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Photo: Shakur Rasheed pinned his final three foes in less than a minute, including this 36-second cradle fall against Northern Iowa’s Jacob Holschlag in the Southern Scuffle’s 197-pound championship. (Ginger Robinson photo).
By Mike Finn, WIN editor
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn — Shakur Rasheed proved there is a lot more depth to the Penn State program than five returning NCAA champs and he also went a long way to suggesting he should earn the No. 1 spot at 197 pounds as the junior pinned Jacob Holschlag of Northern Iowa in 36 seconds to help the Nittany Lions capture six individual titles and earn a seventh all-time Southern Scuffle title Tuesday night in McKenzie Arena.
As one of three Nittany Lions competing at 197 pounds in this annual tournament, Rasheed — who wrestled at 165 pounds the past two years — won all five bouts as an unseeded wrestler and scored first-period falls in his final three bouts. His performance earned him OW honors and helped him outdistance his teammates Anthony Cassar, who was ranked fifth by WIN and claimed third at 197, and former NCAA qualifier Matt McCutcheon, who failed to place in the two-day event.
Meanwhile, all five returning NCAA champs — Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184) — also won Scuffle titles with Retherford and Nolf also scoring falls in their finals. Nolf pinned all five foes in this year’s event.
With a total of 10 place-winners, the Lions easily out-distance runner-up Northern Iowa by 70 points and was within one point of tying the Southern Scuffle team point total, set last year by Oklahoma State.
Top 10 Team Finishes at 2018 Southern Scuffle
Darius Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Jay Schwarm (Northern Iowa), 11-4— The defending national champion scored three of his five total takedowns in the first period.
Jack Mueller (Virginia) major dec. Gary Wayne Harding (Oklahoma State) 10-0 — The Cavalier scored a takedown in each period but more importantly did not let the Cowboy escape as Mueller amassed a 6:29 riding time advantage in the seven-minute match. Mueller also scored a two-point nearfall with 10 seconds left in the second period.
Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State-unatt.) pinned Nick Lee (Penn State-unatt.) 4:50 — In this battle of true freshmen, competing unattached for their schools, Gfeller was actually trailing 7-4 at the start of the second period, when he first earned a locked hands point then reversed Lee. The Cowboy eventually tilted the Lion to his back and held him there for nearly 40 seconds before earning the fall.
Zain Retherford (Penn State) pinned Josh Heil (Campbell), 4:39 — The defending Hodge Trophy winner was leading 8-2 — thanks to three takedowns and a pair of stalling points — before he finally turned and flattened the Camel for his fourth pin of the tournament.
Jason Nolf (Penn State) pinned Mitch Finesilver (Duke), 0:51 — The Nittany Lion completed his tournament run of a fall in all four bouts as he caught the Blue Devil in a headlock to open the match and scored the pin.
Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) major dec. Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa), 8-0 — The defending NCAA champ scored a takedown in the first and second periods, then rode out the redshirting Panther the entire third frame — which included a two-point nearfall — to go along with a 2:24 riding time advantage.
Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. Jordan Kutler (Lehigh), 4-0 — Hall scored the bout’s only takedown in the first period before adding an escape point in the second period and riding out the Mountain Hawk the entire third period for a 2:31 riding time advantage.
Bo Nickal (Penn State) major dec. Drew Foster (Northern Iowa), 10-2 — Nickal scored four takedowns — two in the first period, but it wasn’t until he scored the final takedown with seconds left that helped him score bonus points in all five bouts contested at the Scuffle. A 1:36 riding time advantage also led to a second Scuffle championship.
Shakur Rasheed (Penn State) pinned Jacob Holschlag (Northern Iowa), 0:36 — Similar to his semifinal victory, the Lion was leading 2-0 when he caught the Panther in an outside cradle for the championship win.
Jake Kasper (Duke) dec. Mike Boykin (NC State) 3-1 sv — The Blue Devil scored the bout’s only takedown with about 10 seconds left in overtime for his second Scuffle championship.