Despite a slow start, the fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions wrestling team downed No. 12 Stanford in their first home dual at Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon.
The dual started at 165 pounds where Penn State redshirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph lost 18-12 to Keaton Subjeck. Subjeck jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead after a pancake and a headlock gave him two, six-point moves. Cenzo fought back valiantly but ultimately it was too much of an uphill climb.
At 174, Geno down 10th-ranked Jim Wilson of Stanford, 6-3. The win was possibly the best of Morelli’s career for the Nittany Lions and showed he can top some of the nation’s best wrestlers after a few tight losses last year. Bo Nickal went to work on Stanford’s Austin Flores at 184, building a 17-6 lead before locking up a cradle for the pin at the 6:21 mark. Up at 197, Matt McCutcheon continued to impress at his new weight. ‘Cutch took his second win of the weekend over a ranked wrestler, downing No. 20 Josh Marchok 3-2. Nick Nevills continued to impress in his first full (hopefully) year for PSU, down 10th-ranked Nathan Butler of Stanford, 3-1 to give Penn State a 15-3 lead going into the intermission.
The standout performer for Penn State on the day was true freshman Nick Suriano at 125 pounds. Suriano showed he can compete with the best in the country, as many suspected he could. The freshman dominated fourth-ranked Connor Schram in a 3-0 victory. While the score may not reflect it, Suriano never showed any signs of being in danger and generally controlled the entire match.
At 133, Jered Cortez is staking his claim as a true contender on the national stage. While Cortez has yet to face particularly strong competition, his pin of Stanford’s Mason Pengilly at the 2:40 mark showed his incredible strength on top which could be a huge advantage throughout the year.
Jimmy Gulibon dropped a 6-2 decision to No. 2 Joey McKenna at 141. McKenna used an early takedown, back points, and a rideout to build a 4-0 lead. After an escape, McKenna kept his distance until a late JG takedown made it 5-2. That’s where it would end and McKenna added a point for exceeding a minute of riding time.
Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf did their respective things at 149 and 157. Retherford pinned opponent Tommy Pawleski in just 2:16 after a nasty power half and Nolf used a bevvy of takedowns to break opponent Paul Fox before notching the fall at 5:46.
Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lions showed yet again why they’re expected to compete for a second consecutive national title and their sixth in seven years.
Outstanding Wrestler: Nick Suriano.
165: Keaton Subjeck (Stan.) dec. Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) 18-12, 3-0.
174: Geno Morelli (PSU) dec. Jim Wilson (Stan.) 6-3, 3-3.
184: Bo Nickal (PSU) WBF. Austin Flores (Stan.) @ 6:21, 9-3.
197: Matt McCutcheon (PSU) dec. Josh Marchok (Stan.) 3-2, 12-3.
285: Nick Nevills (PSU) dec. Nathan Butler (Stan.) 3-1, 15-3.
125: Nick Suriano (PSU) dec. Connor Schram (Stan.) 3-0, 18-3.
133: Jered Cortez (PSU) WBF. Mason Pengilly (Stan.) @ 2:40, 24-3.
141: Joey McKenna (Stan.) dec. Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) 6-2, 24-6.
149: Zain Retherford (PSU) WBF. Tommy Pawleski (Stan.) @ 2:16, 30-6.
157: Jason Nolf (PSU) WBF. Paul Fox (Stan.) @ 5:46, 36-6.
Up Next for Penn State: at Keystone Classic, Penn, Philadelphia, Pa. – Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.