The Penn State wrestling team got its cake earlier in the day when it clinched its fourth consecutive NCAA title and eighth in nine years.
Tonight was all about the icing.
The Nittany Lions entered the evening with five finalists and the title well in hand.
Things started about as well as Cael Sanderson’s squad could’ve possibly hoped at 285 pounds.
Anthony Cassar, wrestling in the tournament for the first time in his career, put in a virtuoso performance in a 10-1 major decision victory over Derek White.
White handed Cassar his only loss of the year in January at the Southern Scuffle. It was a different story this time around as the Penn State heavyweight took White from feet to back in the second period to build a 6-1 lead.
He continued to build on that lead throughout the rest of the bout en route to victory.
The next Penn Stater to wrestle wasn’t until Jason Nolf at 157.
Nolf, as he’s done all throughout his college career, dominated Nebraska’s Tyler Berger to the tune of a 10-2 major decision victory.
The win gave Nolf, a four-time finalist, his third career national title to wrap up an outstanding career.
Things took a sharp turn briefly not long after the Nolf match.
Vincenzo Joseph, looking to win his third title in three years, was upended by Virginia Tech freshman Mekhi Lewis.
Lewis, a Junior World Champion, fought off a deep shot early in the first to take things into the second tied at 0-0.
In the second, Lewis started the second on top and locked up a nearside cradle to take Joseph over for four points.
From there on out, Joseph had to chase the match and never got back in it, falling 7-1.
The rough stretch continued at 174 where Zahid Valencia once against topped Mark Hall in the finals.’
Hall got out to a 2-1 lead after the first period thanks to some solid scrambling. He escaped to lead 3-1 early in the second. With about 40 seconds remaining in the period, Valencia scored a (dubious) takedown of his own and rode it out to make the score 3-3 after two.
An early escape in the third for Valencia gave him a 4-3 lead and Hall couldn’t grab any points of his own before time expired.
Thankfully, the night ended on a bright note with Bo Nickal,
Nickal toed the line against Kollin Moore of Ohio State for the third time this season and came away with a 5-1 win.
While the match was far from a Picasso, Nickal was always firmly in control.
Penn State finished the tournament with 137.5 points.
The rest of the trophy winners were Ohio State with 96.5, Oklahoma State with 84.0 and Iowa with 76.0.