Penn State's wrestling team continued its impressive performance in the 2017 NCAA Championships in St. Louis on Friday evening. The five wrestlers who advanced into the semifinal round all won their matches, placing the Nittany Lions in a prime position to win its second consecutive NCAA team championship and sixth title in seven years.
The overall team race heading into the final bouts is:
1. Penn State - 121.0
2. Ohio State - 89.5
3. Oklahoma State - 86.0
4. Missouri - 81.5
5. Iowa - 74.0
Penn State ended the day with six All-Americans and two wrestlers who were one win shy of reaching the coveted status.
Junior Zain Retherford, who is No. 1 at 149 for the Lions, got an impressive first period pin at the 2:36 mark over No. 5 Brandon Sorensen of Iowa. He advances into the final round against No. 3 Lavion Mayes of Missouri.
Sophomore Jason Nolf, who is No. 1 at 157 for Penn State, defeated No. 4 Tyler Berger of Nebraska with a 15-3 major decision. Nolf advances into the final bout against No. 3 Joey Lavallee of Missouri.
Redshirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph, who is No. 3 at 165 for the Lions, overtook No. 2 Logan Massa of Michigan with a 5-4 victory thanks to a late takedown. Next he face No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the final match.
Freshman Mark Hall, who is No. 5 at 174 for PSU, had an impressive victory over No. 1 Zahid Valencia of Arizona State. Hall grabbed a tough 4-3 victory and moves into the championship round against No. 3 Bo Jordan of Ohio State.
Sophomore Bo Nickal, No. 2 at 184 for the Lions, stunned No. 3 Sammy Brooks of Iowa with a pin at the 1:01 mark. He advances into the final round against No. 1 Gabe Dean of Cornell.
Sophomore Nick Nevills, No. 5 at 285 for Penn State, matched up with No. 15 Ryan Solomon of Pittsburgh in the consolation bracket in search of a third place finish and All-American status. He posted a 2-0 win, becoming an All-American. He then took on No. 8 Michael Kroells of Minnesota in the consolation quarterfinal match grabbing a 6-4 victory.
Jimmy Gulibon, unseeded at 141, dropped a 6-4 decision to No. 2 Kevin Jack of North Carolina State.
Junior Matt McCutcheon, No. 5 at 197 for PSU, lost a 12-2 consolation bout to No. 7 Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska.
The Nittany Lions have five wrestlers competing in the NCAA finals for the fourth time in the last six years (2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017). The 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships continue Saturday morning as session five begins at 11 am ET and airs on ESPN.