Underclassmen lead Penn State to semifinals lead

Updated: March 18, 2016

(Photo: Penn State’s Bo Nickal twice put Oklahoma State’s Chandler Rogers on his back and earned a 15-4 major decision. Ginger Robinson photo).

NEW YORK — The multiple Penn State underclass stars proved again the pressure of competing on the national stage meant little as one sophomore, Zain Retherford, and two freshmen, Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal, all scored bonus points in the quarterfinals to help the Nittany Lions take a 14.5 point lead heading into Friday night’s semifinals in Madison Square Garden.



Retherford, a 2014 All-American, who redshirted last year continued his NCAA domination as the Lion pinned Central Michigan’s Justin Oliver in just over two minutes of their 149-pound match. Retherford has scored two pins and one technical fall in this year’s nationals.

Meanwhile, both Nolf and Nickal scored major decisions in matches against fellow freshmen from Oklahoma State. Nolf, seeded third, defeated Joe Smith, 11-3, at 157, while Nickal dominated the Cowboy rookie Chandler Rogers, 15-4, at 174 pounds.

Also advancing to the semifinals, which begins at 8 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, for Penn State are seniors Nico Megaludis (125) and Morgan McIntosh (197). Megaludis scored a 4-0 shutout Michigan’s Conor Youtsey, while top-ranked McIntosh scored a 16-4 major against Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker.


Unless there are some major upsets in the semifinals, it appears the only battle will be for second place as 12 points separate four teams. Second place Ohio State and third place Iowa advanced four wrestlers to the semis, while both Oklahoma State and Missouri feature a trio of semifinalists.

Ohio State’s title chances took a hit when 141-pound Micah Jordan gave up a late reversal and back points to Wyoming’s No. 14 seed Bryce Meredith for a 5-2 upset.

Meanwhile two wrestlers seeded 15th — American University’s David Terao (125) and Rider’s Chad Walsh (157) — advanced to the semifinals. Terao pinned Stanford’s Connor Schram in 5:41, while Walsh — the younger brother of 2015 NCAA finalist Taylor Walsh of Indiana — rallied to beat South Dakota State’s Cody Pack, 11-10.

The quarterfinals drew 17,899 fans and have brought in 53,468 over three sessions.

Top 10 Teams prior to the Semifinals

Rk School (Semifinalists) Points
1. Penn State (5) 68.5
2. Ohio State (4) 54.0
3. Iowa (4) 48.5
4. Oklahoma State (3) 46.0
5. Missouri  (3) 42.5
6. Nebraska (1) 35.5
7. NC State (2) 32.5
8. Michigan  (2) 32.0
9. Virginia Tech (1) 30.5
10. Cornell (2) 28.5


Quarterfinal Highlights

125 pounds

#1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) dec. Dylan Peters (No. Iowa), 10-4 — The defending champion scored three of his four takedowns in the first period before adding a final takedown in the second frame, third-period escape and a 1:26 riding time advantage.

#4 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) major dec. #5 Ryan Millhof (Oklahoma), 16-5 — The Hawkeye tallied two takedowns in each period and added over three minutes of riding time for the easy win.

#3 Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. UN Conor Youtsey (Michigan), 4-0 — Megaludis scored the bout’s only takedown in the second period and added a 3:21 riding time advantage for the shutout.

#15 David Terao (American U.) pinned #10 Connor Schram (Stanford), 6:12 — The Eagle senior was leading 3-2 when he caught the Cardinal in a headlock for a second takedown and eventually pinned Schram to earn All-American status.

133 pounds

#1 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) dec. #8 Earl Hall (Iowa State), 5-0 — The top-ranked senior scored the bout’s only takedown with 39 seconds left in the second period and eventually added a 2:02 riding time advantage.

#4 Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) dec. #5 Jordan Conaway (Penn State), 8-4 — The defending champion trailed 3-2 entering the third period when the Sooner rallied to score two takedowns for the victory.

#3 Zane Richards (Illinois) dec. #6 George DiCamillo (Virginia), 9-4 — The Illini jumped on top 6-0 a minute into the match when he took down Cavalier and caught DiCamillo in a cradle for a four-point nearfall. Richards added one more takedown to lead 8-1 after one period.

#2 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. Eric Montoya (Nebraska), 4-0 — The Hawkeye scored a takedown with 31 seconds left in the second period, then rode out the Husker for the entire third frame for a 2:24 riding time advantage.

141 pounds

#1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. #8 Joey Ward (North Carolina), 8-3 — The top-ranked Cowboy blew open a 1-1 deadlock in the third period when he took the Tar Heel to his back for nearfall points and the victory.

#4 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) dec. #12 Chris Mecate (Old Dominion), 5-3 — The Scarlet Knight clinched the victory when he scored a second takedown with 21 seconds left before adding a 1:01 riding time advantage.

#14 Bryce Meredith (Wyoming) dec. #6 Micah Jordan (Ohio State), 5-2 — Trailing 2-1 in the final 25 seconds of match, the Cowboy ignored going for an escape to first tally a reversal that put the Buckeye freshman on his back for a two-point nearfall to end the bout.

#2 Joey McKenna (Stanford) dec. #7 Solomon Chishko (Va. Tech), 6-1 — After a scoreless first period, the Cardinal freshman tallied takedowns in both the second and third periods.

149 pounds

#1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) pinned #9 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 2:13 — Retherford’s only takedown of the match also led to the Nittany Lion’s second straight pin of the tournament.

#5 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan) pinned #4 Matt Cimato (Drexel), 3:49 — The Wolverine sophomore was leading 4-1 — after scoring takedowns in both the first and second periods when he eventually turned and flattened Cimato.

#11 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) dec. #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri), 3-2 — Moments after giving up a third-period reversal to the Tiger in the third period, Collica escaped for his second straight victory over a top-six seeded wrestler. Collica’s first two points came in the second period when he earned an escape and a stalling point against Mayes.

#2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. #7 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska), 4-2 sv2 — The Hawkeye scored the bout’s only takedown near the edge of the match in the second overtime. Each wrestler scored escapes, first in regulation and then in the first set of tiebreakers.

157 pounds

#1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) dec. #8 Nick Brascetta (Va. Tech), 6-3 — The defending national champ scored a takedown in each period with the final points coming after Brascetta cut the margin to 4-3.

#4 Ian Miller (Kent State) dec. #12 Brian Murphy (Michigan), 6-3 — The Golden Flash scored a pair of first-period takedown and rode out the Wolverine the entire second period before Murphy took solace in riding out Miller the entire third frame.

#3 Jason Nolf (Penn State) major dec. #6 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State), 11-3 — In a battle between freshmen, the match was tied 3-3 before the Nittany Lion exploded with three takedowns and a 1:12 riding time advantage.

#15 Chad Walsh (Rider) dec. #7 Cody Pack (South Dakota State), 11-10 — A 1:11 riding time advantage gave Walsh the victory after it looked like Pack might dominate the bout when he led 6-0 after catching Walsh in a four-point nearfall to end the first period. The Bronco battled back to take a 10-9 lead after second period thanks to two reversals, a takedown and four-point nearfall before Pack escaped to make the score 10-10 in the final period.

165 pounds

#1 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) dec. #9 Tanner Weatherman (Iowa State), 11-5 — Dieringer became the school’s 14th all-time four-time All-American when he scored two of his four takedowns in the first period and eventually added a 1:57 riding time advantage.

#4 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) dec. #12 Connor Brennan (Rider), 3-0 — The Tiger freshman scored the match’s only takedown with 33 seconds left in the second period.

#3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State) major dec. Steven Rodrigues (Illinois), 10-2 — The Buckeye led just 2-1 after two periods before he exploded with three third-period takedowns and added a 1:11 riding time advantage.

#2 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) dec. #10 Austin Wilson (Nebraska), 3-1 — A first-period takedown by the Badger held up to set up a third meeting this season between the Jordan cousins of Ohio.

174 pounds

#1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) major dec. #9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State), 15-4 — In another battle between talented freshmen, the top-ranked Nittany Lion jumped out top 6-0 when with 45 seconds left in the first period when he caught the Cowboy for a four-point throw. After Rogers scored a reversal to cut the margin to 9-3, Nickal added two more takedowns for the bonus point.

#12 Nathan Jackson (Indiana) major dec. Jadaen Bernstein (Navy), 14-4 — In a match that was deadlocked 2-2 midway through the second period, Jackson took Bernstein to his back for a four-point move that also forced an injured Midshipmen to go to the lockerroom for concussion protocol. Once he returned, Jackson added three more takedowns and a 2:48 riding time advantage.

#11 Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. UN Matt Reed (Oklahoma), 2-0 — The Buckeye scored his point on a second-period escape and a 1:30 riding time advantage by controlling the Sooner the entire third period.

UN Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State) dec. #7 Cody Walters (Ohio U.), 5-3 — The Cyclone became the 15th all-time UNSEEDED All-American in school history when Weatherspoon scored a four-point nearfall in the second period after trailing 2-0.

184 pounds

#1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) dec. #8 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State), 10-4 — Dean scored takedowns in each period to avenge his only loss this season.

#13 Pete Renda (NC State) dec. #5 Zach Zavatsky (Va. Tech), 4-3 — A third-period escape and one minute of riding time advantage earned the Wolfpack his first All-American honor. Renda built up his riding time after scoring the bout’s only takedown in the first period.

#14 Willie Miklus (Missouri) major dec. Lorenzo Thomas (Penn), 16-6 — Just when it looked like the Quaker might have an easy run — taking a 4-1 lead on a pair of takedowns to end the first period — the Tiger changed the momentum when he first caught Thomas in a cradle to lead 6-4 after two periods, then added another four-point nearfall for the major.

#7 T.J. Dudley (Nebraska) dec. #2 Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 9-6 — A three-point tilt in the first period, which gave the Husker a 5-0 lead, held up in the end after the Hawkeye scored a pair of third-period takedowns to cut the margin to 8-6. The final point came from a 1:27 riding time advantage.

197 pounds

#1 Morgan McIntosh (Penn State) major dec. Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska), 16-4 — The Lion twice put the Husker on his back — including a four-point nearfall in the second period to give him an 11-1 led — then added a 1:02 riding time advantage.

#4 Nathan Burak (Iowa) dec. #5 Conner Hartmann (Duke), 5-2 — The Hawkeye clinched the victory when he scored the bout’s only takedown with with 35 seconds left. After a scoreless first period, Burak first earned a stalling point against the Blue Devil before added a reversal with two seconds left in the second period.

#3 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) major dec. Pat Downey (Iowa State), 12-3 — The Gopher scored three of his five takedowns in the final period and added a 1:43 riding time advantage.

#2 J’den Cox (Missouri) dec. #7 Brett Harner (Princeton), 6-0 — In this battle of Tigers, the Missourian scored two takedowns but more impressively dominated the Harner with a 3:12 riding time advantage.


#1 Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) major dec. #8 Max Wessell (Lehigh), 9-1 — The two-time national champ tallied takedowns in each period, the first coming off a single to a trip in the first period, then added a 2:41 riding time advantage.

#5 Adam Coon (Michigan) dec. #4 Austin Marsden (Oklahoma State), 3-2 — The Wolverine’s takedown 45 seconds into the bout held up as both wrestlers exchanged escapes the rest of the match.

#3 Ty Walz (Va. Tech) dec. UN Brooks Black (Illinois), 4-1 — The Hokie scored the bout’s only takedown with 16 seconds left in the second period.

#2 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) major dec. #7 Amarveer Dhesi (Oregon State), 16-5 — The World freestyle champ put on another takedown clinic, including scoring three in the first period, before he ended the match with riding the Beaver for 3:34.