Five out of six ain’t bad: Penn State crowned Big Ten Champions
This is the fifth Big Ten championship the team has won in the past six seasons. The Nittany Lions sat on top of the scoreboard with 150.5 points followed by Iowa with 127.0 and Ohio State with 122.0.
Along with the team title, the Nittany Lions took home three first place individual titles.
Sophomore Zain Retherford claimed the first title at 141 lbs. and kept is record clean going 4-0 in the tournament and 29-0 overall this season.
Redshirt freshman Bo Nickal won his title in his typical dominating style. Before the finals he won with a major decision and a pin earlier in the tournament. In the finals, his ruthless, dominant style got him into a little bit of trouble as he body slammed his opponent and got a potentially dangerous hold call. He was the only freshman to earn a Big Ten title in the tournament.
Lastly, calm, cool and collected senior Morgan McIntosh won his second Big Ten championship title at 197 lbs. and also continues an undefeated season at 28-0.
Penn State sat comfortably in first place for the entire tournament, but a few surprises in the finals kept fans on the edge of their seats.
First of all, it was a surprise that junior Jimmy Gulibon was competing in the finals. He was the No. 8 seed in the tournament and has had a bit of an inconsistent season so far this year. He surprised everyone with a second round tiebreaker upset over the No. 1 seed Micah Jordan from Ohio State in the quarterfinals. He made it all the way to the finals but couldn’t handle the No. 3 seed from Rutgers.
To everyone’s heartbreak, senior Nico Megaludis fell short once again to Ohio State’s No. 1 Nathan Tomasello in the finals. Similar to last time, Tomasello scrambled to score a late takedown for the title, but the two will most likely meet again at NCAAs.
The biggest surprise of all was redshirt freshman Jason Nolf’s loss in the 157 lbs. finals. Some said he was the next Cael Sanderson of college wrestling, but an off match on Sunday handed him his first loss of the season. The No. 2 seed from Illinois, Isaiah Martinez, simply out wrestled Nolf in the second round tiebreaker match that ended in Martinez’ :22 riding time advantage for the win. The two will meet again at the NCAAs and Nolf will most likely not let Martinez beat him again.
After a long week off, Penn State makes the trip to Madison Square Garden for wrestling lovers’ favorite weekend of the year. The National Championships begin Thursday, March 17 promptly at 11 a.m. As always, the final matches will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.
There will be eight (potentially nine- Geno Morelli is a wild card at 165 lbs.) Nittany Lions competing at the championships and fans await for them to top off their undefeated season with National Championship title.
Weekend Summary Stats:
125: No. 3 seed Nico Megaludis, 2ND PLACE
Big win: Semifinals, 4-3 TB, No. 2 seed Thomas Gilman- Iowa
Finals: L, 1-3 SV, No. 1 seed Nathan Tomasello- Ohio State
133: No. 3 seed Jordan Conaway, 4TH PLACE
Big win: Cn Semi, 6-4, No. 5 seed Eric Montoya- Nebraska
3rd place match: L, 4-5, No. 6 seed Ryan Taylor-Wisconsin
141: No. 8 seed Jimmy Gulibon, 2ND PLACE
Big win: Rd. 2, 3-2 TB2, No. 1 seed Micah Jordan- Ohio State
Finals: L, 0-9, No. 3 seed Anthony Ashnault- Rutgers
149: No. 1 seed Zain Retherford, 1ST PLACE
Big win: Finals, 4-0, No. 2 seed Brandon Sorensen- Iowa
157: No. 1 seed Jason Nolf, 2ND PLACE
Big win: Semifinals, 21-3 (TF; 6:02) No. 5 seed Edwin Cooper- Iowa
Finals: L, 3-4 TB2 (riding time), No. 2 seed Isaiah Martinez- Illinois
165: No 7 seed Geno Morelli, 8TH PLACE
Big win: Cn 2, 9-3, Bryce Martin- Indiana
7th place: L, 2-4 SV, No. 8 seed Patrick Rhoads-Iowa
174: No. 1 seed Bo Nickal, 1ST PLACE
Big win: Finals, 18-9, No. 3 seed Zach Brunson- Illinois.
184: No. 2 seed Matt McCutcheon, 5TH PLACE
Big win: 5th place, 3-1, No. 7 seed Jeff Koepke- Illinois
197: No. 1 seed Morgan McIntosh, 1ST PLACE
Big win: Finals, 3-2, No. 3 seed Nathan Burak- Iowa
285: No. 8 seed Nick Nevills, no place
Big win: Cn. 1, 9-1, Garret Goldman- Indiana