In the middle of Times Square, around colorful flashing billboards, two Penn State wrestlers once again showed the world just how dominant they can be.
In the annual Beat the Streets event, where the U.S. took on Japan outdoors Wednesday at 47th Street and 7th Avenue, current Penn State wrestler Zain Retherford and former Nittany Lion great David Taylor both came away with victories. Retherford earned an 8-2 decision over Japan’s Daichi Takatani in the 65-kg bout, and Taylor pinned Takahiro Yamamoto in 1:19 at 86 kg.
Both officially represented the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.
“I never did an outside event like this, especially at Times Square, and it’s awesome,” an out-of-breath Retherford told reporters after his decision. “I heard some ‘We Are’ chants, too, so Penn State travels everywhere. So that’s awesome to see.”
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Retherford, the Hodge Trophy winner and the two-time NCAA champ, is currently riding a 67-match winning streak. He’ll return to Penn State next season for his final year of eligibility.
As for Taylor, who graduated in 2014, it barely seemed as if he had wrestled once he spoke to reporters after his matchup. He talked confidently and matter-of-factly and looked more like he just got back from dinner than the wrestling mat.
“Wrestling right now is more fun than it’s ever been,” Taylor said, adding he looks forward to this event every year. “I’ve wrestled the best guys in the world, so I can’t complain.”
Taylor was also a two-time champ for Penn State. He beat three Olympic medalists in February, one of whom was the reigning champ that he pinned.
Overall, USA won all but two bouts Wednesday.