PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Storms Back Against No. 2 Oklahoma State For NWCA Title

A slow start from No. 1 Penn State (14-0) could not prevent the Nittany Lions from beating No. 2 Oklahoma State (14-1) for their second-straight NWCA Dual Championship title. After losing the first three bouts and falling behind 13-0, Penn State responded with seven-straight wins for a 27-13 victory on the road at the Cowboys’ Gallagher Iba Arena in what may have been the most telling showing from a team that had previously cruised through the dual season.

How It Happened

The dual could not have gotten off to a worse start for Penn State. No. 2 Nick Suriano, who has consistently set the tone for the Nittany Lions early this season, took an early 3-2 lead over No. 11 Nick Piccininni before he went down with an ankle injury in the second period. After the injury timeout, Suriano resumed wrestling but was was in too much pain to finish the period, giving Piccininni an injury default win, which put the Cowboys up 6-0.

While surrendering six bonus points in a bout that Suriano was favored in, what makes the outcome especially bad for the Nittany Lions is the uncertainty about Suriano’s health moving into the Big Ten and NCAA Championships, where he was a strong candidate to win at 125 lbs. The Nittany Lions may have lost the next two bouts, which the Cowboys were favorites in, but George Carpenter and No. 10 Jimmy Gulibon managed to minimize damage and prevent the dual from getting out of hand.

A 17-6 major decision from No. 3 Kaid Brock over Carpenter extended Oklahoma State’s team lead to 10-0. Although Carpenter’s loss put the Cowboys up 10-0, a critical counter-takedown in the third period prevented Brock from picking up a technical fall to keep Penn State in striking distance.

At 141 lbs, Gulibon, one of the hottest wrestlers in the country coming into Sunday, met No. 1 Dean Heil. At the end of the second period, Gulibon and Heil were tied 2-2 when Gulibon nearly took down and pinned Heil but couldn’t score any points because of a questionable no-call and expiring clock. After Gulibon allowed Heil up which made it 3-2, at the end of the third period, Gulibon once again came just as close to putting away the best top 141-pounder in the country but another no-call in favor of Heil put the Cowboys up 13-0.

Heil’s only takedown in that bout was Oklahoma State’s last one until the heavyweight match.

Out of all the highly anticipated top-ten matchups on Sunday, the bout at 149 lbs. was the only one between No. 1 and No. 2 wrestlers and the 13-0 deficit made No. 1 Zain Retherford’s clash with No. 2 Anthony Collica all the more critical.

After two periods, Collica led Retherford 1-0 after two stall calls against the Nittany Lion. To start the third period, Retherford, who had more than two minutes of riding time despite never recording a takedown, escaped to tie the bout. That escape ended up being enough for Retherford as the riding time point pushed him ahead to 2-1 to put Penn State on the board, as it was just entering the heart of its lineup.

Before the break, No. 1 Jason Nolf finally gave the Nittany Lions a characteristic bout. Nolf made a statement with an all-out dominating 24-9 technical fall win over No. 6 Joe Smith, which made the team score 13-8 halfway through.

Even after the intermission, No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph extended the Nittany Lions’ momentum by beating No. 8 Chandler Rogers 12-4 for a major decision and the team’s third-straight win, which cut the deficit to 13-12.

At 174 lbs, No. 7 Mark Hall took a 1-0 lead into the third period over No. 9 Kyle Crutchmer, who immediately escaped to open the final two minutes of the bout and tie the score 1-1. Crutchmer nearly took down Hall but a counter from Hall put him up 3-1 with under 30 seconds to wrestle. After allowing Crutchmer to escape to prevent a tying reversal, Hall gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the afternoon and their fourth-straight win.

No. 2 Bo Nickal followed at 184 lbs with the most Bo Nickal way to show up to a close championship dual — picking up a first period over No. 4 Nolan Boyd. This season, Nickal has now beaten two of the top four wrestlers in his weight class via a fall.

With the Nittany Lions now leading 21-13, after coming all the way back, the last hope for the Cowboys was No. 8 Preston Weigel against No. 9 Matt McCutcheon.

After going down 1-0, McCutcheon scored a takedown to take a 2-1 lead in the third period, but not before Weigel tied it 2-2 with an escape. McCutcheon however picked up another takedown to go up 4-2. An escape and late takedown effort from Weigel nearly kept the Cowboys in the dual, but McCutcheon was able to hold on for the championship-clinching 4-3 win.

To end the dual and the NWCA Dual Championship Title locked up, No. 3 Nick Nevills beat Derek White with a 10-5 decision to finish off the 27-13 title victory.

Wrestler of the Dual

Matt McCutcheon | Junior | 197 lbs

Although he didn’t have the flashiest match of the afternoon, McCutcheon, one of the oldest wrestlers on this Penn State team, was able to grind out a toughly fought 4-3 win against a pretty evenly matched opponent to clinch the title for the Nittany Lions.

What’s Next

Penn State will get a two-week break before the Big Ten Championships at Indiana University on March 4 and 5.

About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci is Onward State’s Social Media Manager, a preferred walk-on honors student, and a sophomore majoring in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. Feel free to follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter and email him at [email protected] to hear the story or if you’re bored and want to chat.


State College Links
More by Anthony

Four Freshmen To Look Out For Who Didn’t Play At Blue-White

Although we fully expect to see Micah Parsons making tackles this season, he likely won’t be the only true freshman contributing.

Penn State To Play Ohio State In 2018 White Out

The Best State College Drunk Food Bracket: Crowning The Champion


Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Loses To No. 1 Stony Brook 21-13

The Nittany Lions had five players finish with three points apiece in Tuesday’s road loss to the undefeated Seawolves.

Tony Carr Signs With Octagon Basketball Agency

Penn State Baseball, Lion’s Pantry Join Forces To Help Fight Food Insecurity

Penn State Men’s Gymnastics Sophomore Stephen Nedoroscik Crowned Pommel Horse National Champion

Penn State Baseball’s Offense Better Suited For Football

Student Life

Penn State Graduate Students Elect Not To Unionize

The Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE), which started its campaign to unionize in January of 2017, attempted to join more than 30 public and private universities with graduate student unions.

Life Is A Journey To Be Experienced, Not Solved: Nathaniel Pinskey’s Senior Column

Night Of Remembrance To Honor Students Who Passed Away This Year

Saquon Barkley Shows Some Skin On SI Cover

The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 26, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Barkley is expected to be a top-five pick, and he and his most vehement supporters say there’s no reason he won’t go No. 1 overall.

Saquon Barkley Welcomes Daughter Before NFL Draft

The baby’s name is Jada Clare Barkley, and it seems both mom and daughter are healthy.

Penn State Graduate Students Elect Not To Unionize

The Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE), which started its campaign to unionize in January of 2017, attempted to join more than 30 public and private universities with graduate student unions.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Life Is A Journey To Be Experienced, Not Solved: Nathaniel Pinskey’s Senior Column

“I made mistakes, I changed my major, I made a fool of myself more often than not, and yet I somehow made it to the last week of classes.”

Send this to a friend