Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling’s national title among highlights of 2016

nmark@centredaily.com

Penn State wrestling won the national title in 2016, finishing third on the Centre Daily Times’ top 10 sports stories of 2016.

3. Penn State wins another NCAA wrestling crown

Following a year that Penn State had its lowest finishes in the Big Ten (5th) and NCAA (6th) under coach Cael Sanderson, the Nittany Lions roared back to the top.

They finished the season 16-0, won their fifth NCAA and Big Ten titles in six years and took the inaugural National Wrestling Coaches Association Dual Championship title. Penn State was dominant all season with 10 wins over ranked opponents, four of them against top-10 teams.

The Nittany Lions took that momentum to Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the Big Ten Championships. They had six in the finals with Nico Megaludis (125), Jimmy Gulibon (141), Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Bo Nickal (174) and Morgan McIntosh (197). Retherford, Nickal and McIntosh came out on top in their weight classes, and Penn State won the team race by 23.5 points over Iowa.

At the NCAA tournament inside the famed Madison Square Garden in New York, the Nittany Lions had five finalists and the team title wrapped up before the championship matches began. Megaludis and Retherford captured titles, and Nolf, Nickal and McIntosh lost their title bouts.

For Megaludis, it was his third appearance in the finals but finally resulted in his first win.

For Retherford, it capped off an undefeated season.

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