Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lion wrestling team went into Ann Arbor for it’s toughest test to date against Michigan and walked out with a strong 25-12 victory.
The rest of the wrestling world was bummed. Oh well.
The dual started out at 125 pounds as Devin Schnupp took on Michigan true freshman Drew Martin. Despite what I felt was Schnupp best match of the season, the clearly undersized Warwick native fell 8-0 and put Penn State behind 4-0 in the dual.
Things only got worse at 133 when graduate senior Corey Keener continued to struggle and dropped a 10-1 major decision to the Wolverines’ Stevan Micic, bringing the team score to 8-0.
Momentum shifted at 141, as Penn State debuted true freshman Nick Lee, fresh out of his redshirt, and he returned the favor with a 9-5 victory over Salvatore Profaci to cut the score to 8-3. Lee seemed to suffer from a bit of an adrenaline dump in the third period, as he uncharacteristically slowed down a ton, but that’s understandable for an 18-year-old making his debut in a hostile environment.
At 149 Zain Retherford made Michigan’s Malik Amine pay for his petulance. After an Amine shove cost him two points, Retherford snatched his soul and maybe a couple of limbs as he picked up the fall at the 6:29 mark to put PSU up 9-8 in the dual.
Michigan’s Alec Pantaelo pushed Jason Nolf as far as anyone has since 2016, but Nolf rode out the third period and claimed a solid 6-4 victory to put Penn State up 12-8 at the intermission.
Returning national champ Vincenzo Joseph continues to look better and better. On Friday night he dispatched of fifth-ranked Logan Massa, who was making his return from injury, via an 11-3 major decision with help from his patented inside trip. That brought the score to 16-8.
Mark Hall continued his workmanlike approach to matches at 174, using an early takedown and a strong top game to build a lead and then holding on for a 6-5 decision victory over Myles Amine. The score was now 19-8.
At 184, Bo Nickal earned a 5-2 victory over fifth-ranked Domenic Abounader despite a controversial pair of no takedown calls for the Wolverines wrestler in the third period. The win for for Nickal made the score 22-8 and clinched the dual for Penn State.
(You see, Penn State is in the pockets of the referees. As we said earlier, oh well.)
Shakur Rasheed made his dual debut at 197 for the Nittany Lions and continued his impressive run of form. This time it was the nearside cradle that did the damage for the redshirt junior after an early takedown. Rasheed jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two periods and coasted home to an easy 7-1 victory over No. 11 Kevin Beazley, a returning all-american. This made the scored 25-8.
Nick Nevills tough start to 2018 continued, this time due to the dominance of two-time all-american and second-ranked Adam Coon. Coon controlled Nevills throughout en route to an 8-0 major decision making the final tally Penn State 25, Michigan 12.
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Vincenzo Joseph.
While I don’t understand bringing a guy back from injury against the top-ranked wrestler in the country, Massa is still an extremely talented wrestler who placed third in last year’s NCAA tournament and Joseph never looked in the slightest bit of trouble. This was probably the best match Joseph has wrestled all season and second-best of his career behind last year’s NCAA finals win over Isaiah Martinez.
125: #15 Drew Mattin UM maj. dec. Devin Schnupp PSU, 8-0 / 0-4
133: #6 Steve Micic UM maj. dec. Corey Keener PSU, 10-1 / 0-8
141: Nick Lee PSU dec. Sal Profaci UM, 9-5 / 3-8
149: #1 Zain Retherford PSU pinned Malik Amine UM, WBF (6:29) / 9-8
157: #1 Jason Nolf PSU dec. #5 Alec Pantaleo UM, 6-4 / 12-8
165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph PSU maj. dec. #5 Logan Massa UM, 12-3 / 16-8
174: #2 Mark Hall PSU dec. #6 Myles Amine UM, 6-5 / 19-8
184: #1 Bo Nickal PSU dec. #5 Domenic Abounader UM, 5-2 / 22-8
197: #10 Shakur Rasheed PSU dec. #11 Kevin Beazley UM, 7-1 / 25-8
285: #2 Adam Coon UM maj. dec. #8 Nick Nevills PSU, 8-0 / 25-12