In case you missed it, Penn State won the national championship in wrestling over the weekend.
The win marks the fourth straight title for the Lions, who have won eight of the last nine.
Penn State crowned three individual champions - Anthony Cassar at heavyweight, Jason Nolf at 157, and Bo Nickal at 197.
All three of the individual champions are seniors, and have helped cement Penn State wrestling as one of the premier sports dynasties of the decade.
Anthony Cassar moved up to heavyweight for the 2018-19 season, where he wrecked the field. Noticeably smaller than some of his opponents, Cassar relied more on speed and strength rather than brute force to win his matches. Anthony took a redshirt season early in his career, but also missed out on a season due to injury, so it will remain to be seen whether he returns or moves on with his wrestling career.
Jason Nolf very nearly was a four-time national champion for Penn State. After redshirting, Nolf was the 2015-16 runner up, losing to Isaiah Martinez of Illinois. After that, Nolf was a man on a mission, winning three straight national titles.
Similarly, Bo Nickal lost his first title match as a redshirt freshman, and then proceeded to rattle off three straight national championships. Nickal and Nolf join only David Taylor as four-time finalists for the Lions, and only Ed Ruth and Zain Retherford as three-time champions.
But let’s not forget some of the other seniors.
Nick Nevills has been a heavyweight for all of his Penn State career, rising to as high as number four in the country in 2018. But with the sudden addition of Cassar at the weight, along with some injuries, Nevills took a back seat role in his final season. After competing at the Southern Scuffle, Nick did not appear on the mat for the Lions again.
Scott Stossel redshirted in 2015-16, and so he still has one more year of eligibility with the Lions. However, Scott saw limited action at 133 this year, and with freshman Roman Bravo-Young holding down the fort at 133, and Nick Lee at 141, the competition will be fierce for Stossel to see meaningful time next year. Still, Scott provided excellent depth for the Lions, who believe highly in the mantra that iron sharpens iron.
Lastly, Shakur Rasheed has bounced around the weight classes a bit for the Lions. After a redshirt season, Shak wrestled at 165 as a freshman, then 174 as a sophomore, bumping up to 197 as a junior, and finally settling at 184 as a senior. Sheed helped Penn State to the national title in 2017-18, and was ranked as the #2 wrestler at 184 as a senior. However, injuries sidelined him for a large part of the season, and though he made it back for the national championships, never seemed to regain his edge.
These young men have embodied what it means to be a Penn State wrestler during their time at Penn State. They competed every day, making themselves, their teammates, and their team better for it. Some will leave as individual champions, some will wonder what could have been, but all of them can hold their heads high knowing they helped continue the dominating legacy that is Penn State wrestling in the 2010s.