After the past two years of the Hall vs. Valencia match-up, it was time the two met during a regular season dual meet. The Arizona State Sun Devils made their first-ever stop in Rec Hall on Friday, December 15 and faced a fierce lineup of Nittany Lions.
Penn State’s lopsided victory was more competitive than the score made it seem, even with their nine out of ten bout wins. The bonus point victories came from three major decisions, one tech fall and three pins.
Sophomore 125 Devin Schnupp dropped the first bout of the evening but still sent a supportive, sold out Rec Hall crowd to its feet as he fought off a major and held the bout to a decision. Arizona-native and the ever-entertaining true freshman Roman Bravo-Young took on ASU’s No. 7 at 125 Ryan Millhof. Arizona moved Millhof up a weight class for the matchup. Bravo-Young dominated Millhof holding him to a single escape point and took the 14-1 major.
No. 12 Brady Berge followed up with another bonus-point win at 141 pinning ASU’s Cory Crooks at the 2:18 mark. Senior leader No. 1 Jason Nolf then showed off his stamina with an 18-5 major decision win over No. 16 Christian Pagdilao.
The first of the two key match-ups of the night came next at 165. No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph took on a fellow Pittsburgh-native and training partner, No. 5 Josh Shields. The first minute was a battle of defense, followed by a crazy takedown at the edge of the mat and two points for Joseph. He was able to turn Shields for an additional four back points. The Sun Devil was able to escape after a reset and left the first period down 6-1. Joseph quickly escaped to a 7-1 lead in the beginning of the second, then tested Shields defense for the rest of the period. Shields worked for another escape at the beginning of the third but got hit with a stall warning shortly after with 1:20 left in the bout. Joseph picked up the stall point, one more takedown and topped off the 11-2 major with the riding point.
Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for, the revenge match. 2018 NCAA champion No. 1 Zahid Valencia versus 2017 NCAA champion No. 2 Mark Hall. Valencia’s length and leverage versus Hall’s power and speed.
The duo battled evenly in the center of the mat in the first and left the period scoreless. Hall chose down to start the second and escaped. Valencia went in on a high single, which Hall fought off and forced a scramble then rolled through for a takedown and 3-0 lead. Hall worked for near fall points but settled for 41 seconds of riding time at the end of the second. Valencia chose down to start the third. Hall worked from the top trying again to turn Valencia but worked his way to 2:41 in riding time and a 4-0 victory. Rec Hall roared as Hall celebrated with an impromptu air guitar performance in front of the Penn State bench.
The end of the lineup was ready to head to the holiday break early, as they ended their bouts quick. No. 4 Shakur Rasheed locked up his tech fall victory in 7 minutes over Kordell Norfleet at 184. No. 1 Bo Nickal wasted no time pinning ASU’s Austyn Harris in just 35 seconds. Then heavyweight No. 5 Anthony Cassar ended the match with a pin at the 5:18 mark over Brady Daniel.
Penn State heads into the holiday break at 4-0 and will compete in the annual Southern Scuffle tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Jan 1-2, 2019.
BOUT BY BOUT:
125: ASU Brandon Courtney dec. PSU Devin Schnupp, 13-7
133: PSU Roman Bravo-Young maj. dec. ASU #7 Ryan Millhof, 14-1
141: PSU #4 Nick Lee pinned ASU Cory Crooks, WBF (2:18)
149: PSU #12 Brady Berge dec. ASU #11 Josh Maruca, 5-4
157: PSU #1 Jason Nolf maj. dec. ASU #16 Christian Pagdilao, 18-5
165: PSU #1 Vincenzo Joseph maj. dec. ASU #5 Josh Shields, 11-2
174: PSU #2 Mark Hall dec. ASU #1 Zahid Valencia, 4-0
184: PSU #4 Shakur Rasheed tech fall ASU Kordell Norfleet, 15-0 (TF; 7:00)
197: PSU #1 Bo Nickal pinned ASU Austyn Harris, WBF (0:35)
285: PSU #5 Anthony Cassar pinned ASU Brady Daniel, WBF (5:18)