No. 1 Wrestling Remains Undefeated In 28-9 Defeat Of Rival Lehigh
No. 1 Penn State wrestling traveled to Lehigh Friday night to take on the No. 14 Mountain Hawks. Even though it was a non-conference match, the Nittany Lions weren’t off the hook. The Mountain Hawks came into the battle with a 12-1 overall record, their only loss coming from Nebraska. Lehigh beat some quality opponents this year, handing out defeats to Pitt, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Cornell among others.
Penn State and Lehigh wrestling have built up an intense rivalry over the years, despite the fact that the teams play in different conferences. This particular match had an anticipated record-breaking crowd at Lehigh and certainly did not disappoint. The Nittany Lions cruised to a 28-9 victory with some very important moments coming along with the win.
How It Happened
Starting at 125, No. 4 Nico Megaludis was involved in a tight match with No. 13 Darian Cruz from Lehigh. After going up 2-0 with a take down in the first, Megaludis never let the lead go and he won 7-1. At 133, Jordan Conaway wrestled Mason Beckman. Conaway dominated all of the match as he racked up 3:02 minutes of riding time in an 8-2 win to give the Nittany Lions a 6-0 lead. At 141, No. 14 Jimmy Gulibon wrestled No. 18 Randy Cruz in a matchup of two evenly-ranked opponents. After a scoreless first two periods, Randy Cruz recorded four points in the third period to beat Gulibon 4-0. The loss cut the Nittany Lion lead to 6-3.
Needing a few extra points after the loss, No. 1 Zain Retherford proved why he’s the best wrestler at 149 in his 8-0 victory over Laike Gardner, recording 2:35 minutes of riding time. Penn State led 10-3 after the win. At 157, Jason Nolf continued to dominate his weight class with another pin. This time, his victim was Ian Brown. While Cael Sanderson’s unbeaten record at 157 may be safe for now, Nolf is definitely proving his abilities this season.
In the first match after halftime, No. 17 Shakur Rasheed wrestled Drew Longo at 165. Rasheed dominated the first two periods but Longo came back in the third. After an exciting third period, Rasheed ultimately won 10-8 to put the Nittany Lions up 19-3. At 174, Bo Nickal controlled a worn-out Gordon Wolf en route to a 14-6 major decision, giving Penn State the guaranteed victory. In the most anticipated match of the night, No. 6 Matt McCutcheon wrestled No. 3 Nathaniel Brown. Brown has had McCutcheon’s number through the years, and McCutcheon wanted to change that in this match. After a scoreless first period, Brown dominated McCutcheon to a 6-0 defeat of the sixth best wrestler in the weight class. The loss cut the lead to 23-6 Nittany Lions.
At 197, No. 1 Morgan McIntosh wrestled No. 17 John Bolich. McIntosh went ahead 10-0 in the first with two four point near falls and he continued to a 16-0 technical fall, giving the Nittany Lions a 28-6 lead. Nick Nevills made his long awaited debut at heavyweight for Penn State — and for the most part — he didn’t disappoint. He was in the match the whole time with No. 14 Max Wessell. He had a chance to win at the end, but he couldn’t quite get a take down call, so Wessell won 5-4. The Nittany Lions still managed a dominant 28-9 victory.
Wrestler Of The Match
Nick Nevills | Redshirt freshman | Heavyweight
Penn State wrestling has mastered almost every aspect of the sport this season — with the exception of heavyweight. Although Nevills didn’t win his match, he was right in it with the No. 14 ranked heavyweight wrestler. He gave the fans something to look forward in the coming year, and potentially even this year.
The Nittany Lions are back in action at home Saturday at 7 p.m. against Michigan State in the last match of the season. It will be the final test before Penn State faces the toughest competition in the nation in the Big Ten Championships and the National Championships.