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ST. LOUIS — When Penn State announced on Wednesday that their third-seeded 125-pound Nick Suriano could not compete in this year’s NCAA Division I Championships because of an injury, the Nittany Lion head coach Cael Sanderson expected the rest of his wrestlers to pick up the slack.
Updated NCAA Brackets & Scores after Rd 1
And that’s exactly what eight remaining Penn State wrestlers accomplished in the first round of the 2017 Nationals, including five Nittany Lions — Jimmy Gulibon (133 pounds), Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Bo Nickal (184) and Matt McCutcheon (197) — who all scored bonus points in an otherwise undefeated session before 18,157 fans to hold a first-round lead Thursday in the Scottrade Center.
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McCutcheon, up a weight from a year ago, scored the only fall for Penn State, a 1:53 pin against Purdue’s Christian Brunner, while the four other Nittany Lions with bonus points added technical falls. One of those victories, decided by 15 or more points, including a 27-9 triumph by former All-American and unseeded Gulibon over Michigan State’s Javier Gasca.
Penn State, the defending national champions and winners of five of the last six NCAA tournaments, tallied eight bonus points and will enter Thursday night’s second round with 16 points, one more than Big 12 champion Oklahoma State. Big Ten champ Ohio State stands in third place with 14 points.
The Cowboys, who sent wrestlers in all ten weight classes to St. Louis, went 9-1 in the first round as Nick Piccininni (125 pounds) and Chandler Rogers (184) each scored pins for OSU, while Kaid Brock (133) and Anthony Collica added major decisions. The only Cowboy to lose in the first round was 2014 All-American Kyle Crutchmer, who fell 6-5 to SIU-Edwardsville’s Jake Residori at 174 pounds.
Ohio State, which saw its nine wrestlers compile a 7-2 mark in the opening round earned seven bonus points, including from a pair of technical falls by Micah Jordan (149) and defending national champion Kyle Snyder at heavyweight. Meanwhile 2015 NCAA champ Nathan Tomasello (133), two former All-Americans Bo Jordan (174) and Myles Martin (184) and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore (197) added major decisions.
Three schools — Iowa, Lehigh and Missouri — are tied for fourth place with 12 points. The Hawkeyes advanced seven of their nine wrestlers, while the Tigers pushed through six and five for the Mountain Hawks.
Other schools that experienced an impressive first round included Virginia Tech and Northern Iowa.
The Hokies, standing in ninth place with 10 points, saw all seven of its wrestlers advance to the second round, while the seven Panthers compiled a 5-2 record and tied for 12th place with Central Michigan and Edinboro with eight points. On the flip side, Oklahoma entered the NCAAs with eight wrestlers but only one advanced to the second round; leaving the Sooners in a tie for 42nd place with just one point.
The following is a breakdown of scoring by the top ten schools in the NCAA team standings:
Team Scores after 1st Round
|1.||Penn State (9)||8-1||1||4||0||16.0|
|2.||Oklahoma State (10)||9-1||2||0||2||15.0|
|3.||Ohio State (9)||7-2||0||2||4||14.0|
|9.||Virginia Tech (7)||7-0||0||2||0||10.0|
# — won one match by medical forfeit