Penn State Wrestling Wins Southern Scuffle, Breaks Team Scoring Record
Penn State wrestling crowned six individual champions and tallied a tournament record 216.5 points en route to its second consecutive Southern Scuffle title.
Penn State comfortably beat out second-place Oklahoma State (188.5 points) and has now won eight of 15 Southern Scuffles, which is held every year on January 1 and 2 at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The 18 Nittany Lions who entered the tournament were a combined 64-17, with 12 placing. To put that in perspective, that’s 17 percent of all wrestlers to place.
Senior Bo Nickal was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler for the second time after pinning his way to his third Scuffle title. He also earned the Gorriaran Award for having the most pins in the least time. He needed only 10 minutes and 32 seconds to record five falls.
Nickal’s rampage included the 100th win and 50th fall of his career. He enters the Big Ten portion of his senior season as a Hodge favorite, with 102 wins, and chasing teammate Jason Nolf’s program pin record. Nolf broke Josh Moore, David Taylor, and Zain Retherford’s record of 53 falls with a pin in the semi-finals against Dom Mandarino of Stanford.
Nolf won his third Scuffle title by picking up two others falls and tech-falling teammate Bo Pipher in the 157-lb. final. Pipher entered the tournament unseeded but made an improbable run to the finals. He upset No. 14 Dan Reed of Columbia early in the tournament with a 16-0 technical fall and won three more bouts before falling to Nolf.
No. 4 Nick Lee, No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph, No. 1 Mark Hall, and No. 3 Shakur Rasheed all also won individual titles at their respective weights.
Joseph’s title was highlighted by a gritty win in the 165-lb. final when he beat No. 3 Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven 6-5 off of a last-minute takedown. Hall won his title in similar fashion with an exciting win over Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith in the closing seconds. Hall and Smith were tied 1-1 late in the third period when a clutch takedown gave Hall a 5-1 win for his third Scuffle title.
Lee continued his sophomore surge and looked especially impressive in the tournament, scoring bonus points in every bout en route to the finals, where he topped Stanford’s Real Woods 6-3.
One year after bursting onto the scene during the Scuffle and earning Outstanding Wrestler honors, Rasheed claimed his second straight title, this time at 184 lbs. He pinned No. 17 Sam Colbray of Iowa State in the semifinals and outscored his opponents 43-4.
No. 2 Anthony Cassar placed second at heavyweight after falling to No. 3 Derek White of Oklahoma State in the finals in a tight 3-2 decision. Cassar finished the tournament 4-1 with four majors to reach the finals. Two-time All-American Nick Nevills joined Cassar on the heavyweight podium after going 5-1 and placing third in a strong showing after losing the starting job to Cassar. Nevills also fell to White, losing 4-0 in the semifinals.
No. 15 Roman Bravo-Young and No. 10 Brady Berge both bounced back from semi-final losses to place third as well. Jarod Verkleeren, who Berge is fighting for the starting job at 149 lbs., didn’t place after finishing 2-2.
Freshman Gavin Teasdale was supposed to burn his redshirt and wrestle attached for the Nittany Lions but ended up withdrawing before the tournament. Fellow freshman Brody Teske made his and collegiate debut while wrestling unattached. He won his first two bouts before losing by tech fall to Lock Haven’s Luke Werner and medically forfeiting out of the tournament.
Freshman Mason Manville finished seventh at 165 lbs. to cap off a 4-2 tournament.
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Both players will be suspended until August 1, but it’s currently unclear whether or not their suspensions will impact their game availability.
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