Penn State Nittany Lions with Three Finalists at Big 10 Wrestling Tournament

Nick Suriano of Penn State University gets ready to wrestle in his 125 bout. (The Express/Tim Weight)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind; March 4, 2017 – No. 1 Penn State (14-0, 9-0 B1G) sits in second place after the second session of the 2017 Big Ten Championships at Indiana University. Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad has three wrestlers in tomorrow’s championship finals. Eight wrestlers are still alive as Penn State looks to win its second straight and sixth overall Big Ten Championship.

Penn State is in second place in the team race. Ohio State is in first at 117.0, followed by Penn State with 98.5 and Iowa in third with 95.0. Penn State has seven through to the NCAA Championships with one wrestler needing one more win to become Penn State’s eight automatic qualifiers. The Nittany Lions have three wrestlers through to tomorrow afternoon’s finals, airing live on the Big Ten Network at 3 p.m.

Senior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 141, took on Michigan’s Sal Profaci in the second round of consolations, kicking off Penn State’s session. Gulibon gave up a reversal to start the second period and fell behind 2-0, but the Lion senior roared back to post a strong 7-3 decision with 1:43 in riding time to move into the consolation quarters and punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships. Gulibon lost to Maryland’s Ryan Diehl in conso quarters and will wrestle for seventh place tomorrow morning.

Junior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 149, was the first of seven Penn State semifinalists. Retherford met Maryland’s Alfred Bannister and pinned the Terrapin. Retherford took Bannister down midway through the first period and two turns later led 10-0 after one period. He led 12-0 after two periods and, after Bannister chose down to start the third period, turned him for the pin at the 6:01 mark. Retherford’s 3-0 performance with three pins has him wrestling in tomorrow’s Big Ten title bout.

Sophomore Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 157, took on No. 9 Jake Short of Minnesota in the semis. Nolf led 5-4 after one, giving up a first period takedown. The Lion then blew the bout open to lead 13-6 after two, including a dazzling late cradle on the edge of the mat to open up the big lead. After a couple third period takedowns, Nolf wrapped up another cradle and this time finished off the move by getting a pin at the 6:09 mark. Nolf’s 2-0 day, with two pins, has him in tomorrow’s finals as well.

Red-shirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 165, met top-seed and top-ranked Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the semifinals. The duo wrestled a fast pace in the first period with Martinez finishing off two takedowns to lead 4-2 after the opening period. Martinez staved off a late Joseph rally, including a late reversal, to post the 8-5 win. Joseph moves to consolation action tomorrow morning, looking to place as high as third.

True freshman Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), the No. 2 seed at 174, faced No. 11 Zach Brunson of Illinois in the semifinals. Hall used a first period takedown and strong defense to post a hard-fought 4-2 win. The victory moved the Lion, who went 2-0 on the day, into tomorrow’s finals.

Sophomore Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), the No. 1 seed at 184, faced No. 8 Myles Martin of Ohio State in the semifinals. Nickal gave up a first and third period takedowns and was upset 6-4 by the Buckeye, suffering his first loss of the season. Nickal, who went 1-1 today, will continue action in consolation semis tomorrow, looking to finish as high as third.

Junior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 197, took on top-seed and No. 2 Brett Pfarr of Minnesota in the semifinals. McCutcheon opened up an early lead with a first period takedown and led 2-1 after one period. But Pfarr used a takedown and four near fall points on a scramble in the second to open up a lead and went on to post the 11-3 major over McCutcheon. McCutcheon, 1-1 on the day, will wrestle in consolation semifinal action tomorrow, looking to finish as high as third.

Sophomore Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 285, met No. 2 Connor Medbery of Wisconsin in the semifinals. Nevills led 1-0 early in the second before Medbery notched the bout’s only takedown. The senior Badger rode that takedown to a 3-2 win over Nevills. Nevills, who needs one more win to clinch a spot in NCAAs, now moves into the consolation semifinals tomorrow, looking to place as high as third.

True freshman Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J.), the No. 2 seed at 125, ended his tournament with an early injury default Saturday morning. Suriano, 0-1 at the tourney, will be in the pool for an at-large bid at 125 when the NCAA announces the full field (including at-large bids) for the 2017 NCAA Championships. The announcement takes place on Wednesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. Eastern on NCAA.com. Red-shirt freshman Triston Law (Windber, Pa.) went 0-2 in session one and bowed out of the tournament at 133.

Seven Nittany Lions (Gulibon, Retherford, Nolf, Joseph, Hall, Nickal and McCutcheon) have earned spots in the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships two weeks from now in St. Louis’ Scottrade Center on March 16-18. With the Big Ten getting only five automatic spots at 285, Nevills needs one more win tomorrow to secure his spot. Penn State posted a 4-5 overall record in session two and is 13-10 overall. Penn State has picked up 18.0 bonus point off nine pins after day one of the event.

Penn State will continue its drive for the Big Ten title on Sunday at 12 p.m. with consolation action and seventh-place bouts. The Big Ten Championship Finals, and placing bouts, will air live on the Big Ten Network at 3 p.m. Eastern. The Nittany Lions, now Big Ten Regular Season (dual meet) Champions and NWCA National Dual Meet Champions, are the defending Big Ten Champion and have won five of the last six Big Ten crowns.

Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. The 2016-17 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

2017 Big Ten Championships – Team Standings (top five) after Session 2:

March 4, 2017 – Assembly Hall – Bloomington, Ind.

1: Ohio State – 117.0

2: PENN STATE – 98.5

3: Iowa – 95.0

4: Minnesota – 81.0

5: Nebraska – 79.5

Weight-by-weight agate (rankings listed are Coaches Poll as of 2/23/17)

* indicates unattached wrestler, not eligible for team scoring

125: #2 Nick Suriano, Fr. – 2nd seed – 0-1 overall, DNP

Rd. 1: vs. Ben Thornton, Purdue – L, inj. def. (0:01)

Cn. 1: Medical Forfeit (team total loss, not a loss for Suriano)

True freshman Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J.), the No. 2 seed at 125, stepped on the mat against Purdue’s Ben Thornton for one second and then took an injury default loss. Suriano will medically forfeit out of the tournament and leaves Bloomington with a 16-3 overall record (having lost his last two matches with injury defaults). Suriano will be in the pool for an at-large bid at 125 when the NCAA announces the full field (including at-large bids) for the 2017 NCAA Championships.

133: Triston Law, Fr. – 14th seed – 0-2 overall, DNP

Rd 1: vs. #5 Cory Clark, Iowa – L, 12-3 maj. dec.

Cn 1: vs. Jason Ipsarides, Northwestern – L, 2-4 dec.

Red-shirt freshman Triston Law (Windber, Pa.) took on third-seed and No. 5 Cory Clark in the first round at 133. Law fell behind 8-3 after one period and dropped a 12-3 major decision. He took on Northwestern’s Jason Ipsarides in the first round of consolation action and dropped a tough 4-2 decision, ending his tournament with an 0-2 mark.

141: #10 Jimmy Gulibon, Sr. – 2nd seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. #21 Javier Gasca, Michigan State – LBF (6:20)

Cn 2: vs. #28 Sal Profaci, Michigan – W, 7-3 dec.

Cn Qtr: vs. Ryan Diehl, Maryland – LBF (0:45)

7th place: vs. #24 Cole Martin, Wisconsin –

Senior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), the No. 2 seed at 141, received a first round bye. He met No. 21 Javier Gasca in the quarterfinals. Gulibon fell behind 3-1 early in the second period and was pinned late in the third (6:20), sending him to the consolation bracket.

149: #1 Zain Retherford, Jr. – 1st seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: vs. Nat Limmex, Purdue – WBF (6:21)

Qtrs: vs Nick Trimble, Michigan State – WBF (4:45)

Semis: vs. Alfred Bannister, Maryland – WBF (6:01)

Finals: vs. #5 Micah Jordan, Ohio State –

Junior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 149, took on Purdue’s Nate Limmex in the first round. The Lion junior built up a 14-2 lead before turning Limmex to his shoulders for a pin at the 6:21 mark, picking up Penn State’s first win of the tournament and vital bonus points. Retherford then took on Michigan State’s Nick Trimble in the quarterfinals and picked up a second straight pin, this one at the 4:45 mark. The two falls were Retherford’s 14th and 15th of the year. The win moved Retherford into the semifinals and punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships.

157: #1 Jason Nolf, So. – 1st seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. #26 TJ Ruschell, Wisconsin – WBF (5:58)

Semis: vs. #9 Jake Short, Minnesota – WBF (6:09)

Finals: vs. #2 Michael Kemerer, Iowa –

Sophomore Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 157, received a bye in the first round. He took on TJ Ruschell of Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. Nolf rolled up a big 21-7 lead midway through the third period and, needing a quick move to avoid winning by just a technical fall, muscled the Badger to his back and picked up the pin at the 5:58 mark. The fall, Nolf’s 12th of the year, moved him into the semifinals and secured a spot in the NCAA Championships.

SEE ABOVE STORY FOR TONIGHT’S RECAP

165: #4 Vincenzo Joseph, Fr. – 4th seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. #16 Joey Gunther, Iowa – W, 8-3 dec.

Semis vs. #1 Isaiah Martinez, Illinois – L, 5-8 dec.

Cn Semi: vs. #15 Nick Wanzek, Minnesota –

Red-shirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 165, received a first round bye. He met No. 16 Joey Gunther of Iowa in the quarterfinals and rolled to an 8-3 decision off three takedowns and escape and over 1:00 in riding time. The win moved Joseph into the semifinals and punched his ticket to nationals.

SEE ABOVE STORY FOR TONIGHT’S RECAP

174: #5 Mark Hall, Fr. – 2nd seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. #24 Jacob Morrissey, Purdue – WBF (0:29)

Semis: vs. #11 Zach Brunson, Illinois – W, 4-2 dec.

Finals: vs. #3 Bo Jordan, Ohio State –

True freshman Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), the No. 2 seed at 174, received a first round bye. He met No. 24 Jacob Morrissey of Purdue in the quarterfinals. The true freshman made short work of his first Big Ten tournament bout, pinning Morrissey in just :29. The pin, his 12th of the year, moved Hall into the semifinals and earned him a trip to the NCAA Championships.

SEE ABOVE STORY FOR TONIGHT’S RECAP

184: #2 Bo Nickal, So. – 1st seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. #22 Hunter Ritter, Wisconsin – WBF (3:41)

Semis: vs. #8 Myles Martin, Ohio State – L, 4-6 dec.

Cn Semis: vs. #11 Emery Parker, Illinois –

Sophomore Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), the No. 1 seed at 184, received a first round bye. The top-seed took on No. 22 Hunter Ritter of Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. Nickal picked up his 14th pin of the season by decking Ritter at the 3:41 mark in the second period. Nickal’s win moved him into the semifinals and earned him a spot in the NCAA Championships.

SEE ABOVE STORY FOR TONIGHT’S RECAP

197: #7 Matt McCutcheon, Jr. – 4th seed – NCAA qualifier

Rd. 1: bye

Qtrs: vs. Matt Correnti, Rutgers – W, 3-2 dec.

Semis: vs. #2 Brett Pfarr, Minnesota – L, 3-11 maj. dec.

Cn Semis: vs. #14 Ricky Robertson, Wisconsin –

Junior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), the No. 4 seed at 197, received a first round bye. He met Matt Correnti of Rutgers in the quarterfinals. In a mirror of the dual meet that McCutcheon won in close fashion, the Lion junior rode a first period takedown to a hard-fought 3-2 win over Correnti to advance to the semifinals and clinch an NCAA spot.

SEE ABOVE STORY FOR TONIGHT’S RECAP

285: #3 Nick Nevills, So. – 3rd seed —

Rd. 1: vs. Dan Perry, Michigan – WBF (4:25)

Qtrs: vs. #32 Brooks Black, Illinois – WBF (4:45)

Semis: vs. #2 Connor Medbery, Wisconsin – L, 2-3 dec.

Cn Semis: Razohnn Gross, Rutgers –

Sophomore Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 285, took on Michigan’s Dan Perry in the first round. The sophomore opened up an early 6-1 first period lead off two takedowns and a near fall, then pinned the Wolverine in the second period at the 4:25 mark. The sophomore picked up his second pin in as many bouts in the quarterfinals, getting the fall at the 4:45 mark over Illinois’ Brooks Black. The pins, Nevills’ fifth and sixth of the year, moved the Lion into the semifinals.

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