Penn State senior Zain Retherford went to Paris this week, hoping to return to the U.S. with some hardware.
Unfortunately for the star wrestler, things did not turn out that way.
Retherford went 1-1 Saturday in his senior world’s debut at the 2017 Senior World Wrestling Championships. But Nittany Lion wrestling fans need not be disappointed.
Competing at 65 kg in men’s freestyle, Retherford dominated his first opponent, former two-time Edinboro All-American David Habat, who was competing for Slovenia. With four takedowns, one being a four-pointer, Retherford earned the technical superiority and rolled into the second-round match.
There, Retherford faced Olympian Adam Batirov of Bahrain. Down 5-2 with about 20 seconds left in the match, Retherford scored a takedown, pulling within a point of his opponent. Retherford got in on a second takedown but was unable to complete it before time expired, souring what would have been a remarkable comeback.
A tired-looking Batriov lost in the next round, knocking Retherford out of contention.
“It was fun. I definitely wish things would have been different, that goes without saying,” Retherford told the media after his final match. “But I was pacing back and forth before my first match, thinking about how lucky I am to be here.”
Retherford wasn’t the only Penn State wrestler on the world stage this weekend. Freshman Mason Manville also went 1-1 in his senior world’s debut, competing in Greco Roman. At 75 kg, the Wyoming Seminary graduate won his first match in a 4-2 decision over Manfred Edsberg of Sweden. In his second match, Manville was hit repeatedly by the refs with passives for burying his head, despite being several inches shorter than Georgia’s Mindia Tsulukidze. A Tsulukidze loss in the next round knocked Manville out of the tournament.
“I don’t want to make it about the ref,” Manville said in a press conference. “I don’t want to complain.”
Team USA picked up the gold medal in men’s freestyle, led by gold-medal finishes by Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs, silver from James Green and Thomas Gilman, and bronze medals from J’Den Cox and Nick Gwiazdowski, who trains with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.