For the seventh time, the Nittany Lions won the Southern Scuffle tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They finished the tournament with 197.0 points and a 56-19 overall record, including 22 pins, four techs and 12 majors.
Six Lions wrestled their way to championship titles: Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174), Bo Nickal (184), and Shakur Rasheed (197). Penn State also claimed the top two team awards, Most Pins in Least Time and Outstanding Wrestler.
Retherford, Nolf, Joseph, Hall and Nickal were favored to win the scuffle title in each of their weight classes. Shakur Rasheed took everyone by surprise with his incredible 5-0 run, which included three pins and two majors. All three pins were under one minute and two of the three were against opponents ranked in the top 15.
Rasheed’s performance earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award of the tournament. It also made Cael Sanderson’s decision for his starter at 197 a whole lot harder.
Two new faces took to the mat wrestling unattached at 141 and 149. True freshman Nick Lee went 4-1 in the Scuffle at 141 and took home second place. True freshman Jarod Verkleeren wrestled his way to seventh place at 149.
Heavyweight Nick Nevills took fourth place and Anthony Cassar placed third at 197. Cassar lost in the semifinals to Northern Iowa’s No. 5 Jacob Holschlag who went on to wrestle Rasheed in the finals. A controversial call took away Cassar’s late takedown that would have won him the match and instead sent the bout into overtime. Holschlag countered a Cassar shot to end the match 6-4 and sent Cassar to the consolation matches.
We’ll have to wait until Penn State’s next matchup with Michigan on Friday, Jan. 12 to find out who Sanderson decides to start at 197. The Lions then finish their weekend on the road with a match against Michigan State on Sunday, Jan. 14.