The Nittany Lions, despite only having only wrestler, Nick Nevills (285), competing in Session V, mathematically wrapped up their second straight NCAA title before tonight's finals. It's the seventh NCAA title won by the program.
Penn State has five wrestlers competing for the championship tonight and currently has 122 points. Big Ten champion Ohio State sits in second place, 16 points behind the Nittany Lions. Oklahoma State (99), Iowa (93) and Missouri (82.5) round out the top five teams heading into tonight.
Nevills claimed a fifth-place finish at 285 pounds with a 4-3 win in sudden victory over Jacob Kasper (Duke), avenging a loss from Friday's quarterfinal round.
Three No. 1 seeds who fell in the semifinals came back to finish third on Saturday: Iowa's Thomas Gilman (125), Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello (133) and Arizona State's Zahid Valencia (174).
Thomas Gilman defeated OSU's Nick Piccininni for third place (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Gilman topped No. 2 seed Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) 5-2 in the consolation semifinals before picking up a 13-6 victory over Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) in the third-place match.
For Gilman, it's not about the bronze medal.
"The bigger deal for me is losing, refocusing, coming back," said Gilman. "That not only shows the kind of wrestler I am, but the person I am, the man I've become. I was in the same position two years ago when we were here in St. Louis. I was that close, but I wasn't mature enough to really ice the cake there against (Alan) Waters in the bronze-medal match."
Two other Hawkeye wrestlers, Brandon Sorensen (149) and Michael Kemerer (157), also finished third. Sammy Brooks (184) finished fourth.
Tomasello earned his second straight third-place finish by defeating a couple Big Ten wrestlers, Eric Montoya (Nebraska) in the consolation semifinals and Stevan Micic (Michigan) in the third-place match.
"No one wants to be here," said of Tomasello of wrestling in the consolation rounds. "Everybody wants to be in the finals wrestling on the big stage. It's about being tough, finishing off the way you want to finish off with the highest place you can get. That was my mentality going into this one."
Valencia, a freshman, was dominant on Saturday. He opened his day by pinning Zac Brunson (Illinois) in the first period. He then picked up a 15-5 major decision over Myles Amine (Michigan) in the third-place match.
Session V attendance was 18,953, bringing the total attendance to 91,797.
Tonight's NCAA finals are set for 7 p.m. CT and will air live on ESPN. The finals will start at 197 pounds and conclude at 184 pounds.
3rd: Thomas Gilman (Iowa) dec. Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 13-6
5th: Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) by medical forfeit over Jack Mueller (Virginia)
7th: Sean Russell (Edinboro) dec. Nathan Kraisser (Campbell), 10-3
3rd: Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) dec. Stevan Micic (Michigan), 5-2
5th: Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. Eric Montoya (Nebraska), 5-3
7th: Zane Richards (Illinois) maj. dec. Scotty Parker (Lehigh), 14-4
3rd: Kevin Jack (NC State) pinned Bryce Meredith (Wyoming), 6:20
5th: Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) dec. Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers), 4-2
7th: Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. Tommy Thorn (Minnesota), 3-1
3rd: Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. Micah Jordan (Ohio State), 4-0
5th: Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) dec. Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech), 10-4
7th: Kenny Theobold (Rutgers) pinned Alex Kocer (South Dakota State), 1:37
3rd: Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. Joseph Smith (Oklahoma State), 7-1 SV
5th: Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. Dylan Palacio (Cornell), 6-3
7th: Paul Fox (Stanford) pinned Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech), 5:00
3rd: Logan Massa (Michigan) maj. dec. Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin), 11-2
5th: Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) dec. Daniel Lewis (Missouri), 9-6
7th: Chad Walsh (Rider) dec. Brandon Womack (Cornell), 8-5
3rd: Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) maj. dec. Myles Amine (Michigan), 15-5
5th: Brian Realbuto (Cornell) pinned Zac Brunson (Illinois), 1:15
7th: Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. Jake Residori (SIUE), 9-4
3rd: TJ Dudley (Nebraska) pinned Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 2:38
5th: Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State), 10-6
7th: Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) dec. Nathan Jackson (Indiana), 11-7
3rd: Kollin Moore (Ohio State) pinned Jared Haught (Virginia Tech), 2:27
5th: Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) maj. dec. Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State), 9-0
7th: Ryan Wolfe (Rider) dec. Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion), 2-1
3rd: Tanner Hall (Arizona State) dec. Ty Walz (Virginia Tech), 5-4 SV
5th: Nick Nevills (Penn State) dec. Jacob Kasper (Duke), 4-3 SV
7th: Michael Kroells (Minnesota) tech. fall Denzel Dejournette (Appalachian State), 17-2