ST. LOUIS (AP) — Penn State won its sixth NCAA team championship in seven years and five Nittany Lions wrestlers were set to compete for individual titles in the finals later Saturday.
Penn State’s seventh overall national championship came in dominant fashion, much like the others since coach Cael Sanderson arrived before the 2009-10 season.
The Nittany Lions took an early lead in the team race on Thursday and didn’t look back, winning 30 of 36 combined matches and earning bonus points — critical in the team race — in 18 of them.
Zain Retherford (149 pounds), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184) all advanced to the finals.
Retherford, Nolf and Nickal helped the Nittany Lions pull away from second place Ohio State with six combined technical falls, five pins and one major decision.
Retherford, the defending champion in his class, will face Missouri’s Lavion Mayes in the finals. Nolf has Missouri’s Joey Lavallee next and Nickal will try to keep Cornell’s Gabe Dean from winning his third straight championship. Joseph and Hall both made their tournament debuts and will wrestle Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez and Ohio State’s Bo Jordan, respectively.
The other championship matches will pit Lehigh’s Darian Cruz against Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak at 125, Iowa’s Cory Clark against South Dakota State’s Seth Gross at 133, Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil against Virginia’s George
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