Penn State’s Corey Keener said earlier this week that he and his wrestling teammates are looking to dominate their opponents and “make guys want to not wrestle us anymore.”
It seemed as if the Nittany Lions took Keener’s words to heart in a 40-2 drubbing of Binghamton on Friday night.
Although the Nittany Lions were in a hole early after dropping the 125-pound bout, they bounced back and won every match from there out. Still, associate head coach Cody Sanderson was quick to praise Binghamton.
“We knew they’d be prepared,” Cody Sanderson told the Penn State Sports Network. “(Binghamton’s) Matt Dernlan is a very smart coach. He had these guys ready to go, and we appreciate that.”
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Keener got things rolling for Penn State, but it took some time. Trailing 4-3 late in the third period, he hit his second reversal of the match, collected four near-fall points and tacked on a riding-time point for the 10-4 victory over Jacob Nicholson.
That was the beginning of the end for the Bearcats.
Penn State’s Jered Cortez rolled to a 12-2 major decision over Joe Russ at 141 pounds, snapping off four takedowns, a reversal and amassing 2:33 in riding time in the victory.
Zain Retherford (149) and Jason Nolf (157) then earned back-to-back pins for the Nittany Lions’ “Murderers’ Row.”
Retherford finished his match in the first period at a time of 2:37. Nolf locked up a cross-face cradle and finished the match off with 37 seconds left in the second period.
Vincenzo Joseph had an eight-point third period en route to a 13-2 major decision win over Vincent DePrez at 165 pounds. Mark Hall followed that up with a pin of Anthony Lombardo 14 seconds into the second period. Bo Nickal finished things off with six takedowns in a 14-6 major decision of No. 14 Steve Schneider, who cost his team a point for an unsportsmanlike penalty.
“They set the standard for the program. They set the standard for the team,” Cody Sanderson said of the five defending national champions. “If you’re on the side or a younger wrestler, you watch these guys, that’s what you want to be like. The way they wrestle is something that is good for the sport in general.”
The dual finished off with Anthony Cassar earning his second win of the season and Nick Nevills earning a bonus-point victory.
Cassar rattled off four takedowns and collected 2:27 in riding time on way to a 10-4 win at 197 pounds. Nevills recorded a takedown — his fourth of the bout — at the end of his match to secure a 12-3 major decision. Nevills had an impressive second period by riding out Connor Calkins the entire two minutes.
Penn State next shifts gears toward the Keystone Classic, which is on Sunday at the famed Palestra in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions have 21 wrestlers traveling with them this weekend — probably the most wrestlers they’ll travel with all season.
“When we get to the Big Ten travel limits, it’s not something we can normally do,” Cody Sanderson said. “This is a great experience for our younger guys to travel and see how these guys prepare for dual meets and what it takes. They get a chance at the end of the weekend to go ahead and get some competitions under their belt.”