This is all just absolutely fantastic.
Penn State, who led after the first session, had eight wrestlers going into the round of 16 on the front side. After the round of 16, seven of those eight are going to the quarterfinals.
The round started off slowly enough, with Jimmy Gulibon losing to fourth-seeded freshman Matt Kolodzik of Princeton.
That was the last loss of the night, however, for the Nittany Lions as they went 7-1 in the session.
Zain Retherford did his usual thing, picking us a tech fall over Princeton’s Jordan Laster, while Jason Nolf followed suit by techning Bucknell’s Victor Lopez.
Two freshman competing in their first NCAA tournament for Penn State shook off first-session cobwebs to turn in impressive performance in this round. Vincenzo Joseph when to work on his feet, earning a major decision over Wyoming’s Brandon Ashworth. Mark Hall then decided to do his work on the mat, abusing Navy’s Jaden Bernstein with tilts en route to a 16-0 first-period tech fall.
Bo Nickal kept the momentum rolling with a pin of Binghamton’s Steven Schneider at the 5:34 mark. Bringing it home were Matt McCutcheon, who topped Penn’s Frank Mattiace 6-3, and Nick Nevills, who bested Billy Miller of Edinboro, 6-2.
In addition to a fantastic run by Penn State, their biggest rivals for the team titles faltered. Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica, the two seed at 149, lost to Rutgers’ Ken Theobold and sixth-seeded Austin Schafer lost to Northwestern’s Conan Jennings, while Ohio State’s Myles Martin lost to 11th-seeded Emery Parker of Illinois.
Iowa established itself as a threat as each of their favorites won and they picked up an upset victory from Alex Meyer over Lehigh’s Ryan Preisch.
As I write this Penn State sits in first with 30.5 points, ahead of Ohio State with 26 and Oklahoma State with 24. Iowa is close behind with 22.5 points and Penn State is assured to finish the session with the lead and is tied with OkState with the most wrestlers in the quarters. Iowa has six and Ohio State has five.
Wrestler of the Session: Mark Hall left me with a ton of questions after narrowly escaping round one. In round two, Hall left no doubt. He absolutely demolished a helpless Bernstein and added a little swagger after to boot.