Penn State freshman Mark Hall showed why he’s the defending Junior World champ this weekend as he sailed through the junior division of the U.S. Open Wrestling Championships, outscoring opponents 60-0 on his way to the title at 74 kg.
Hall earned a 10-0 technical fall over Iowa freshman Alex Marinelli in the final at South Pointe Arena in Las Vegas.
The defending NCAA champion earned a technical fall in all six of his matches at the open, allowing only one match to go into the second period. With the ease that Hall sailed through the tournament, some questioned whether he should have competed in the senior division.
“Going juniors was good for me and, you know, hopefully I’ll make the World Team in a couple weeks from now, and get back to Junior Worlds and repeat,” he told the media.
In addition to Hall, Nittany Lion Club wrestlers Frank Molinaro and David Taylor also competed for titles Saturday night.
Taylor, fresh off a title at February’s freestyle World Cup, dominated his way to a U.S. open title with a 10-0 technical fall over Richard Perry (New York AC). Taylor outscored his opponents 50-4.
Olympian Molinaro lost in the finals on criteria 4-4 to the former NCAA champion in Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids).
Molinaro entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 65 kg. NLWC teammate Zain Retherford was the No. 2. seed.
Molinaro earned an 8-4 decision over Jimmy Kennedy (New York AC) in the semifinals on Friday to advance to the championship. Retherford lost in the final seconds of his semifinal match to No. 3-seed Oliver.
Retherford went on to beat Kennedy to take third.
The Nittany Lion Wrestling Club entered 13 wrestlers to compete Thursday through Saturday at the U.S. Open.
Entered in the senior division were Nico Megaludis (57 kg); Jordan Conway (61); Molinaro (65 kg); Retherford (65 kg); Jason Nolf (70 kg); Bo Nickal (86kg) and Taylor (86 kg).
Devin Schnupp (55 kg); Mason Lindenmuth (60 kg); Brian Friery (63 kg), Nick Lee (63 kg); Bo Pipher (66 kg) and Hall (74 kg) competed in the junior division.
Nolf lost in the semifinals to former Nebraska wrestler James Green (Titan Mercury), and ended up taking fourth. Green went on to win the 70 kg title.
Defending NCAA champion Nickal also took fourth, losing in the semifinals to Perry.
Megaludis lost to Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello 4-5 in the quarterfinals.