Penn State Wrestling Remains Undefeated In Beatdown Of Illinois
The undefeated Penn State wrestling team traveled to Illinois on Saturday afternoon to take on the Illini. Penn State came in with a perfect 10-0 record while Illinois held a 10-3 record — with all three losses coming in Big Ten action. Penn State shocked the Illinois crowd with an impressive first half which featured three pins. The second half was slowed down a little by Illinois, but Penn State’s lead proved insurmountable as the Nittany Lions went on to win 30-15.
How It Happened
Starting in the 141, Jimmy Gulibon wrestled Mousa Jodeh. It was a tight match, but Gulibon controlled much of the riding time en route to a 6-1 win over Jodeh. In the 149, Zain Retherford took on Kyle Langenderfer. Retherford proved his dominance in the weight class with a pin in the first period. Penn State jumped out to a 9-0 lead.
In the 157, No. 3 Jason Nolf wrestled the defending National Champion and No. 1 Isaiah Martinez. Martinez had gone 61 straight matches without being beaten. Nolf surprised everybody with a pin on Martinez, giving him a strong case to become the new top ranked wrestler in the 157. After the fall, Penn State led 15-0. In the 165, Shakur Rasheed jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on Steven Rodrigues, but Rodrigues was able to come all the way back to beat Rasheed and stop the bleeding for the Illini. In the final match before half, No. 1 Bo Nickal wrestled No. 5 Zac Brunson in the 174. Nickal continued to impress coaches and fans alike with a pin on the fifth ranked wrestler in the nation in the weight class. Penn State led 21-3 at the half.
After the half, in the 184, No. 10 Matt McCutcheon took on Jeff Koepke. It was a close match for much of the time, but McCutcheon appeared to injure his knee after a take down from Koepke. McCutcheon lost by injury default which cut the lead to 21-9. In the 197, No. 1 Morgan McIntosh wrestled Andre Lee, who had not won a match in his last five. McIntosh continued that losing streak for Lee, as McIntosh won 14-3 to give Penn State a 25-9 lead.
In the heavyweight, Jan Johnson made another appearance for the Nittany Lions as he took on No. 20 Brooks Black. Black controlled much of the match, but Johnson was able to keep it close, losing only 6-2. In the 125, No. 4 Nico Megaludis took on a fiesty Francis Edelen. Although Edelen provided a tough contest, Megaludis was too much for him. Megaludis won by technical fall 25-9, and Penn State led 30-12. In the final match of the day, No. 5 Jordan Conaway took on No. 2 Zane Richards. The second best wrestler in the weight class was too much for Conaway, and Richards won 8-2, but the Nittany Lions won 30-15.
Wrestler Of The Match
Jason Nolf | Redshirt Freshman | 157-Pound Weight Class
Wrestler of the match honors go to Jason Nolf, who surprised everybody with his pin on the defending National Champion Isaiah Martinez. Martinez was unbeaten in his previous 61 matches, but the redshirt freshman Jason Nolf came out fast and aggressive and was able to dominate the match.
The Nittany Lions will return home to face Michigan in a white out match on Sunday, January 31. The road will not get any easier for Penn State as Michigan has been solid all year and currently ranks at No. 10 in the nation.