Rogers picked up a victory at 197.

Penn State is 3-0 overall, and will open up Big Ten action on Thursday, Dec. 11, at Maryland. The first-ever Big Ten dual between the teams begins at 6 p.m. and will air live on the Big Ten Network.

Finals Recap

125: #11 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. Dalton Macri, UANR, 10-3
133: #5 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. Anthony Giraldo RUT, 3-1
141: Dennis Gustafson VT dec. Tyson Dippery RUT, 8-1
149: Richard Durso F&M dec. Laike Gardner, LEH, 7-5
157: Jason Nolf PSU maj. dec. Cody Law PSU, 21-8
165: Nestor Tafur F&M dec. Craig Eiffert UANR, 6-3
174: #3 Matt Brown PSU dec. Bo Nickal PSU, 10-7
184: #19 Matt McCutcheon PSU maj. dec. Zack Zavatsky VT, 8-0
197: Bryce Barnes, Army W, medical forfeit
285: Not Contested

UA – Note that UA indicates unattached collegiate wrestler
UANR – Note that UANR indicates a Non-Collegiate opponent and that result does NOT count towards individual’s win/loss record.


Photo: GoPSUSports

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.


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