The Lions have their hearts set on one thing this season… that seventh National Championship title. With that comes a few sacrifices, including the Big Ten Championship title.
Ohio State took the crown this year after a few key players on Penn State’s squad and other Big Ten teams decided to step out of the tournament after they received a bid to the NCAAs. A sixth-place finish gets you a bid.
Former Penn Stater at 125 Nick Suriano, now at Rutgers, stepped out of the tournament, which gave OSU’s Nathan Tomasello an easier path to his Big Ten title win. Jason Nolf took a medical forfeit for sixth place at 157, which took away two more possible, and likely, wins for Penn State. Ohio State also wrestled the toughest they have nearly all season.
Despite the team loss, Zain Retherford, Mark Hall and Bo Nickel all took home individual Big Ten Titles. Shakur Rasheed and Vincenzo Joseph also made it to championship matches. Joseph dropped a frustrating 4-1 loss to Isaiah Martinez of Illinois, who Joseph beat in the NCAA final last year. We’re all hoping to see a rematch between these two at Nationals.
Rasheed dropped an 8-4 decision to Ohio State’s Kyle Moore. He had one major leading up to the finals match, but we saw Rasheed put up big bonus-point wins earlier in the season, which would be a huge help for the team at NCAAs.
Overall, Sanderson said the thought the team wrestled well but they’re going to have to make some adjustments if they want to win the National Title.
Penn State will take nine wrestlers to the national’s tournament, eight of which have a seed. It all starts Thursday, March 15 and goes through Saturday, March 17. Coverage will be provided on ESPNU for session 1,3 and 5, ESPN for sessions 2 and 4, and the finals will be on ESPN2.
2018 Nationals Seeding:
133: Unseeded Corey Keener
141: No. 8 Nick Lee
149: No. 1 Zain Retherford
157: No. 3 Jason Nolf
184: No. 1 Bo Nickal
197: No. 5 Shakur Rasheed
285: No. 3 Nick Nevills