Penn State’s Zain Retherford wins 2017 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS
By Bryan Van Kley, WIN Magazine NEWTON, Iowa — The WIN...
ST. LOUIS — For one of the rare times in the 87-year history of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, the top-ranked wrestler at every weight class is undefeated.
And for the most part Friday at the Scottrade Center, these highly-rated stars showed off their muscles to advance to tonight’s semifinals and propel top-ranked Penn State into first place in the team standings.
The Nittany Lions, the defending team champions and winners of five of the previous six national tournaments, moved five wrestlers into the semifinals, which begin at 7 p.m. CDT. Four of those PSU semifinalists scored bonus points in their quarterfinal bouts, including a third straight technical fall by Zain Retherford (149) and pins by Jason Nolf (157) and Bo Nickal (184), while true freshman Mark Hall added a major decision at 174. The final victory came at 165 pounds where Vincenzo Joseph rallied to score two takedowns in the final period for a decision.
Entering tonight’s semifinals, Penn State holds a 15-point margin over Ohio State (74-59) while Iowa is in third place with 58 points. Both the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes will send four to the semifinals.
For Ohio State, that includes former champions Nathan Tomasello (133) and heavyweight Kyle Snyder, who are ranked No. 1 at their weights, while fellow Buckeyes Bo Jordan (174) and Kollin Moore (197) also advanced. Jordan needed to score a takedown in the closing seconds to hold off Iowa’s Alex Meyer.
Advancing for Iowa are Thomas Gilman (No. 1 at 125), who advanced with a pin against Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni, while Cory Clark (No. 4 at 133), Zain Retherford (No. 5 at 149) and Sammy Brooks (No. 3 at 184) also moved on to the semifinals. Brooks was trailing 2-1 against Illinois’ Emery Parker before taking the Illini to his back and a fall.
Among the other top-ranked wrestlers to advance are defending national champs Dean Heil (141) of Oklahoma State and Cornell’s Gabe Dean (184) who each held on to win close matches, while two-time champs Isaiah Martinez (165) of Illinois and Missouri’s J’den Cox scored in double digits to advance.
The final top-ranked wrestler to advance was Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia (174) who will meet Penn State’s Hall, another freshman and teammate on last summer’s Junior World freestyle team.
Cornell also put itself in place for a potential team trophy as both Dylan Palacio (157) and Brian Realbuto (165) scored falls.
Top 10 Teams Entering Semifinals
2017 NCAA Championships Semifinal Matchups
(Set to begin Friday at 7 p.m. CDT)
#1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) vs. #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh)
#6 Ethan Lisak (Minnesota) vs. #10 Jack Mueller (Virginia)
#1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) vs. #4 Cory Clark (Iowa)
#3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) vs. #2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State)
#1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. #5 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers)
#6 George DiCamillo (Virginia) vs. #10 Bryce Meredith (Wyoming)
#1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) vs. #5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa)
#3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) vs. #7 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa)
#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs. #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska)
#3 Joey Lavallee (Missouri) vs. #7 Dylan Palacio (Cornell)
#1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. #4 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin)
#3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) vs. #2 Logan Massa (Michigan)
#1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. #5 Mark Hall (Penn State)
#3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State) vs. #2 Brian Realbuto (Cornell)
#1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs. #4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State)
#3 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
#1 J’den Cox (Missouri) vs. #4 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech)
#3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) vs. #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
#1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs. #4 Jacob Kasper (Duke)
#3 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) vs. #2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)