PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- No. 1 Penn State (3-0, 0-0 B1G) closed out a busy road weekend by winning the Keystone Classic on Sunday. The Nittany Lions rolled to a perfect seven-for-seven in the finals at the one-day, team-scored event, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in the historic Palestra. Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) crossed the century mark in career wins with a title run at 149.
A total of 18 Nittany Lion grapplers competed at the event for head coach Cael Sanderson, with the top point scorer at each weight earning points in the team title race. Penn State pushed seven through to the finals and won all seven. The Lions had a total of nine place winners at the event. Penn State won the team race with 190.5 points, far ahead of second place Northwestern, which had156.6
Junior Jered Cortez (Carol Stream, Ill.) rolled to a 4-0 record with two pins to claim the 141 pound title and remain perfect on the year. Cortez leaves Philadelphia with a 7-0 record. Retherford, ranked No. 1 at 149, entered the tournament with 98 career wins and rolled through the century mark. Retherford dominated the field, picking up his 100th career win in the second round. He ended the tournament by dismantling No. 9 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in the finals with a 10-2 major and posted a 4-0 record with three pins and a major on the day. Retherford exits the weekend, including Friday's dual in Binghamton, with 102 career wins. He now has 41 career pins, fourth on Penn State's all-time list and is 19th all-time in dual meet victories with 48.
Sophomore Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, who entered the tournament with a 3-0 mark with three pins, continued his torrid start to the season. Nolf had a perfect 'fall' day, going 4-0 with four pins, including pinning Penn's Joseph Vellequette in the finals. Nolf leaves Philadelphia with a 7-0 record, all pins. Nolf now has 36 career pins, 6th all-time at Penn State. Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), ranked No. 2 at 174, was equally impressive. Hall posted a 5-0 record with three pins and two tech falls to win the 174-pound title, including a sizzling fast fall over No. 20 Josef Johnson of Harvard at the 0:50 mark. Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), ranked No. 1 at 184, rolled to the 184 pound title as well, going 4-0 with three pins and a tech fall. Nickal's three pins all came in under 1:00, including a fall over No. 16 Mitch Sliga of Northwestern at the 0:48 mark in the finals. Nickal now has 29 pins, 16th all-time at Penn State.
An all Penn State semifinal at 197 pitted sophomore Anthony Cassar (Rocky Hill, N.J.) against senior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), ranked No. 4 nationally. Cassar notched a late takedown to post a hard-fought 6-5 win over his teammate and moved to the finals where he dominated the third period on his way to a 7-4 win over No. 12 Frank Mattiace of Penn. Cassar won the 197-pound title with a 4-0 mark, including a major and two wins over top-12 ranked opponents. McCutcheon continued on in the consolation semifinals with a win before injury defaulting in the third place bout. McCutcheon went 4-2. Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 3 at 285, rolled to Penn State's seventh title as the Nittany Lions went seven for seven in the finals. Nevills downed No. 6 Jacob Kasper of Duke 3-1 in the finals, including a two-point turn in the third period. The Lion junior went 5-0 on the day, with a pin and a major.
Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), ranked No. 15 at 133, went 2-0 with a pin at 133 before taking a medical forfeit (not a loss) in the semifinals. He placed sixth. Keener improves to 5-0 on the year. Redshirt freshman Devin Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.) went 1-2 at 125 for the Nittany Lions, picking up his first collegiate win in the process, a 15-9 victory over Franklin & Marshall's Mike Simonetti. Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 165, was held out of action and did not compete.
Three Nittany Lions picked up multiple wins at the event in addition to the Lion placers. Sophomore Dominic Giannangeli (Murrysville, Pa.) had a solid run at 133, going 2-2 on the day. Redshirt freshman Luke Gardner (Pottsville, Pa.) posted a 2-2 mark at 149 as well, picking up a pin along the way. Junior Devon Van Cura (Washington, N.C.) went 2-2 at 184 with a major victory as well.
Junior George Carpenter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) went 1-2 at 133 for Penn State, picking up a first round win. Sophomore Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge, N.Y.) notched a 1-2 record at 174, including a win by major decision in consolation action. Redshirt freshman Brian Friery (Lewisburg, Pa.) went 1-2 with a tie-breaker win in consolation action at 157 while redshirt freshman Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.) went 0-2 at 149, losing two very close decisions (3-1 and 5-4). Redshirt freshman Alex Nicholas (Allentown, Pa.) went 0-1 at 285.
Penn State posted a 46-19 overall record, including 18 pins, five technical falls and six majors. Nine of Penn State's 18 entrants, fully half, placed: seven champs, a fourth and a sixth.
Penn State is now 3-0 overall, 0-0 in the Big Ten, having downed Binghamton 40-2 on Friday night on the first stop of its road weekend. The dual win on Friday was the team's 34th straight dating back to the end of the 2014-15 season.
The Nittany Lions will visit No. 7 Lehigh on Sunday, Dec. 3, in a 2 p.m. dual in Lancaster's PPL Center. Penn State's next home dual is its Big Ten opener against Indiana on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. in Rec Hall. With all home dual meets sold out, a limited number of Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets are available to select Rec Hall duals based on availability. Call 1-800-NITTANY for information or to purchase tickets.
The 2017-18 Penn State wrestling season is sponsored by The Family Clothesline. 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.
2017 Keystone Classic - Final Team Standings (top three):
November 19, 2017 - The Palestra - Philadelphia, Pa.
1: PENN STATE - 190.5
2: Northwestern - 156.6
3: Rider - 138.0