Penn State Wrestling Advances Five Wrestlers To Finals Of NCAA Championships

Sessions Three and Four of the NCAA Wrestling Championships began Friday morning, and Penn State had 27.5 points from Sessions One and Two to put the team comfortably in the lead. The Nittany Lions advanced six wrestlers into the quarterfinals, which took place Friday morning, while two other wrestlers were in the consolation bracket. The Lions would go on to advance five wrestlers into the finals to set the stage for a Saturday they won’t soon forget.

How It Happened

Session Three:

Penn State sent six wrestlers into the quarterfinals, and those wrestlers went a collective 5­1 in their matches. Nico Megaludis defeated Conor Youtsey from Michigan by a 4­0 decision, making him a four-­time All-­American, only the ninth Penn State wrestler to accomplish such a feat. Zain Retherford pinned No. 9 Justin Oliver of Central Michigan in a quarterfinal match at 149 to make him a two­-time All-­American. Morgan McIntosh won by a 16­4 major over Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska, making McIntosh the 25th Nittany Lion to be a three­time All­-American.

The freshmen competing in the quarterfinals stood out as well. Both wrestlers won by major decisions to get their first All-­American awards. Jason Nolf won an 11­3 major over Joseph Smith of Oklahoma State, and Bo Nickal won a 15­4 major over Chandler Rogers of Oklahoma State. Those matches also helped to separate the Nittany Lions from the Cowboys in the team standings. Jordan Conaway was the only wrestler for Penn State to not come away with a victory in the quarterfinals as he lost an 8­4 decision to Cody Brewer of Oklahoma.

In the consolation bracket, Jimmy Gulibon defeated Ian Nickell of Cal State­Bakersfield by a 4­2 decision, and Geno Morelli beat Jake Faust of Duke by a 5­2 decision. Both wrestled later in Session Three. Gulibon fell to Seth Gross of San Diego State by a 10­6 decision, eliminating Gulibon from the tournament. Morelli was also eliminated after his 14­3 major decision loss to No. 14 David McFadden of Virginia Tech.

Session Three Wrestler Of The Meet

Nico Megaludis | Senior | 125-Pound Weight Class

The senior lightweight earned his fourth All­-American award with a quarterfinal victory. He became only the ninth Penn State wrestler to ever receive All-American status four times. With that, he earned the wrestler of the meet honors for Session Three.

Session Four:

Penn State went 7-0 on Friday night as all five wrestlers who advanced to the semifinals advanced to the finals while picking up two victories in the consolation bracket. Jason Nolf continued his strong run with his second win by way of a technical fall. Nolf’s win came at the 5:19 mark by a score of 19-4 over No. 15 Chad Walsh. Zain Retherford continued his streak of dominance with a fall, notching his third of the tournament at the 4:49 mark over No. 5 Alec Panteleo.

The remaining three wrestlers in the semifinals advanced to the final by a decision Those wrestlers were Nico Megaludis with an 8-2 decision, Bo Nickal with a 4-3 decision, and Morgan McIntosh with a 4-2 decision. Jordan Conaway was also victorious in the consolation round with a 7-2 decision, making way for six All-Americans on Cael Sanderson’s squad.

Standings After Day 2:

Penn State 114.0

Oklahoma State 79.5

Iowa 77.5

Virginia Tech 69.5

Ohio State 68.0

Missouri 58.5

Nebraska 56.0

Cornell 53.5

NC State 43.0

Illinois 42.0

Wrester Of The Meet

Zain Retherford | Redshirt Sophomore | 149-Pound Weight Class

Retherford started right where he left off in Day 1 with two more falls to add to his NCAA Championship resume. Retherford leads the team with 23.50 team points and is now one win away from his first National Championship.

What’s Next?

The final sessions of the NCAA Wrestling Championships begin at 11 a.m. for Session Five and 8 p.m. for Session Six. Those two will determine whether or not the Nittany Lions can earn a fifth National Championship in six years.

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About the Author

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman is a writer for Onward State. His hometown is North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, a little under an hour from Pittsburgh. He is a sophomore majoring in Natural Resource Engineering in Biological Engineering. Please e-mail questions and comments to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @cole_man2.

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