Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson talks Southern Scuffle
As much as the first day of the Southern Scuffle was special for Penn State, the second day was just as great.
The Nittany Lions crowned six champions Wednesday on the way to their eighth-ever Southern Scuffle team title. They also set a new team points record with 216.5 points.
Champions for Penn State included Nick Lee (141), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174), Shakur Rasheed (184) and Bo Nickal (197). Bo Pipher (157) and Anthony Cassar (285) were silver medalists as Roman Bravo-Young (133), Brady Berge (149) and Nick Nevills (285) all finished third. Mason Manville (165) finished seventh, which gave Penn State a total of 12 medalists.
Penn State outpaced runner-up Oklahoma State by 28 points. Iowa State finished third with 104 points.
The milestones and accolades didn’t stop there. A day after tying the school’s all-time falls mark, Nolf collected his record-breaking 54th in the semifinals. It came in 5 minutes and 22 seconds over Stanford’s Dom Mandarino.
In the finals, Nolf had to go through Pipher. Nolf didn’t take very long to teach Pipher in a 16-1 technical fall in 2:16. For Nolf, it was career win No. 99 and he should easily get No. 100 in the Nittany Lions’ dual at Northwestern on Jan. 11.
Nickal, who collected his 100th career win on Tuesday, hit another milestone. Not only did he win his 50th straight match, but it was also his 50th pin.
Nickal took just 2:09 to take care of Stanford’s Nathan Traxler in the finals and secured the title for Penn State. He pinned his way to the title, and was named the Outstanding Wrestler and the Gorriaran Award winner of the tournament, which is given to the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time.
Joseph had the hardest final of all the champions against Lock Haven’s Chance Marsteller. Joseph collected the first points of the match with a single-leg takedown with 1:15 left in the first period.
Marsteller tied the match up at 3-3 with a counter-double-leg takedown of Joseph. Joseph led 4-3 to start the third period, and the match was quickly tied with a Marsteller escape 16 seconds into the period.
Joseph’s takedown with 42 seconds left in the match held up for a 6-5 victory.
Outside of Pipher’s loss to Nolf, Cassar was the only lone finalist to suffer a defeat. He was never really able to get his offense going against the Cowboys’ Derek White.
White’s first-period takedown with 1:34 remaining proved to be the difference-maker in a 3-2 win. Cassar managed just two escapes in the loss.
Hall and Rasheed got the night started for Penn State by winning back-to-back titles. Hall scored five third-period points to top Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith 5-1. Rasheed had three second-period points, gave up a penalty point and added a riding-time point for a 4-1 win over Virginia Tech’s Hunter Bolen.
Stanford’s Real Woods scored the first points of the match against Nick Lee with a takedown 55 seconds into the match. Lee, though, scored six unanswered points for a 6-3 win.
Bravo-Young, Berge and Nevills all bounced back after quarterfinal losses with two wins for their bronze medals.
Bravo-Young was leading Iowa State’s Austin Gomez 8-2 in their quarterfinal bout before Gomez threw and stuck the Nittany Lion in 3:57. He responded by outscoring his consolation opponents 21-5.
Berge suffered a 3-2 loss to Duke’s Mitch Finesilver in the quarterfinals. He used a pair of three-point victories over Iowa State’s Jarrett Degen (7-4) and Stanford’s Requir Van der Merwe (5-2).
Nevills was shut out by White 4-0 in the quarterfinals. He outscored his opponents 10-1 with an 8-0 major decision to make the third-place match.
Manville went 2-1 on the day.
He began with a 7-2 win over Columbia’s Laurence Kosoy before suffering a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to Duke’s Zach Finesilver. In the seventh-place match, Manville rebounded with an 8-4 win over Navy’s Tanner Skidgel.
Brody Teske and Jarod Verkleeren each came up short of medaling for the Nittany Lions.
Teske, who wrestled unattached, medically forfeited out of the tournament before the day even began. He finished 2-1 in his first collegiate action and showed Penn State fans what to look forward to when he sports a blue and white singlet. Jeff Byers said during the radio broadcast that Teske did suffer an injury in his quarterfinal loss to Lock Haven’s Luke Werner.
Verkleeren was pinned in his consolation fifth-round match against Appalachian State’s Matt Zovistoski. It wasn’t a quick pin, but it seemed as if Verkleeren just stopped wrestling.
Verkleeren led 5-3 to start the third period. Zovistoski escaped with 1:52 remaining to get within one. Zovistoski got a takedown with four seconds remaining. Instead of fighting off his back, Verkleeren laid there in disgust and was pinned with one second remaining.
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