Penn State wrestling is back on top in the Big Ten.
Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lions, who saw their four-year run of conference titles snapped by Iowa and Ohio State last season, grabbed the 2015 Big Ten Tournament championship in Iowa City Sunday.
PSU did not exactly dominate on the final day of the tourney — with three of its six finalists winning gold — but built up enough of a buffer in Saturday’s early action to easily hold off all comers. State finished with 150.5 team points, its second-most ever in a Big Ten championship.
Iowa finished second at 127 and Ohio State third at 126.
At 149, top-seeded sophomore Zaine Retherford faced Iowa’s second-seeded Brandon Sorensen in a battle of undefeated wrestlers. Retherford dominated, using a first-period takedown and rideout, second-period escape and third-period rideout for 4-0 victory. Retherford was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
At 174, top-seeded redshirt freshman Bo Nickal faced Illinois’ third-seeded Zach Brunson, a man he pinned earlier in the season. Nickal simply overpowered Brunson for three periods Sunday, coming away with an 18-9 major decision.
At 197, top-seeded and undefeated senior Morgan McIntosh faced Iowa’s third-seeded Nathan Burak. McIntosh beat the Hawkeye for the fifth time in as many career meetings, this time 3-2 on a first-period takedown and third-period escape. It was McIntosh's second-straight conference crown.
Penn State's three champs were the most of any school.
But it was not all good news in the finals.
At 125, third-seed senior Nico Megaludis battled top-seeded Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State to a 1-1 draw through three periods. Tomasello scored a takedown in sudden victory for the 3-1 win.
At 141, eighth-seeded junior Jimmy Gulibon’s Cinderella run ended in the final with a 9-0 loss to Rutgers’ third-seeded Anthony Ashnault.
At 157, top-seeded redshirt freshman Jason Nolf had a rematch with Illinois’ second-seeded Isaiah Martinez, who had never lost a collegiate match before Nolf pinned him in Champaign earlier this year. This time, Martinez was able to hand Nolf his first collegiate loss, winning on riding time after everything was knotted up after two overtimes.