Penn State Wrestling & NLWC Add Four To U.S. National Team In Session III Of U.S. Olympic Trials Wrestling

Session II of the U.S. Olympic trials took place Saturday morning in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Multiple members of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (NLWC) and Penn State wrestling battled in consolation and championship best-of-three bouts to try and earn a spot on the U.S. National Team. This session was led by Thomas Gilman, Nick Lee, Zain Retherford, and Mitchell Mesenbrink adding their names to the USA roster.

How It Happened


57 Kilograms: Thomas Gilman

In the first bout against Spencer Lee of Hawkeye WC, Gilman tied the score 1-1 early in the first period. Gilman suffered a four-point run from Lee and was down 5-1, but quickly flipped it to earn four of his own. Lee challenged this move, ultimately succeeding to make the score 6-3. Gilman could not mount the comeback and dropped the bout 6-3.

During the second bout of the best-of-three series, Lee jumped out ahead 2-0 before Gilman tied it 2-2 in the second. But, Lee added six more points to make it 8-2 before ultimately getting the fall against Gilman.

Gilman earned second place and a spot on the U.S. National Team.

65 Kilograms: Nick Lee vs. Zain Retherford

Two members of the NLWC faced off in the best-of-three final.

Lee got the action started, going up 1-0 in the first period. Retherford tied it up 1-1 and a lengthy amount of blood time was needed to address an injury on Lee. Following that, Retherford took the lead and the win 2-1 in the second.

The second bout for the pair had a stronger start for Retherford, jumping to an early 5-0 lead. Some more blood time was needed in the second bout, but Retherford held on and defeated Lee 5-0.

With that, Retherford will travel to Turkey to qualify the weight for the U.S. while Lee earned second place and a spot on the U.S. National Team.

74 Kilograms: Jason Nolf vs. Kyle Dake

In another round of NLWC teammates, Jason Nolf faced off against Kyle Dake.

Top-seeded Dake took control of the match early, earning a 2-0 lead in the first period. Dake added two more in the second, and Nolf got on the board with one. The 4-1 score held strong for the remainder of the second half and Dake took the first-round win.

The remainder of the series will be wrestled in Session IV.

86 Kilograms: Aaron Brooks vs. David Taylor

Nittany Lion alums and NLWC members Aaron Brooks and David Taylor battled in the first of a best-of-three series.

Brooks stunned the BJC when he was the first to score a takedown and go up 2-0 in the first. Taylor cut that lead in half 2-1 with a step-out point. Brooks added another takedown and two more points in the second and earned the round one win 4-1.

The duo will compete again in Session IV.

97 Kilograms: Kyle Snyder

In his only bout of the third session, Kyle Snyder of NLWC wrestled Issac Trumble of Wolfpack RTC.

Snyder was first on the board in taking a 2-0 lead and held that through the first half. In the second half, Snyder continued to add points and finished up the first round against Trumble with a 5-0 win.

Snyder will also return in session IV.


74 Kilograms: Mitchell Mesenbrink

Mesenbrink started against Quincy Monday of New Jersey Regional Training Center with an offensive charge to lead 4-1 early in the first. The Nittany Lion scored once again to hold a 6-1 lead in the first half. In the second, Mesenbrink continued to roll and scored six more points to finish with a tech fall win 12-1 with 20 seconds left in the bout.

The Nittany Lion wrestled for a second time against Jarrett Jacques of TSWC.

Mesenbrink was on fire again with two points in the first 30 seconds and an 8-0 lead with 1:37 left in the first. The tech fall came soon after and Mesenbrink won 10-0 in the first half.

Mesenbrink was set to go against Jordan Burroughs for the second time to fight for third place, but a no-show from Burroughs gave Mesenbrink third place and a spot on the U.S. National Team.

86 Kilograms: Max Dean vs. Mark Hall

Max Dean of NLWC wrestled Mark Hall of NLWC. Hall was on top from the start with a 2-0 lead after an early scramble. The score was upped again by Hall 6-0 by the end of the first half. Dean came out in the second and scored two, but Hall kept up his momentum and ended the bout early with a tech fall 12-2 with 37 seconds left in the second.

This loss marked the end of Dean’s run in the trials.

86 Kilograms: Mark Hall

Following his win against his teammate, Hall faced Trent Hidlay of Wolfpack RTC.

Hall once again started with a 2-0 lead, but Hidlay quickly tied it up 2-2. Hall earned one to regain the lead at 3-2 and held that score through the end of the first half. However, Hidlay came out hot in the second half and scored seven to take it 9-4 from Hall.

Hall also finished his Olympic trial run and announced his retirement.

125 Kilograms: Greg Kerkvliet

Greg Kerkvliet of NLWC went up against Wyatt Hendrickson of AFRTC.

Kerkvliet was first to attack with a 4-0 score off the bat and upped it to 5-0 by the end of the first half. The intensity only picked up for Kerkvliet as he finished with a technical fall 11-0 with 1:44 remaining in the second half.

Then, Kerkvliet battled for third place against Dom Bradley of SKWC. Kerkvliet battled hard, holding a 1-0 lead throughout the first half. However, Bradley battled back to tie the score 2-2. Despite the stellar defense, Bradley took third place based on criteria and ended Kerkvliet’s tournament.

What’s Next?

The final session of the U.S. Olympic trials will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, in the Bryce Jordan Center.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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