No. 2 Wrestling Dominates Lock Haven In Season Opener
No. 2 Penn State opened its season Friday night in Rec Hall against Lock Haven, beginning the season in friendly confines. The match featured a little local rivalry, as the two teams are separated by only a short distance. Penn State controlled the match from start to finish, shutting out the Bald Eagles 50-0.
How It Happened
The first match of the night featured Nico Megaludis, the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the nation in the 125-pound weight class. He won by fall in the third period of the match to put the Nittany Lions up 6-0. Jordan Conaway was up next, squaring off against Lock Haven’s Bob Rehm. Although he didn’t earn a fall, he won by way of technical fall with a score of 19-4 to mount the Nittany Lions’ charge and put the team up 11-0.
The 141-pound weight class featured Jimmy Gulibon for Penn State, who won by decision 3-1. It was a close match until the third period when Gulibon managed to hold his opponent down for the remainder of the period for the eventual win.
Zain Retherford also made his return to the mat, taking on Lock Haven’s Kyle Hammond in the 149-pound weight class. Retherford won easily via fall to put the Nittany Lions up 20-0 in the match, putting the Bald Eagles in an undesirable position. Freshman Jason Nolf won by fall against Lock Haven’s Aaron McKinney, and the youngster looked aggressive all match — something that bodes well for the future of Penn State wrestling. Redshirt freshman Shakur Rasheed won by injury default, and the Nittany Lions led 32-0.
The much anticipated debut of Bo Nickal was up next, and he did not disappoint. After an incredible display of strength complemented by a number of violent takedowns, he eventually won the match by way of technical fall 20-6 to increase Penn State’s lead to 37-0. Matt McCutcheon followed Nickal’s performance with a fall, putting the Nittany Lions ahead 43-0, putting this one well out of reach for the visitors. Redshirt senior Morgan McIntosh won by major decision, the lead increased to 47-0.
Perhaps the most exciting moment of the match came when Jan Johnson came out in the 285-pound weight class. The redshirting linebacker was a crowd-favorite, with resounding applause coming with each point Johnson earned. He won by decision to put the meet away, cementing the dominant 50-0 victory.
Wrestler Of The Match
Jan Johnson gets the Player of the Match award tonight. Even though he wasn’t the best wrestler out there, he proved he could hold his own in a Division I wrestling ring, and his performance spoke for itself. Although he may not see much time this year for Cael Sanderson’s squad, tonight was Johnson’s night.
The Nittany Lions are back at it again on Sunday, November 15 as they travel to take on Virginia Tech in a battle of top-ten programs. Penn State will look for a statement non-conference win early in the season to solidify itself as a major contender this year. It figures to be one of Sanderson’s toughest challenges of the season, and the hostile road environment should provide his men with a test.