A packed house in Rec Hall got quite the show on Friday night as Penn State wrestling downed visiting Arizona State, 41-3.
Devin Schnupp struggled early against the debuting Brandon Courtney but came up with a huge reversal late in the bout to keep it to a 13-7 win for Courtney. Penn State, meanwhile, found itself trailing 3-0 after the opening bout.
In the second match of the night, Arizona State’s No. 6-ranked 125-pounder Ryan Millhoff bumped up to 133 to take on Roman Bravo-Young.
He should not have done that.
Bravo-Young dominated Millhof in all positions from start to finish to pick up a dominating 14-1 major decision victory.
Nick Lee then took on Cory (No such thing as halfway) Crooks, though he was on the mat just 2:18 before picking up the fall and putting PSU up 10-3.
Brady Berge had his toughest test yet against 13th-ranked Josh Maruca, a Pennsylvania native. Maruca was a bit more aggressive and Berge used that to his advantage, twice scoring on drag go behinds twice and taking home a 5-4 victory.
Jason Nolf continued, in this bloggers opinion, to look just slightly off this season but it didn’t slow him down too much as he still waltzed to an 18-5 major decision victory over No. 17 Christian Pagdilao.
After the intermission we had our co-main event of the evening as top-ranked Cenzo Joseph took on No. 5 Josh Shields, also of Pittsburgh.
Mid-way through the first, Joseph got in on a single leg and caught Shields on his back when he went to dive under to take a 6-0 lead. From there, he cruised home to an 11-2 major decision to solidify his No. 1 ranking.
In the marquee matchup of the night, we saw defending champ and top-ranked Zahid Valencia against No. 2 and 2017 champion Mark Hall.
The first period was very scrappy, very violent feeling out process that ended 0-0, though both could’ve easily been called for hands to the face.
Hall escape easily in the second period to take a 1-0 lead and moment later, Valencia got in deep on a single leg. Hall hipped into him, stepped out of the single and got in on a single of his own with a slick re-attack. He finished the shot, then impressively rode out the period to lead 3-0.
Valencia then started the third period down and though he stood to his feet twice, each time Hall returned him to the mat and even nearly got a set of two nearfall points mid-way through. He rode out the period and claimed an impressive, controlling 4-0 victory to claim the No. 1 spot.
At 184, Shakur Rasheed continued to look like a force to be reckoned with as he picked apart No. 19 Kordell Norfleet en route to a 15-0 tech fall at the 7:00 mark.
Bo Nickal, meanwhile, took a fraction of that time. Nickal got out to an early 4-2 lead and then threw Austyn Harris to his back with a cement mixer for the fall in just 35 seconds.
The pin train rolled on at 285 as Anthony Cassar stuck Brady Daniel in 5:18 after building a 13-2 lead.
As a whole, it was the Nittany Lions best performance of the year.
Ridge Riley Award: Mark Hall
125: Brandon Coutney Dec. Devin Schnupp 13-7.
133: Roman Bravo-Young MDec. Ryan Millhof 14-1.
141: Nick Lee FALL Cory Crooks, 2:18.
149: Brady Berge Dec. Josh Maruca, 5-4.
157: Jason Nolf Dec. Christian Pagdilao, 18-5.
165: Vincenzo Joseph MDec. Josh Shields, 11-2.
174: Mark Hall Dec. Zahid Valencia, 4-0.
184: Shakur Rasheed TF. Kordell Norfleet, 15-0.
197: Bo Nickal FALL Austyn Harris, :35.
285: Anthony Cassar FALL Brady Daniel, 5:18.