CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- No. 1 Penn State (4-0, 0-0 B1G) is standing tall after the first day of the 2019 Southern Scuffle, presented by Compound Sportswear, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Head coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions sit in first place and have 11 semifinalists at nine weights. The two-day event continues tomorrow, Jan. 2, in UT-Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.
Two Lions notched milestone wins on day one. Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas) became the newest member of the Nittany Lion 100-wins club on day one. He picked up three wins (all by fall) to hit the 100 career win mark. Nickal enters tomorrow's second day of the Southern Scuffle with a 100-3 career record. Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) tied the Penn State record for falls in a career with two pins as well. He has 53 now, tied with Zain Retherford, David Taylor and Josh Moore. He needs one more to own the record alone.
True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 15 at 133, was solid on day one of the Scuffle, becoming Penn State's first semifinalist with a 3-0 day at 133. Bravo-Young downed Stanford's Dalton Young 4-3, Lehigh's Nick Farro 4-1 and Virginia Tech's Collin Gerardi 8-6 (sv) to move into tomorrow's semifinal round. Sophomore Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, went 4-0 on the first day, getting a pin in the first round and then reeling off three straight impressive majors. He majored Pitt's Cole Matthews 11-3 in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals tomorrow.
Redshirt freshman Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 10 at 149, rolled through the first day of the Scuffle, going 4-0. He had two majors and moved into the semifinals with a strong 4-3 win over No. 17 Jared Prince of Navy in the quarterfinals. Nolf, ranked No. 1 at 157, went 3-0 on day one and tied the Penn State all-time pins list (53) with two quick pins. He then majored Oklahoma State's Jonce Blaylock in the quarters to move into tomorrow's semifinals.
Sophomore Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) had an outstanding first day at the Scuffle. He opened up his tournament by rolling over No. 14 Dan Reed of Columbia, posting a 16-0 tech fall at the 3:00 mark. He added wins over Chase Straw of Iowa State and Ben Anderson of Duke to advance to the semifinals. Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, went 3-0 at 165. He opened his tournament with two pins, his seventh and eighth of the year, and then downed Stanford's Shane Griffith in the quarterfinals to advance to tomorrow's semis.
Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 1 at 174, sailed into the semifinals with three bonus wins. He notched two tech falls by a combined 39-9 in his first two bouts and then majored Iowa State's Marcus Coleman 14-4 in the quarterfinals. Hall's 3-0 day moves him into tomorrow's semifinal round. Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 3 at 184, also advanced to the semifinals. He went 2-0 officially, both major decisions over Joel Shapiro of Iowa State and Hunter Yeargan of Ohio in the quarterfinals. Rasheed also picked up a 12-2 major over non-collegiate wrestler Jonathan Loew, a result that does not count as a win or a loss, nor for any stats or team records.
Nickal, ranked No. 1 at 197, picked up three wins on three pins to earn his 100th career victory at Penn State and punch his ticket to the semifinals. Nickal pinned North Carolina State's Tyrie Houghton (3:49) and Lock Haven's Luke McGonigal (1:34) to advance to the quarters. He then picked up win 100 with a third straight fall, this one over Josh Roetman of Navy at the 1:47 mark. Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.), ranked No. 5 at 285, went 3-0 on day one, getting three dominating majors over wrestlers from Ohio, Rider and Iowa State to advance to the semifinals tomorrow. Senior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) also went 3-0 on day one at 285. Nevills was strong, posting a pin, a tech fall and a 7-1 win over No. 17 Joey Goodhart of Drexel in the quarters to move to the semifinals.
Redshirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) went 2-1 on day one. He advanced to the quarterfinals with a first round tech fall and a major in the second round. In the quarterfinals, he lost a close 3-2 decision to No. 12 Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State and will continue in consos tomorrow. Redshirt freshman Mason Manville (Lorton, Va.) had a strong first day at 165. Manville won his first two bouts, a major and a 6-2 win over Navy's Tanner Skidgel, to move to the quarterfinals where he met No. 3 Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven. Manville battled the ranked Bald Eagle tough but lost 4-2 and will continue in consolation action tomorrow.
Wrestling unattached, true freshman Brody Teske (Duncombe, Iowa) took to the mat for the first time this season at 125 and began his tournament with two solid wins (6-3 and 4-3 decisions) to advance to the quarterfinals. He lost to Lock Haven's Luke Werner in the quarters, falling into consolation action tomorrow.
Sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) opened up his tournament with a strong major over Drexel's Antonio Mininno at 125 but lost to No. 17 Rico Montoya of Northern Colorado in the second round. He then battled Navy's Aslan Kilic tough before losing a close 7-6 decision to end the tournament with a 1-2 mark. Sophomore Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) competed at 149, dropping two close decisions to bow out of the tournament. Junior Dominic Giannangeli (Murrysville, Pa.) wrestled at 141, dropping a couple tough decisions. He did pick up a victory against a non-collegiate entry but the win does not count towards his record. Junior Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge, N.Y.) competed at 184, dropping both his matches, including a tough 6-4 (sv) decision to Oklahoma State's Bear Hughes in consolation action.
The Nittany Lions lead the team race after the first day with 121.5 points while Oklahoma State is second with 111.5. Iowa State and Lock Haven are tied for third with 60.0 each. Penn State went 41-11 on day one, including a 30-8 first session and an 11-3 second session. The Nittany Lions totaled 29 bonus point wins off 15 majors, five technical falls and nine pins.
Action continues starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. with the consolation action followed by the semifinals. Penn State is looking to win its eighth Southern Scuffle title in its last eight trips to the event. The Nittany Lions are 4-0 in dual meets to date and, after tomorrow's Scuffle finale, will open up Big Ten action at Northwestern on Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. (Eastern) and home against Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m. in Rec Hall.
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. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.
2019 Southern Scuffle
January 1, 2019 - McKenzie Arena - Chattanooga, Tenn.
TEAM STANDINGS (Top 3)
1: PENN STATE - 121.5
2: Oklahoma State - 111.5
3: Iowa State - 60.0
3: Lock Haven - 60.0