Cadet World champ Retherford commits to Penn State

Zain Retherford grew up a Penn State fan, attending Nittany Lions wrestling meets and football games since he was young. Soon the 17-year-old Pennsylvania native will go from Penn State fan to Penn State athlete after giving a verbal commitment to Nittany Lion head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson.

Zain Retherford defeated Zane Richards to win a Junior National freestyle title at 132 pounds this summer in Fargo (Photo/Dave Jedlicka,
Retherford, who attends Benton High School, chose Penn State over Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Lehigh. He had already taken an official visit to Lehigh and canceled his upcoming visits to Iowa and Oklahoma State.

"Penn State was close to home and I thought I could get the job done there," said Retherford, who projects as a 141-pounder in college. Cael came to my house and offered me something I couldn't refuse."

Retherford is the second InterMat Top 100 recruit from the Class of 2013 Penn State has landed. Matt McCutcheon (Kiski Area, Pa.), the nation's 35th-ranked senior, committed to the Nittany Lions in mid-July.

After being ruled ineligible this past high school season because of his transfer to Benton, Retherford has put together one of the most dominant years ever for a high school-aged wrestler. He won the NHSCA Junior Nationals in April, FILA Cadet Nationals in June, Junior Nationals in July, and FILA Cadet World Championships in August.

Pennsylvania's Zain Retherford did not lose a period in Fargo (Photo/John Sachs,
"I didn't get to wrestle this last season, so I had a lot of drive," said Retherford. "I didn't have a goal during the season, so I wanted to get my goals accomplished in the summer. My main goal was to do as well as I could in Fargo, learn as much as I could in freestyle, and to just get as big and strong as I could. So there was a lot of motivation I guess you could say."

Retherford begins his senior year with his sights set on winning everything in front of him.

"I have been in the Super 32 three years in a row," said Retherford. "I haven't won it yet. That's a goal of mine, to win it my senior year, and also win the state tournament in March. I think Benton got into Ironman too. I want to win all these tournament and go undefeated all year. I also want to keep pursing the international style. I like it a lot."


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