After the bad news of Nick Suriano not wrestling was announced Wednesday, Penn State came out guns blazing in the morning session of the NCAA championships on Thursday.
The Nittany Lions went 8-0 and collected five bonus-point victories — four technical falls and a pin. They also lead the team race by one point over Ohio State, which has 15 points. Iowa sits in third with 14 points.
Jimmy Gulibon (141 pounds) and Vincenzo Joseph (165) each got revenge on first-round foes, who beat them once this year.
Gulibon started the day for Penn State with Michigan State’s Javier Gasca III. Gasca pinned Gulibon in the Big Ten quarterfinals two weeks ago; this time around it was all Gulibon.
The senior tallied seven takedowns and used two near-fall points to earn an 18-3 technical fall in 7:00. Gulibon started last season’s NCAA championships with a technical fall, too.
Joseph took on Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck, who topped Joseph 18-12 in the Nittany Lions’ dual with the Cardinal in November. Subjeck led, 12-0, 20 seconds into that match.
On Thursday, it was Joseph earning the lead first with an escape in the second period. He added a takedown before the second period ended — and, with 21 seconds left in the match, he had another for the 5-1 win.
Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Bo Nickal (184) each had a technical fall and Matt McCutcheon (197) earned the first pin of the tournament for Penn State.
Retherford had only two takedowns in his 18-2 dismantling of Arizona State’s Josh Maruca. Most of Retherford’s points came from near-fall points.
Nolf was dominant as usual, shooting in on takedowns several times and finishing. He gassed out North Carolina State’s Thomas Bullard in a 22-7 win in 7:00.
Nickal didn’t mess around in his first-round match with Northwestern’s Mitch Sliga. The redshirt freshman tallied 15 unanswered points in 3:20 for the win.
McCutcheon, who might have been the surprise of the first round, was caught in a scramble with Purdue’s Christian Brunner midway through the first period. McCutcheon came out on top and got the fall from the neutral position in 1:53.
Mark Hall (174) and Nick Nevills (285) opened their NCAA championships with decision wins.
Hall worked for his 9-2 decision over South Dakota State’s David Kocer in his NCAA debut. Nevills took on a familiar foe in Lehigh’s Doug Vollaro, who tallied the first takedown of the match in the second period. Nevills earned a takedown with 42 seconds left in the third period for the 4-2 win.