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B1G Wrestling Session 2 Recap

Penn State placed five wrestlers into the finals, though some key medical forfeits may have given OSU the inside track

Penn State Wrestling Fans set another attendance record at the Bryce Jordan Center
Mark Selders (

Something about Saturday night and the Big Ten Tournament has been very unkind to Penn State the last two seasons.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Nittany Lions actually wrestled pretty well this year. Ohio State just wrestled better.

Additionally, the Buckeyes appear to be the beneficiaries of two big medical forfeits.

The night started out with the news that Jason Nolf would forfeit out of the rest of the tournament for precautionary reasons. That news was followed in short order by word that Nick Suriano would do the same.

After after Carson Kuhn loss to Sebastian Rivera in the first round of consis of the night, Corey Keener used a nasty, dirty, filthy cow catcher to pin Jens Lantz of Wisconsin.

On the Ohio State side, Te’Shan Campbell was bowled over by Iowa’s Alex Marinelli.

As quarterfinals got going, Ohio State struck first as Nathan Tomasello used a late takedown and rideout to top Spencer Lee and advance to the finals against Ethan Lizak who didn’t have to wrestle due to Suriano’s forfeit. Tomasello should be the heavy favorite there, but Lizak is wrestling much better than he was when they first met and will have time to recover from a tough weight cut.

Things continued to go OSU’s way after that, as Minnesota’s Mitch McKee absolutely fell apart to hand Luke Pletcher a win after McKee led 3-0 in the third period and 4-2 with 20 seconds remaining.

At 141, Nick Lee got out to a 2-0 lead over Illinois Mike Carr and then just seemed to hit a wall, falling to Carr 10-6. On the other side of the bracket, Ohio State’s Joey McKenna did his thing in a 6-0 win over Purdue’s Nate Limmex.

Things briefly shifted back toward the good guys at 149. Despite Ke-Shawn Hayes throwing it in reverse more than a cheap backup dancer in a rap music video, Zain Retherford still picked up bonus points with a 10-0 win.

The momentum was short-lived, however. Nolf’s forfeit lifted Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo into the finals and on the other side, Michael Kemerer got sloppy and Ohio State’s Micah Jordan took advantage. With Kemerer hanging on a front headlock, Jordan shrugged him to the side and took him directly to his back for the fall.

Then Penn State made a bit of a run of its own.

At 165 pounds, Vincenzo Joseph remained calm, cool and collected to top surging Logan Massa of Michigan 5-4 to advance to the finals where he’ll meet one Isaiah Martinez.

Up at 174, Mark Hall put it in cruise control a bit as he eased to a 4-1 win over Northwestern’s Johnny Sebastian. The real noise came in the other semifinal where Michigan’s Myles Amine came out and pinned Ohio State’s Bo Jordan. This time it was the Buckeyes wrestler who got sloppy as he turned to face Amine for an escape and got pancaked to his back for the third-period fall.

Bo Nickal and Myles Martin held serve at 184 for PSU and OSU respectively. Nickal, like Hall, settled in an eased past Emery Parker of Illinois, 5-2. Martin impressed with a 7-3 victory over Michigan’s Domenic Abounader.

At 197, we’re going to get the matchup we all wanted. Shakur Rasheed used two early takedowns and set of four backpoints to earn a 10-2 major decision over Purdue’s Christian Brunner. Ohio State’s Kollin Moore fell behind Michigan’s Kevin Beazley 2-0 but finished the stronger of the two wrestlers and picked up a 5-3 victory.

Nick Nevills dropped a 14-5 major decision to Kyle Snyder at heavyweight thanks in part to some strange stalling calls. Snyder will face man-mountain Adam Coon in the finals after Coon tossed fellow giant Sam Stoll to his back for the fall.

All told, Penn State trails Ohio State 137.5 to 124 in the team race. The Nittany Lions have five finalists, three of whom (Zain, Mark and Bo) will be favored and two of whom are in toss-ups (Cenzo and Shak). The Bucks have seven finalists, two of whom are favored (NaTo and McKenna, three of whom are in toss ups (Jordan, Moore and Snyder) and two of whom are underdogs (Pletcher and Martin).

Penn State has four wrestlers alive in the consis, including Nick Lee and Nick Nevills who are serious contenders to wrestle back for third place.

Ohio State has two wrestlers on the back half, with Bo Jordan and Ke-Shawn Hayes both with a chance for third.

Wrestling picks up again tomorrow at noon with consolation action, while the finals, third-place, and fifth-place matches will get underway at 3 p.m.