Averaging 5.5 team points per match, Penn State’s Zain Retherford has once again set himself up to be named college’s wrestling’s Most Dominant Wrestler at the end of the season.
The senior 149-pounder has 15 pins on the season, three technical falls and two major decisions. Only two of his wins this year have come without bonus points.
The reigning Hodge Trophy winner has made a career out of being dominant, not having lost a match since his freshman year when he he was knocked out of the consolation semifinals of the NCAA tournament by Bellefonte’s Mitchell Port, who was wrestling for Edinboro.
Since that loss, Retherford has stood above his opponents, earning two national championships and two NCAA Division I Most Dominant Wrestler awards in 2016 and 2017.
It’s safe to say the award has a good chance of sticking around Happy Valley, as Retherford’s closest Most Dominant competition are teammates Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal.
Nolf, who hasn’t wrestled since suffering an apparent knee injury against Rutgers on Jan. 28, sits at second in the standings, averaging 5.10 team points. Nickal is a close third with 5.09.
Also ranked in the 10 top is fellow Nittany Lion Mark Hall, who comes in fifth with 4.78 average team points.
Former Penn State wrestler Cody Law, who transferred in 2016 to Pitt-Johnstown, leads the Most Dominant Wrestler rankings in Division II, with 4.65 average team points, with .22 average points more than his closest competition.
The Most Dominant Wrestler standings are calculated by adding the total number of points awarded through match results then dividing it by the total number of matches wrestled.
The NCAA gives out three awards at the conclusion of the national tournament each year: Most Dominant Wrestler, most pins and most technical falls.
Retherford and Nolf have fallen out of the lead in the NCAA’s most pins category, as Hofstra’s Mike Hughes has caught up with 15 falls in a total of 29 minutes and six seconds. Nolf now sits at second with 15 falls in 41:53, and Retherford at third with 15 in 46:26.
Nittany Lions make up half of the top 10 in the most pins standings, as Nickal comes in at fifth with 13 falls in 20:47; Shakur Rasheed is seventh with 10 in 11:36 and Hall 10th with nine in 18:30.
Penn State freshman Nick Lee is in 10th place for most technical falls with seven in 35:06.