Wrestlers ready for Big Ten Championships

Credit: Penn State AthleticsAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (16-0, 9-0) will take part in the 2016 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on March 5-6 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Action on Saturday, March 5, begins with at 11 a.m. Eastern, with a 7 p.m. Eastern session to follow. Sunday's session begins at 1 p.m. Eastern. Big Ten Preseeds come out on Monday, Feb. 29, post-press.

The Nittany Lions head to the Big Ten Championships looking for their fifth title in the last six years. Penn State won four Big Ten titles in a row from 2011 through 2014. Head coach Cael Sanderson's crew is coming off an historic regular season. Penn State went 16-0 overall, 9-0 in Big Ten duals, sharing the conference regular season crown with Iowa. The team won its sixth straight Southern Scuffle title, claimed a share of its third Big Ten Regular Season (dual meet) title and won the 2016 NWCA National Dual Championship with a 29-18 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Head coach Cael Sanderson's line-up features a blend of experience and youth. Five returning All-Americans dot the Nittany Lion line-up and four Nittany Lions are ranked No. 1 nationally at their weights. Two of those top-ranked Lions are making their Big Ten Championship debuts, with a total of four Lions wrestling in their first B1G tournaments.

Senior Nico Megaludis will enter his final Big Ten tournament with a 24-2 overall record at 125. Megaludis is a three-time All-American who has a 9-4 all-time mark in the Big Ten tournament. Megaludis is ranked No. 4 by InterMat and No. 4 in the final NCAA Coaches Poll. He has a No. 5 RPI as well. Classmate Jordan Conaway also heads into his final Big Ten tourney. Conaway, also a returning All-American, is 22-3 overall at 133 with a 5-3 mark in Big Ten Championships action. He is ranked No. 5 by InterMat, No. 5 in the Coaches Poll and has a No. 3 RPI. Junior All-American Jimmy Gulibon is 10-8 at 141 and is ranked No. 21 in the final coaches poll. Gulibon enters the Big Ten tournament with a 5-5 all-time record at the event as well.

Sophomore All-American Zain Retherford will carry a 25-0 record at 149 into his second Big Ten Championships. Retherford is ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll, has the No. 1 RPI and ranked No. 1 by InterMat. Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf carries a 26-0 mark at 157 into his first Big Ten Championships. Nolf is ranked No. 1 by the coaches, No. 1 by InterMat and has the No. 3 RPI. Junior Geno Morelli will head to his first Big Ten Championships with a 17-7 overall record at 165 and the nation's No. 9 RPI. Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal heads to his first Big Ten Championships with a 26-1 mark at 174. Nickal is ranked No. 1 in the final coaches ranking, No. 1 by InterMat and has the No. 2 RPI.

Sophomore Matt McCutcheon has a 14-4 mark at 184 and is ranked No. 11 in the final coaches poll and No. 12 by InterMat. McCutcheon has the nation's No. 12 RPI. Senior Morgan McIntosh is a two-time All-American and heads to Iowa City with a 24-0 record at 197. McIntosh is ranked No. 1 by the nation's coaches, No. 1 by InterMat and has the top RPI in the country as well. Red shirt freshman Nick Nevills will continue his late-season comeback by making an appearance in his first Big Ten Championships. Nevills is 5-1 at 285 but did not wrestle enough matches to qualify for either a coaches ranking or RPI. Nevills is ranked No. 16 by InterMat.

The Big Ten received 71 total automatic qualifiers to the 2016 NCAA championships: seven at 125, nine at 133, seven at 141, six at 149, seven at 157, six at 165, nine at 174, seven at 184, six at 197 and seven at 285.

The Nittany Lions head to New York City and one of the world's most venerable venues for the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The three-day event takes place in Madison Square Garden on March 17-19. Action begins on Thursday, March 17, with session one at 11 a.m. Eastern. The full event airs on the ESPN family of networks.

Last Updated March 11, 2016