Penn State kept things rolling in Friday’s morning session on Day 2 of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
The Nittany Lions remain in first place in the team race after advancing five to the semifinals and collecting more bonus points inside the Scottrade Center. They recorded one technical fall, two pins and two major decisions to increase their team lead to 15 points. Ohio State sits in second with 59 points, and Iowa is third with 58 points.
Zain Retherford (149 pounds), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184) all represent Penn State in the semifinals of their respective weight classes. Jimmy Gulibon (141), Matt McCutcheon (197) and Nick Nevills (285) all remained alive in the consolation bracket.
Joseph had the most intense victory of all the semifinalists.
The redshirt freshman gave up the first takedown to Missouri’s Daniel Lewis, who on Thursday had 6:51 in riding time in his first-round match. Lewis again put on a riding display getting up to over two minutes in the first period.
Joseph wasn’t deterred. He tallied two takedowns in the third period — one with 10 seconds remaining in the match — for a 6-5 win.
“It was tough, but you know you’ve got to get the job done,” Joseph said. “I was that close. Might as well finish. I wasn’t really too sure (how much time was left). I was just kind of going for it.”
Joseph gets another freshman in No. 2 Logan Massa of Michigan in the semifinals.
Retherford continued his dominance of the weight class with his third straight technical fall.
He wrestled for a total of 5:14 to take care of South Dakota State’s Alex Kocer 18-2. Retherford takes on Iowa’s Brandon Sorenson in the semifinals.
Nolf and Nickal each earned pins in their quarterfinal matches.
Nolf held an 8-1 lead on Rider’s B.J. Clagon before sticking him in 4:05. Nolf has now collected bonus points in all of his NCAA tournament wins — two pins, two technical falls and a major decision. He will take on Big Ten foe Tyler Berger of Nebraska.
Nickal led 6-4 over Nebraska’s T.J. Dudley when he reversed Dudley to his back in 4:33. It was a matchup of returning NCAA finalists as Dudley finished runner-up at 184 pounds last year. Nickal squares off with Iowa’s Sammy Brooks Friday night.
The other Nittany Lion to advance, Hall, tallied eight first-period points against Virginia Tech’s Zach Epperly. He added an escape and a riding-time point for the 10-2 major decision victory. He gets No. 1 Zahid Valencia of Arizona State.
McCutcheon and Nevills saw their runs in the championship bracket come to an end in the quarterfinals.
McCutcheon suffered a 7-3 loss to Virginia Tech’s Jared Haught. Haught collected three takedowns in the match. Nevills was unable to get a takedown in a 3-1 loss to Duke’s Jacob Kasper.
Gulibon wrestled two matches this morning to stay alive in the wrestle-backs. He opened with a 10-5 major decision over Northern Colorado’s Timmy Box. Gulibon then took care of a fellow District 7 wrestler in Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher 11-4. He needs just one more win to earn All-America status, but it will be a tough one against North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack.