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Penn State wins Southern Scuffle, breaks scoring record

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn -- No. 1 Penn State (4-0, 0-0 B1G) won the 2019 Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. Head coach Cael Sanderson's Nittany Lions won the team title with a tournament record scoring total to outdistance second place Oklahoma State. The championship is Penn State's eighth in its last eight trips to the tournament. The two-day event started yesterday and concluded tonight in UT-Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.

The Nittany Lions rolled to the team title thanks to crowning six champions. One of those champions became Penn State's all-time pins leader in the process of winning his title and another pinned his way to the crown and another Outstanding Wrestler Award. Twelve of Penn State's 18 entrants at the event placed. The Nittany Lions' team point total of 216.5 is a new Southern Scuffle record as well, crushing the old mark of 198.0 held by Oklahoma State (Penn State had 197.0 during last year's title run). There have been 15 Southern Scuffle's held. Penn State has won it eight times.

Sophomore Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), ranked No. 4 at 141, won his first Southern Scuffle Championships. He met Lock Haven's Kyle Shoop in the semis and dominated the Bald Eagle veteran, rolling to an 18-4 major decision to advance to the Scuffle finals. In the finals, he met talented Stanford redshirt Real Woods and came away with a hard-fought 6-3 win the title. Lee went 4-0 with a pin and four majors to claim the crown.

Senior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, won his third Southern Scuffle title. He pinned Stanford's Dom Mandarino in the semifinals at the 5:22 mark. The fall was the 54th of Nolf's career, setting a new Penn State all-time record for career pins (breaking the old mark of 53 held by Zain Retherford, David Taylor and Josh Moore). He moved into the finals where he met sophomore teammate Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.).

Pipher, wrestling unseeded, advanced to the finals by pinning Ohio's Zac Carson at the 6:21 mark, advancing to the finals with his fourth straight win of the tournament. In the finals, Nolf ended the match quickly, rolling up three four-point near falls to post a 16-1 technical fall at the 2:11 mark. Nolf ends the tourney with a 5-0 record with three pins a tech and a major. He leaves Chattanooga with a new school-record 54 career pins and 99 career wins. Pipher was outstanding at 157, going 4-1 with a tech and a pin to reach the finals and placed second as an unseeded grappler. Pipher started his outstanding tournament run yesterday with a tech fall over the nation's 16th-ranked wrestler.

Junior Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, won his second straight Scuffle crown. He dominated No. 20 Jesse Dellavecchia of Rider in the semifinals, rolling to a 15-5 major decision to advance to the Scuffle championship. In the finals, he met No. 3 Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven the top-ranked Lion battled his way to a 6-5 win for the title. Joseph went 5-0 with a major and two pins during his tournament run.

Junior Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 1 at 174, brought home his third straight Scuffle title. He took on No. 19 Matt Finesilver of Duke in the semifinals and dominated the Blue Devil, rolling to a 6-0 win with nearly 4:00 of riding time. He took on Oklahoma State's Joe Smith in the finals and won a thrilling battle with the two-time All-American Cowboy. Hall and Smith were tied 1-1 late when Hall nailed a quick takedown and immediately locked up a cradle for two quick near fall points, all with less than :20 in the bout. Hall's late fireworks gave him the 5-1 win and his third Southern Scuffle championship. Hall went 5-0 during the tournament with a major and two tech falls.

Senior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), ranked No. 3 at 184, won his second Scuffle crown and his first at 184. He made quick work of No. 17 Sam Colbray of Iowa State in the semifinals, pinning the Cyclone in just 0:45 to advance to the finals. Rasheed, last year's Scuffle champ and OW at 197, met Virginia Tech's Hunter Bolen in the championship finals and walked away with a solid 4-1 win. The victory game Rasheed his second straight Scuffle crown. Rasheed went 4-0 overall with two majors and a pin. He also had a win over a non-collegiate grappler, which does not count towards his record.

Senior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 197, pinned his way to his third Scuffle title. Fresh off winning his 100th career bout to cap off day one, Nickal continued his torrid pace, pinning No. 15 Tom Sleigh of Virginia Tech in the semifinals to start day two. Nickal's fourth fall in as many matches came at the 1:12 mark and moved the Lion senior into the Scuffle finals where he met Stanford's Nathan Traxler. Nickal completed the quest to pin his way to the Scuffle title by getting the fall over Traxler at the 2:09 mark, winning his third Scuffle title. Nickal went 5-0, all pins, with four in the first period and one in the second. He leaves Chattanooga with 102 career victories and 50 career pins. Nickal also won his second Scuffle Outstanding Wrestler honor as well as the Gorriaran Award for most pins in the least time (five in 10:32).

Senior Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.), ranked No. 5 at 285, advanced to the Scuffle finals and placed second. He met No. 16 Matt Voss of George Mason in the semifinals and controlled the action from start to finish, posting a 14-6 major, his fourth in as many bouts, to move to the 2019 Scuffle title bout. In the finals, he met No. 3 Derek White of Oklahoma State and could not overcome a first period White takedown, dropping a hard-fought 3-2 decision to the third-ranked Cowboy. Cassar went 4-1 in his first Scuffle at 285 with four majors, taking second place.

True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (Tucson, Ariz.), ranked No. 15 at 133, took third at his first Southern Scuffle. He faced No. 10 Austin Gomez of Iowa State in the semifinals and opened up a big lead with a dominant first period. However, leading 8-3 in the second, the Lion true freshman got caught on the edge of the mat and turned for a fast pin at the 3:57 mark. Bravo-Young rebound with a strong 11-4 win over Stanford's Mason Pengilly in the conso semis and then dominated No. 20 Sean Nickell of Cal Bakersfield in the third place match, rolling to a 10-1 major. Bravo-Young went 5-1 and placed third as the third seed.

Redshirt freshman Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn.), ranked No. 10 at 149, placed third at 285 as well. The Lion freshman met No. 6 Mitch Finesilver in the semifinals and, while notching the only takedown of the bout, dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision on riding time. Berge faced yet another top ten foe in the consolation semis and was outstanding, posting a 7-4 win over No. 7 Jarrett Degan of Iowa State. The win propelled him into the third place bout where he downed Requir Van der Merwe of Stanford 5-2 for the bronze. Berge, the fourth-seed, went 6-1 with two majors to finish third at his first Scuffle appearance.

Senior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) worked his way to a third place finish at the Scuffle. He met Oklahoma State's Derek White, ranked No. 3 nationally, in the semifinals and lost a hard-fought 4-0 decision. He moved to the consolation semifinals where dominated No. 7 Billy Miller of Virginia Tech, controlling the bout from the start and posting an 8-0 major. He took on No. 16 Matt Voss of George Mason for third and posted a 2-1 win. Nevills ended his tournament with a 5-1 mark, including a major, a tech and a fall.

Redshirt freshman Mason Manville (Lorton, Va.) placed at 165 as well, taking seventh as an unseeded wrestler. Manville dominated Columbia's Laurence Kosoy 7-2 in his first conso bout on day two, guaranteeing a place at the Scuffle. He then dropped a hard-fought 8-7 decision to Duke Zach Finesilver in the consolation quarterfinals. He took on Tanner Skidgel of Navy in the seventh place bout and earned an 8-4 win. Manville posted a 4-2 mark with a major during his Scuffle weekend.

Redshirt freshman Jarod Verkleeren (Greensburg, Pa.) went 2-2 at 149. He met Appalachian State's Matt Zovistoski in his first consolation bout of day two and, while leading by one late, gave up a late takedown and then a fall with just one second left to end his tournament. Unattached true freshman Brody Teske (Duncombe, Iowa) went 2-1 on day one, losing in the quarterfinals. The first-year 125-pounder took a medical forfeit (not a loss) in his first consolation bout and did not compete on day two.

Sophomore Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) went 1-2 with a major at 125 for Penn State. Sophomore 149-pounder Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.), junior 141-pounder Dominic Giannangeli (Murrysville, Pa.) and junior 184-pounder Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge, N.Y.) all competed during day one of the event as well.

Penn State won the team title with 216.5 points, a new Southern Scuffle team scoring record. The Nittany Lions went 63-18 overall, including day one's 41-11 mark. Penn State collected 40 bonus wins off 20 majors, six tech falls and 14 pins. The Nittany Lions won their eighth Scuffle title in their last eight trips to the event and set a new tournament scoring record (216.5).

Penn State has had the tournament's last four Outstanding Wrestlers: Bo Nickal in 2016, Mark Hall in 2017, Shakur Rasheed in 2018 and Nickal again this year. Ed Ruth (2010) and David Taylor (2012) have also won Scuffle OW honors. Nickal's Gorriaran Award is Penn State's second straight as well. Jason Nolf won last year's Gorriaran as well.

Nickal leaves Chattanooga with 102 career wins, the newest member of Penn State's 100-win club. His five pins give him 50 for his career, fifth all-time at Penn State. Teammate Jason Nolf is Penn State's new all-time leader in falls, breaking the record here in Chattanooga. Nolf now has 54 pins for his career. He also has 99 wins, one shy of joining Nickal in the 100-win club. Rasheed now has 26 career pins, tied for 20th all-time at Penn State. Hall, while winning his Scuffle title without a pin, is 18th all-time in falls at Penn State with 28. Joseph, with two pins at the Scuffle, has eight pins this year, more than he had in the previous two seasons combined.

The Nittany Lions are 4-0 in dual meets to date and return to action in nine days when they will open up Big Ten action at Northwestern on Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), 7 p.m. (Central). Penn State returns to Rec Hall two days later against Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1 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. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

2019 Southern Scuffle
January 2, 2019 - McKenzie Arena - Chattanooga, Tenn.


TEAM STANDINGS (Top 3 - FINAL)
1: PENN STATE - 216.5
2: Oklahoma State - 188.5
3: Iowa State - 104.0

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