Penn State surged ahead of the field in the all-important third session in St. Louis on Friday.
Having put seven wrestlers into the quarterfinals, the Nittany Lions were sitting in good position to start the day. They proceeded to go 5-2 in the session with bonus points in four of the five wins.
Jimmy Gulibon started out the day for Penn State, winning his first consolation bout by major decision bringing his total to four team points thus far.
At 149 Zain Retherford made short work of South Dakota State’s Alex Kocer, earning an 18-2 technical fall. Also at the weight, two of Penn State’s biggest rivals for the team title suffered losses. Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica was eliminated from the tournament by Arizona State’s Josh Maruca, a PA native. Ohio State’s Micah Jordan lost his quarterfinal to Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen. The Hawks continue to have a strong tournament.
Jason Nolf followed with a pin of Rider’s BJ Clagon in (Austin) 3:16 at 157.
Perhaps the match of the day for Penn State took place at 165 pounds. Third-seeded Cenzo Joseph took on Daniel Lewis of Missouri and despite falling behind 3-0, fought back and earned a takedown and rideout in the final ten seconds to pick up a 6-5 victory.
Mark Hall racked up the back points as he dispatched of Virginia Tech’s Zach Epperly via a 10-2 major decision in a match that many thought would be very close.
Bo Nickal kept the momentum rolling at 184 pounds with a victory by fall over TJ Dudley of Nebraska at 4:33.
Penn State lost a couple of tight matches in its last two quarterfinals, as Matt McCutcheon fell to Jared Haught of VaTech, 7-3, while Jacob Kasper of Duke topped Nick Nevills, 3-1.
Following the quarterfinals, Gulibon had one more match in the wrestlebacks and was able to down Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher, 11-3, knocking Pletcher out of the tournament.
Penn State currently sits in first place with 74 points, leading second-place teams Iowa and Ohio State which are tied at 57.5
Ohio State and Iowa can both max out at 62.5 points in the session, meaning Penn State will have at least an 11.5-point lead heading into the bloodround and semifinals with the most semifinalists of any team with five. Iowa has four in the semifinals, while the Buckeyes have four as well.
Wrestler of the Session: Vincenzo Joseph put himself in a bit of a spot of bother, falling behind Lewis early and having to chase the match. The redshirt freshman, however, was up to the task as he fought back and earned a hugely important win to keep the momentum rolling and bring the Penn State crowd to its feet.