The defending national champion Penn State wrestling team opened up the 2017 NCAA Championships in St. Louis with a perfect 8-0 first round performance. Despite the loss of freshman Nick Suriano, the 125-pound No. 3 seed, due to an injury, the Nittany Lions had a fantastic opening round that saw PSU go eight-for-eight in victories and end the first round with the top spot in the team rankings.
Senior Jimmy Gulibon, who is unseeded at 141 for PSU, defeated No. 13 Javier Gasca of Michigan State to open PSU's tournament slate. Gulibon put in a dominating performance, grabbing an 18-3 technical fall at the 7:00 mark. He moves on to face No. 4 Matt Kolodzik of Princeton tonight.
Junior Zain Retherford, who is No. 1 at 149 for the Lions, took down Joshua Maruca from Arizona State with an 18-2 technical fall at the 4:55 mark. Retherford advances to face No. 16 Jordan Laster from Princeton tonight.
Sophomore Jason Nolf, who is No. 1 at 157 for Penn State, matched up with Thomas Bullard from North Carolina State. Nolf got the victory with a 22-7 technical fall at the 7:00 mark. He will meet No. 16 Victor Lope from Bucknell tonight.
Redshirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph, who is No. 3 at 165 for the Lions, squared off against Keaton Subjeck from Stanford. Joseph posted a 5-1 victory and will face No. 14 Branson Ashworth from Wyoming tonight.
Freshman Mark Hall, who is No. 5 at 174 for PSU, battled David Kocer from South Dakota State. He grabbed an 8-2 victory and will square off against Jadaen Bernstein of Navy in tonight's second round action.
Sophomore Bo Nickal, No. 2 at 184 for the Lions, faced Mitch Sliga from Northwestern. Nickal put up a 15-0 technical fall at the 3:20 mark. He advances to the second round to face No. 15 Steven Schneider from Binghamton tonight.
Junior Matt McCutcheon, No. 5 at 197 for PSU, matched up against Christian Brunner from Purdue. He managed a pin at the 1:53 mark and advances on to face No. 12 Frank Mattiace of Penn tonight.
Sophomore Nick Nevills, No. 5 at 285 for Penn State, faced Doug Vollaro from Lehigh. He had a hard fought 4-2 victory and moves on to face No. 12 William Miller of Edinboro tonight.
Through the first round, the top five standings are:
1: PENN STATE – 16.0
2: Oklahoma State – 15.0
3: Ohio State – 14.0
4: Iowa – 12.0
4: Lehigh – 12.0
4: Missouri – 12.0