It’s amazing how quickly a tournament can change.
Penn State, which leads the team race with 70 points, didn’t fare to well to open the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday inside the University of Indiana’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
In four first-round matches, it went 2-2 and sat in eighth place with six team points.
After the first session was over, the Nittany Lions have eight wrestlers alive with seven of them in the semifinals.
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Zain Retherford (149 pounds), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174), Bo Nickal (184), Matt McCutcheon (197) and Nick Nevills (285) all represent Penn State in the semifinals.
Jimmy Gulibon remains alive in the 141-pound consolation bracket.
Ohio State is second in the team race with 68 points and Iowa sits in third with 55.5.
Retherford and Nevills each had to wrestle two matches to get to their spots. They both pinned their opponents.
Nolf, Joseph, Hall, Nickal and McCutcheon each had first-round byes.
In their quarterfinal matches, Nolf, Nickal and Hall all pinned their opponents. Hall’s was the quickest in 29 seconds. The trio of pins made up the total of five the Nittany Lions had in the quarterfinal round.
Gulibon, who is the No. 2 seed, fell into the consolation bracket after being caught and pinned by No. 7 Javier Gasca III of Michigan State. Gasca got the win in 6:20.
Nick Suriano and Triston Law (133) were eliminated from the tournament.
Suriano didn’t wrestle at all due to the ankle injury he suffered against Oklahoma State on Feb. 19. He injury defaulted to both of his opponents.
Suriano did what he had to do in order to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis, Mo. March 16-18.
He is likely to receive an at-large bid. Those bids are based on record (16-4), coaches ranking (2nd at 125 pounds) and the ratings percentage index (3rd).
Law faced No. 3 Cory Clark of Iowa and suffered a 12-3 major decision loss in the first round. In the first round of the consolation bracket, Law trailed Northwestern’s Jason Ipsarides 3-2 with 37 seconds to go.
Law was unable to escape and Ipsarides built up riding time for a 4-2 win.