Penn State’s quest for a sixth NCAA title in seven years started about as well as you could’ve possibly asked on Thursday.
Penn State had eight wrestlers step to the mat, and Penn State had eight wrestlers get their hands raised.
It started at 141, where Jimmy Gulibon took advantage of a dinged up Javier Gasca (Mich. State). Gulibon used a combination of tilts and takedowns to earns an 18-3 technical fall.
Both Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf were able to match Gulibon with tech falls to get Penn State off to a flying start.
Freshmen Cenzo Joseph and Mark Hall looked a bit uneasy in their first NCAA tournament appearances but both were able to come away with decision victories. Cenzo was able to get a bit of revenge over Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck, earning a 5-1 win to overturn a season-opening loss in Rec Hall. Hall dispatched of North Dakota State’s Alex Kocer 7-2.
Things picked up again at 184, where Bo Nickal earned a 15-0 tech fall over Northwestern’s Mitch Sliga. The surprise of the session came at 197, as Matt McCutcheon picked up a huge pin over Purdue’s Christian Brunner after a scramble situation.
To round it all off, Nick Nevills fought his way to a 4-2 victory over Lehigh’s Doug Vollaro, capping the perfect session.
After the first session, Penn State leads the team with 16 points over Oklahoma State with 15 and Ohio State with 14.
Wrestler of the session: Well this seemed pretty obvious before we hit 197. Jimmy Gulibon earned 1.5 more points from one match than I expected him to earn all tournament. But then Cutch went and did the damn thing, so we can’t ignore that. Therefore, we have a split. Both Gulibon and McCutcheon were the wrestlers of the session for PSU.