Following a disastrous session on Saturday evening, Penn State went a spectacular 10-2 on Sunday, but it was not enough to catch an Ohio State team that wrestled exceptionally well all tournament, and deserved the crown of Big Ten Tournament Champions. Ohio State finished in first place with 139.5 points, topping Penn State and a fading Iowa program with 130 and 112.5 points respectively.
Penn State did crown two individual champions, as the dynamic middleweight duo of 149lb Zain Retherford and 157lb Jason Nolf finished the tournament as the highest team point scorers in the entire field.
Jimmy Gulibon’s tournament came to a merciful end in the 7th-8th place match at 141, capping off an underwhleming tournament from the second-seeded wrestler, getting caught in a standing cradle by Wisconsin’s Cole Martin and would eventually be pinned. Gulibon will look to wrestle much better than he did this weekend at the NCAA Tournament in two weeks.
At 149, the aforementioned Retherford won his second straight Big Ten title, winning by technical fall over Micah Jordan of Ohio State for the second time this season 16-1. Retherford wrestled maybe his most complete match of the year, looking outstanding in all three positions and cemented his status as a prohibitive favorite to repeat as NCAA champion. After the conclusion of the tournament, Retherford was selected as the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.
At 157, Jason Nolf beat longtime childhood training partner Michael Kemerer of Iowa 8-2, narrowly missing out on a major decision when a takedown at the end of the match was deemed to have not been before the buzzer. It was the Sophomore’s first Big Ten Title.
Vincenzo Joseph had the best day of his season so far in the 165 consolation bracket. After losing to cyborg Isaiah Martinez last night in the semifinals, Joseph stuck Nick Wanzek in the consolation semifinals before avenging a loss in a match he probably thought he should have won to last year’s NCAA runner-up Isaac Jordan for third place with a comprehensive 5-2 victory.
Mark Hall was probably the better wrestler in his 174 title match against top-seeded buckeye Bo Jordan, but a crucial mistake on top gave Jordan a reversal in the second period to tie the score, and Hall’s inability to get out from bottom against Jordan ultimately cost Mark the match as he lost 6-4 in sudden victory.
Following a shocking upset to nemesis Myles Martin last night, Bo Nickal took care of business in the consolation bracket, beating Emery Parker of Illinois 8-2 and last year’s 184 runner-up TJ Dudley of Nebraska 14-9 with a a slick six point move in the third period to take third place.
Matt McCutcheon capped off what should be considered a great tournament for him with a 2-0 win over Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin and then avenging a loss earlier in the season to Nebraska’s Andrew Studebaker with a 2-1 win in ultimate tiebreak 1.
Nick Nevills picked up what at the time was two big bonus points in his consolation semifinal with a pin over Razohn Gross of Rutgers. He then beat Minnesota’s Michael Kroells 2-0 for third.
Penn State will now await the release of the brackets for the NCAA tournament on Wednesday March 8 at 6PM ET, broadcast live on NCAA.com