UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lions (12-0, 8-0 B1G), wrestling without top-ranked Jason Nolf at 157, took care of business in a key Big Ten dual meet by beating visiting Ohio State (12-1, 7-1) in a sold-out Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions roared back from a ten point halftime deficit to post a thrilling 19-18 win, clinching at least a share of the 2018 Big Ten Dual Meet Championship.
The Lions won four of five bouts in the second half, highlighted by sophomore Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) taking care of No. 1 Kollin Moore at 197. Penn State’s victory keeps it dual meet win streak alive at 43 and clinches a share of its fifth Big Ten dual crown under head coach Cael Sanderson. A win over Iowa in the sold out Bryce Jordan Center next Saturday would give Penn State the crown outright.
Penn State does it! They take out Ohio State, 19-18. pic.twitter.com/VsuPQPqMel— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) February 4, 2018
The dual began at 125 where senior Carson Kuhn (Sandy, Utah) made his Penn State debut against No. 4 Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State. The Boise State transfer thrilled the crowd with early takedowns and led into the second period but Tomasello rallied to post a 21-12 major. . Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Valley, Pa.) nearly upset No. 2 Luke Pletcher but the Buckeye was able to defend his way to a close 5-4 decision, giving Ohio State an early 7-0 lead.
True freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 6 at 141, suffered a 7-6 upset loss to no. 11 Joey McKenna, dropping the bout on 1:32 riding time for the Buckeye. Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, got Penn State on the board by dominating No. 7 Ke-Shawn Hayes. Retherford posted a 20-4 technical fall with 3:19 in riding time. With No. 1 Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) out at 157, redshirt freshman Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) stepped up and took on No. 5 Micah Jordan. Jordan posted a 24-9 technical fall at the 6:06 mark to send Penn State into the halftime break trailing 15-5.
Trailing by ten at the half, the Nittany Lions embarked on an epic comeback to keep their win streak alive. Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, dominated No. 14 Te-Shan Campbell, controlling the bout from start to finish on his way to a 12-3 major with 1:59 in riding time. Joseph’s win cut the Buckeye lead to 15-9. Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, took care of No 3 Bo Jordan with a 6-4 victory. Hall used a third period takedown and a rideout to roll to the victory with 1:40 in riding time. His win pulled Penn State to within three, 15-12.
Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 184, dominated No. 2 Myles Martin, controlling the bout from start to finish as he rolled to a 10-2 major decision with 2:07 in riding time. Nickal’s bonus point win gave Penn State its first lead of the dual, 16-15. Cassar got the nod at 197 and took on No. 1 Kollin Moore. The New Jersey native lifted the roof of yet another Rec Hall sellout by controlling the top-ranked Buckeye over the final two periods and rolling to a 6-3 victory. Cassar’s triumph gave Penn State a 19-15 lead heading into the final bout of the evening.
Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 6 at 285, took on defending NCAA Champion and No. 1-ranked Kyle Snyder in the final match-up. The Nittany Lion battled Snyder tough but lost a close 15-10 decision. The final Buckeye win was not enough and Penn State posted the thrilling, come from behind 19-18 victory.
And down goes No. 1 Kollin Moore at the hands of Anthony Cassar. What a moment for Cassar. Lions up 19-15. pic.twitter.com/KKplg3XJ7M— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) February 4, 2018
The victory moves Penn State’s dual meet win streak to 43, dating back to the 2014-15 season. It is also Penn State’s 24th straight Big Ten dual meet victory. Retherford now has 116 career wins, 14th all-time at Penn State. The crowd of 6,699 was the highest this season and is the 40th straight sellout in Rec Hall. Penn State is now 12-0, 8-0 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is 12-1, 7-1 B1G.
Penn State will now prep for the 2018 BJC Dual, hosting Iowa on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.