Penn State Wrestling Earns Seven Top-Five Seeds For NCAA Championships
After a wild weekend of conference tournaments and two days of committee meetings, the dust settled and the seedings for next weekend’s NCAA Championships were released Wednesday evening.
Reigning national champions and freshly crowned Big Ten champs Zain Retherford and Bo Nickal each earned the top seeds at 149 and 184 lbs., respectively. Mark Hall came in at No. 2 in the 174 lb. bracket after winning his first conference title over the weekend.
Jason Nolf, who placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships after medically forfeiting out of the semifinals, earned the No. 3 seed at 157 lbs.
Nolf will wrestle in what could be considered the “Group of Death” with Nolf, the reigning national champion and top wrestler in the weight class for the entire regular season, No. 2 Joey Lavalee of Missouri, the runner-up at 157 lbs. last year, No. 6 Michael Kemerer of Iowa, who sat at No. 2 behind Nolf all season, and No. 7 Micah Jordan of Ohio State, who pinned Kemerer and placed second at the Big Ten Championships, all on one side of the bracket. Also included in that bracket at 157 lbs. is Rutgers’ John Van Brill, who Nolf wrestled before going down with the injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Vincenzo Joseph and Nick Nevills also received the No. 3 seeds at 165 lbs. and 285 lbs., respectively.
Nevills came in right behind the Big Ten’s elite top heavyweights, Kyle Snyder and Adam Coon. Had Nevills been seeded fourth, he would’ve had to wrestle his younger brother AJ Nevills, Fresno State’s freshman heavyweight and the Big 12 runner-up.
The seeding worked in favor of Team Nevills. Wayne and Kerri Nevills, the parents of Nick and AJ as well as former Stanford wrestler Zach and incoming Penn State recruit Seth, told Onward State they had been rooting all day against their sons having to meet in the tournament.
In a loaded field at 141 lbs., where the two-time reigning national champion is seeded sixth, Nick Lee received the No. 8 seed. He finished third in the Big Ten Championships, his first taste of postseason wrestling. To reach the finals, Lee will likely have to go through both top-seeded Bryce Meredith of Wyoming and No. 4 Joey McKenna of Ohio State, who narrowly beat him in their dual meeting.
Shakur Rasheed earned the No. 5 seed at 197 lbs. He will most likely have to face top-seeded Kollin Moore, who beat him in the Big Ten finals over the weekend, to reach the NCAA Finals.
Corey Keener was the only Nittany Lion to go unseeded. His first bout will come against No. 11 Dom Forys of Pitt.
After an eleventh place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Carson Kuhn fell short of qualifying off of one of the Big Ten’s automatic bids and didn’t receive one of the four at-large bids at 125 lbs. that were announced Tuesday afternoon.