PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- No. 1 Penn State (1-0 0-0 B1G) won the 2018 Keystone Classic, rolling up a lofty 192.0 points and crowning eight champions. This marks the third straight year that Penn State has claimed the crown, wrestled in the University of Pennsylvania's historic Palestra.
A total of 18 Nittany Lion wrestlers competed at the event. At a weight where the Lions had more than one athlete competing, the top point scorer at that weight had his points tallied into the team score. The entire Penn State contingent tasted success at the event, with every Nittany Lion collecting at least one victory and 14 of the 18 Penn Staters competing placing.
Penn State crowned eight champions at the event. All-in-all, Penn State had 14 place winners: eight champions, one runner-up, one third, one fourth, one fifth and two sixths. Penn State posted a gaudy 60-16 overall record, including 10 majors, 11 technical falls and 21 pins.
True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.) was the first of Penn State's nine finalists, taking to the mat in the title bout at 133. The Lion freshman dominated the field, rolling to a 3-0 record with a pin and a tech fall. He picked up his tech in the finals, posting a 24-9 victory (TF; 7:00) over Drexel's Chandler Olson to win the title. Sophomore Nick Lee (Evanston, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, was equally impressive. The Lion sophomore went 5-0 with three techs, a pin and a major to win the 141-pound title, majoring Duke's Josh Finesilver 17-9 in the finals.
Redshirt freshman Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 15 at 149 won a hard-fought semifinal match-up against teammate and classmate Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.). Berge got two points late to post a 3-2 win to advance to the finals. Berge was dinged a bit in the Verkleeren bout and did not wrestle in the finals, taking a medical forfeit (not a loss). Berge went 4-0 on the day with two tech falls and a major, placing second. Verkleeren rebounded from the tough loss to Berge to go 1-1 in conso action. He posted a 4-2 record with two majors and a pin to place fourth at 149.
Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, rolled through the field in Philadelphia. Nolf went 4-0 with three pins and a major, including a fall at the 4:46 mark over Drexel's Evan Barczak to claim the 157-pound title. Nolf now has 49 career pins, four shy of tying Penn State's all-time record. Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, was dominant as well. Joseph blasted through the Keystone field, going 5-0 with four pins and a tech fall to win the title. He posted a 21-6 tech fall over Drexel's Ebed Jarrell in the finals. Joseph was named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler as well.
Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, also won the Keystone title. Hall posted a 4-0 mark with two pins to win the crown. He posted a 6-4 win over No. 18 Matt Finesilver in the finals to win it. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 4 at 184, also stacked up the pins on his way to the 184-pound title. Rasheed went 4-0 with three pins and a tech fall to win at 184, including a pin at the 1:00 mark over Appalachian State's Alan Clothier. Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 197, was also dominant. Nickal went 3-0 with two pins and a major to win it. He downed No. 10 Stephen Loiseau of Drexel 18-4 with 3:32 in riding time in the finals. Nickal now has 44 career pins, just nine shy of tying Penn State's all-time record.
Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) met teammate and classmate Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 2 at 285 in the semifinals. Cassar notched a 7-2 victory to advance to the finals where he dominated No. 14 Joey Goodhart of Drexel, posting an 11-3 major. Cassar went 3-0 with a pin and a major to win the heavyweight crown. Nevills rebounded from the loss to Cassar to two straight in consolation action and placed third at 285. The Lion senior went 3-1 with a pin and a tech fall.
Sophomore Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) went 5-2 with two techs and a pin to place fifth at 149. Sophomore Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) went 4-2 with a pin to finish sixth at 157. Junior Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge, N.Y.) went 2-3 with a major at 184 and took sixth place.
Sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) went 2-2 with one major victory at 125 while classmate Justin Lopez (Yonkers, N.Y.) posted a 2-2 mark at 125 as well. Senior Scott Stossel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) went 1-2 at 133, with the victory coming off a first period major. Junior Dominic Giannangeli (Murrysville, Pa.) had a solid 2-2 showing at 141.
Penn State is 1-0 in dual meets. The Nittany Lions will now prepare a road trip to Lewisburg, Pa., where the team will wrestle at Bucknell for the first time ever. The dual is set for Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. Penn State also has a home dual that weekend. The Nittany Lions wrestle Lehigh on Sunday, Dec. 2, in sold out Rec Hall. The match-up will air live nationally on the Big Ten Network and begins at 1:30 p.m.
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest.