Intercollegiate Athletics

Lions post perfect 9-0 in NCAA Session Two

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (14-0, 9-0 B1G) posted a perfect 9-0 record in session two of the 2018 NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Head coach Cael Sanderson's squad is looking to win its seventh NCAA title in the last eight years in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.

The Nittany Lions have pushed seven of its nine NCAA qualifiers through to the quarterfinals with the other two still alive in consolation action. Penn State is in second place in the team race as of 9:50 p.m. (with a few consolation bouts still on the mat). The Lions have 28.5 points while Ohio State is in first with 36.0. Iowa is close behind the Lions at 27.0 (Iowa had one wrestler still in consolation action as of press time).

Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 149, took on No. 16 Alfred Bannister in Penn State's first bout of the session, opening up round two for the Nittany Lions. Retherford, two-time defending NCAA Champion, opened up a 4-0 lead in the first period and then turned Bannister to his back late in the period. Retherford adjusted once and got the fall at the 2:29 mark. His win moves him into tomorrow morning's national quarterfinals.

Junior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 157, took on No. 14 Andrew Crone of Wisconsin in the second round. The defending NCAA Champion opened an early 2-1 lead in the first period and extended it to a 5-1 lead after two periods. The Lion tacked on a riding time point and rolled to a 6-1 win. The victory moves Nolf into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 165, faced off against No. 14 Branson Ashworth of Wyoming in the second round. The defending NCAA Champion took an early 2-0 lead and led by that score after one. He chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Joseph held on for a hard-fought 3-1 victory. The win moves him into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, took on No. 15 Dylan Lydy of Purdue in the second round. Hall came out blazing with a takedown and four quick back points to open up a 6-0 lead early. He led 6-1 after one and increased his lead to 9-1 early in the second period. Another turn and Hall led 13-1 after three periods. The defending NCAA Champion took Lydy down and turned him twice in the third period to roll to a 21-3 technical fall at the 6:54 mark. The bonus point win moves Hall into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), the No. 1 seed at 184, took on No. 16 Jordan Ellingwood of Central Michigan in round two. The defending NCAA Champion scored the first takedown less than a minute into the bout to take an early lead. He tacked on another late in the period to lead 4-1 after one. Nickal upped his lead to 6-3 after two and posted a strong 10-4 decision with 2:24 in riding time. The victory moves Nickal into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

Junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), the No. 5 seed at 197, met North Carolina's Daniel Chaid in the second round. Rasheed struck quickly, taking the Tar Heel down and to his back for four quick back points and led 6-0 after one. The Lion junior led 9-0 after two and upped his lead to 12-3 midway through the third period. Rasheed dominated the bout, posting a 14-3 major decision with 3:36 in riding time. The victory moves Rasheed into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 285, battled No. 14 Michael Boykin of North Carolina State in the second round Thursday night. Nevills and Boykin battled through a scoreless first period. Boykin took a 1-0 lead with a quick escape in the second and held the lead after two. Nevills countered with his own escape to start the third and the bout was tied 1-1. The duo moved through a sudden victory scoreless. Each wrestler escaped in the first tiebreaker and then wrestled through a second scoreless sudden victory. With the score tied 2-2, Nevills chose down to start the second tie breaker and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. But Boykin countered with a takedown and led 4-3. Nevills managed an escape before the period ended and the bout was tied 4-4 with Boykin taking down. Needing a rideout to secure a win, Nevills turned the trick and won 5-4 on :16 of riding time. His win moves him into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), unseeded at 133, took on North Dakota State's Cam Sykora in the first round of consolation action. Keener opened up a 9-5 lead after a wild first period that ended with the Lion nearly getting the fall but having time run out on his effort. He carried that lead into the third period and rolled to a 9-7 decision. The victory moves Keener into the second round of consolations tomorrow.

True freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), the No. 8 seed at 141, battled No. 9 seed Josh Alber of Northern Iowa in the first round of consolations. Lee scored right out of the gates to open up an early 2-1 lead that he pushed to 4-2 midway through the second period. The Lion freshman then escaped to a 5-3 lead midway through the third period and iced the bout with a third takedown to post a strong 7-3 win. Lee's victory pushes the Lion freshman into the second round of consolations tomorrow.

Penn State went 9-0 in Thursday night's second session with 4.5 bonus points off a pin (Retherford), a tech fall (Hall) and a major (Rasheed). The Nittany Lions are 16-2 overall with 15.5 bonus points off five majors, three techs and two pins. Retherford's two wins today give him 16 NCAA tournament wins as a Nittany Lion, 12th all-time at Penn State. He now has 123 career wins, eighth all-time, and his one pin gives him 17 this year and 53 for his career, tying Penn State's all-time falls record (David Taylor and Josh Moore).

Most importantly, all nine Nittany Lions continue the event tomorrow morning as session three begins at 11 a.m. in Quicken Loans Arena. The third session features the national quarterfinals as well as the next two rounds of wrestle-backs. Fans not in the Q can watch session three live on ESPNU, with all eight mats beings streamed separately live on ESPN3. The 2018 NCAA Championships is a three day event that runs through Saturday, March 17.

Last Updated March 16, 2018