Once again, hopes are high this season for the Nittany Lions as they return to the mat with a solid lineup and anticipation for a seventh national title.
125: True freshman No. 12 Nick Suriano will replace 2016 national champion Nico Megaludis. Suriano is a four-time New Jersey state champion with an all-time high school record of 159-0. He was only taken down once during his entire high school career at Bergen Catholic High School. He’s already predicted to place second at the national championships.
133: Illinois transfer and sophomore No. 9 Jered Cortez will make his debut as a Nittany Lion this season. In high school, he won four-straight state titles in four different weight classes. He redshirted his first year at Illinois and last year’s transfer made him ineligible for the 2015-16 season, but he went 12-0 in open tournaments.
141: Senior No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon is most likely to make his return at 141. Though there are a few other contenders, Gulibon has the experience and he’s the guy to beat. Last year was his first season in this weight class and he placed second in the Big Ten Championships.
149: Junior No. 1 Zain Retherford went 34-0 last year and was both a Big Ten and national champion. Enough said.
157: Sophomore No. 1 Jason Nolf went 33-2 in his debut season last year and was runner-up at the Big Tens and the national championships. Again, enough said.
165: Redshirt freshman No. 8 Vincenzo Joseph is another wrestler making his Nittany Lion debut this season. He won two state titles his junior and senior year at Pittsburgh Central Catholic and went 11-0 in open tournaments last year.
174: Senior Geno Morelli OR sophomore No. 20 Shakur Rasheed. This duo went back and forth for a start last year at 165. Rasheed finished last season with a record of 17-7 and lost to Morelli at the Nittany Lion open. Morelli finished the season at 165 placing eighth at the Big Tens and earned at at-large bid for NCAAs.
184: Sophomore No. 3 Bo Nickal dominated at 174 last season finishing with a record of 33-2, Big Ten champion and runner-up at NCAAs.
197: Junior No. 16 Matt McCutcheon started most of last season at184. He battled a knee injury and back injury at two different points of the season last year and placed 5th at Big Tens.
HWT: Sophomore No. 14 Nick Nevills is finally healthy and ready to go after missing most of last season due to injury.
Penn State’s schedule consists of seven home duals, six away duals and two tournaments before the Dual Series Championships, Big Ten Championships and National Championships. The Nittany Lions’ biggest rivalry matchups will both take place on the road at Iowa and at Ohio State, but both will be aired on the Big Ten Network along with the Rutgers and Lehigh home matches.
The big BJC match will be against Lehigh on Sunday, December 4 and the season kicks off this Friday, November 11 at Army.
Let the stairway to seven begin.