Wrestling Shuts Out Army To Start Season
The No. 4 Penn State wrestling team (1-0) got off to a fast start in defending its NCAA team title on Friday night in a season opening 45-0 dual win over the Army Black Knights (0-1). A number of new faces led the charge as the Nittany Lions posted bonus points in eight of the ten matches.
How It Happened
The dual began at 125 where freshman sensation No. 12 Nick Suriano started his college career with an exclamation point by majoring Trey Chalifoux 15-4. Also in his Penn State debut after transferring from Illinois, sophomore No. 9 Jered Cortez followed with a major decision of his own by routing Austin Harry 14-1.
One of the most anticipated matches of the evening came at 141 between senior No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon of Penn State and No. 17 Logan Everett of Army. Despite the parity between the two wrestlers in the rankings, Gulibon also picked up a 17-6 major for the Nittany Lions after dictating the pace of the match for its entirety, letting Everett escape after nearly every takedown only to set up another opportunity for two points.
The lower weights were Army’s chance to stay in the dual before the big guns came out for Penn State. Instead, the Black Knights trailed 12-0 after the first three matches with No.1 Zain Retherford and No. 1 Jason Nolf awaiting at 149 and 157 respectively.
Retherford, the reigning NCAA champion at 149, extended his unblemished dual meet record to 33-0 with a 21-3 technical fall over Matt Kelly. Retherford led just 3-1 after the first period but exploded for 18 points during the next two periods to pick up the tech fall.
After finishing second in the country at 157 as a redshirt freshman, Nolf followed by beginning his redshirt sophomore campaign with a first period pin against No. 14 Russ Parsons to give the Nittany Lions a 23-0 lead halfway through the dual.
At 165, redshirt freshman No. 8 Vincenzo Joseph started his Penn State career off with a 21-6 technical fall over Andrew Mendell to put the Nittany Lions up 28-0.
After trailing 4-3 at the end of the second period of the 174 match, Geno Morelli scored three points in the final period and avoided a last-second takedown attempt to beat Ben Harvey 6-4 in the first match that didn’t end with Penn State receiving bonus points.
Coming off of a second-place finish last season at 174, No. 3 Bo Nickal promptly pinned Samson Imonode 25 seconds into his first match wrestling at 184.
In one of the only competitive matches of the dual, No. 16 Matt McCutcheon upset No. 11 Rocco Caywood 4-2. The two were tied after the second period but McCutcheon locked up the decision with an escape in the third period and a riding time point.
No. 13 Nick Nevills closed out the shutout with a 17-2 technical fall over David Farr in the heavyweight match.
Wrestler of the Match
Vincenzo Joseph | Redshirt Freshman | 165
In his first college dual meet after going 11-0 wrestling unattached last season, Joseph impressed by getting the technical fall and showing that he belongs in the potent middleweight part of the Penn State lineup.
The Nittany Lions head back to Rec Hall for their home opener against No. 16 Stanford on Sunday at 2 p.m. when Cael Sanderson will go for his 100th career win at Penn State.