Brookville Native Zacherl Moves into D1 Wrestling Quarterfinals; Penn State Perfect 9-0 in Session 2

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Brock Zacherl, a Brookville native, advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of hard-fought decision wins, highlighting Clarion’s first day at the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday.

(Photo of Brock Zacherl. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

Zacherl entered the 141-pound bracket as the seventh seed, and the redshirt junior lived up to the billing by picking up wins over Nebraska’s Chad Red and Central Michigan’s Mason Smith. He’ll go into Friday’s proceedings one win away from the national semifinals when he faces Missouri’s Jaydin Eierman. Eierman is the second seed in the bracket with a 30-1 overall record, while Zacherl comes in with a 29-1 mark.

In his first match of the day, Zacherl came at Red aggressively with a double-leg takedown for the early advantage. Red escaped to make it 2-1, and did so again at the start of the second period to knot things up at 2-2. However, Zacherl had at that point amassed enough riding time to clinch the extra point, and after escaping to start the third period he held a 3-2 lead. Zacherl staved off a late shot from Red to take the 4-2 decision.

The Round of 16 match against Smith was also a close one, though Zacherl remained the aggressor throughout the bout and kept his opponent on his heels. Zacherl caught Smith’s leg up high and swept him to the mat, but once again the two entered the third period tied at 2-2. This time Zacherl elected neutral to start and it paid dividends when he took Smith down with roughly 19 seconds remaining. Smith escaped but couldn’t catch Zacherl, who left with the 4-3 decision.

In addition to Zacherl’s showing, three other Golden Eagles competed on Thursday, with all three eventually falling in the wrestlebacks. Here’s a look at the rest of the action:

  • Taylor Ortz, an at-large selection at 149 pounds, started the day with a tough draw against 11th-seeded Matthew Kolodzik of Princeton. Kolodzik kept Ortz at bay and eventually prevailed with an 8-2 decision. In Ortz’s first wrestleback match, he managed to tie the score at 2-2 against Virginia’s Sam Krivus, but Krivus amassed more than two minutes of riding time and took the 3-2 decision.
  • Greg Bulsak, the EWL runner-up at 184 pounds, took on third-seeded Ryan Preisch of Lehigh in his opening round bout. Preisch led 4-1 and had a riding time advantage entering the third period, but Bulsak started on top and rode Preisch for the entire period. However, he could not get the tilt he needed and fell by a 5-1 decision. In his wrestleback match against Brown’s Christian LaFragola, Bulsak scored a late takedown to tie the score at 6-6 and negate the riding time advantage. LaFragola escaped with just three seconds left on the clock to steal the 7-6 decision.
  • Dustin Conti faced off with 13th-seeded Jeric Kasunic in the opening round of the 197-pound bout, and it proved to be evenly matched. It was just 2-1 in favor of Kasunic entering the third period, but Kasunic got an escape and a takedown to build a 5-2 advantage and hold on for the win. The wrestleback match against Cal Poly’s Tom Lane went to sudden victory tied at 1-1, but Lane managed a takedown with 12 seconds remaining for the decision.

    The Penn State Nittany Lions (14-0, 9-0 B1G) posted a perfect 9-0 record in session two of the 2018 NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad is looking to win its seventh NCAA title in the last eight years in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.

    The Nittany Lions have pushed seven of its nine NCAA qualifiers through to the quarterfinals with the other two still alive in consolation action. Penn State is in second place in the team race as of 9:50 p.m. (with a few consolation bouts still on the mat). The Lions have 28.5 points while Ohio State is in first with 36.0. Iowa is close behind the Lions at 27.0 (Iowa had one wrestler still in consolation action as of press time).

    Senior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), the No. 1 seed at 149, took on No. 16 Alfred Bannister in Penn State’s first bout of the session, opening up round two for the Nittany Lions. Retherford, two-time defending NCAA Champion, opened up a 4-0 lead in the first period and then turned Bannister to his back late in the period. Retherford adjusted once and got the fall at the 2:29 mark. His win moves him into tomorrow morning’s national quarterfinals.

    Junior Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 157, took on No. 14 Andrew Crone of Wisconsin in the second round. The defending NCAA Champion opened an early 2-1 lead in the first period and extended it to a 5-1 lead after two periods. The Lion tacked on a riding time point and rolled to a 6-1 win. The victory moves Nolf into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

    Sophomore Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 165, faced off against No. 14 Branson Ashworth of Wyoming in the second round. The defending NCAA Champion took an early 2-0 lead and led by that score after one. He chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Joseph held on for a hard-fought 3-1 victory. The win moves him into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

    Sophomore Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Utah), the No. 2 seed at 174, took on No. 15 Dylan Lydy of Purdue in the second round. Hall came out blazing with a takedown and four quick back points to open up a 6-0 lead early. He led 6-1 after one and increased his lead to 9-1 early in the second period. Another turn and Hall led 13-1 after three periods. The defending NCAA Champion took Lydy down and turned him twice in the third period to roll to a 21-3 technical fall at the 6:54 mark. The bonus point win moves Hall into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

    Junior Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), the No. 1 seed at 184, took on No. 16 Jordan Ellingwood of Central Michigan in round two. The defending NCAA Champion scored the first takedown less than a minute into the bout to take an early lead. He tacked on another late in the period to lead 4-1 after one. Nickal upped his lead to 6-3 after two and posted a strong 10-4 decision with 2:24 in riding time. The victory moves Nickal into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

    Junior Shakur Rasheed (Coram, N.Y.), the No. 5 seed at 197, met North Carolina’s Daniel Chaid in the second round. Rasheed struck quickly, taking the Tar Heel down and to his back for four quick back points and led 6-0 after one. The Lion junior led 9-0 after two and upped his lead to 12-3 midway through the third period. Rasheed dominated the bout, posting a 14-3 major decision with 3:36 in riding time. The victory moves Rasheed into the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

    Junior Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), the No. 3 seed at 285, battled No. 14 Michael Boykin of North Carolina State in the second round Thursday night. Nevills and Boykin battled through a scoreless first period. Boykin took a 1-0 lead with a quick escape in the second and held the lead after two. Nevills countered with his own escape to start the third and the bout was tied 1-1. The duo moved through a sudden victory scoreless. Each wrestler escaped in the first tiebreaker and then wrestled through a second scoreless sudden victory. With the score tied 2-2, Nevills chose down to start the second tie breaker and quickly escaped to a 3-2 lead. But Boykin countered with a takedown and led 4-3. Nevills managed an escape before the period ended and the bout was tied 4-4 with Boykin taking down. Needing a rideout to secure a win, Nevills turned the trick and won 5-4 on :16 of riding time. His win moves him into the quarterfinals tomorrow.

    Senior Corey Keener (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.), unseeded at 133, took on North Dakota State’s Cam Sykora in the first round of consolation action. Keener opened up a 9-5 lead after a wild first period that ended with the Lion nearly getting the fall but having time run out on his effort. He carried that lead into the third period and rolled to a 9-7 decision. The victory moves Keener into the second round of consolations tomorrow.

    True freshman Nick Lee (Evansville, Ind.), the No. 8 seed at 141, battled No. 9 seed Josh Alber of Northern Iowa in the first round of consolations. Lee scored right out of the gates to open up an early 2-1 lead that he pushed to 4-2 midway through the second period. The Lion freshman then escaped to a 5-3 lead midway through the third period and iced the bout with a third takedown to post a strong 7-3 win. Lee’s victory pushes the Lion freshman into the second round of consolations tomorrow.

    Penn State went 9-0 in Thursday night’s second session with 4.5 bonus points off a pin (Retherford), a tech fall (Hall) and a major (Rasheed). The Nittany Lions are 16-2 overall with 15.5 bonus points off five majors, three techs and two pins. Retherford’s two wins today give him 16 NCAA tournament wins as a Nittany Lion, 12th all-time at Penn State. He now has 123 career wins, eighth all-time, and his one pin gives him 17 this year and 53 for his career, tying Penn State’s all-time falls record (David Taylor and Josh Moore).

    Most importantly, all nine Nittany Lions continue the event tomorrow morning as session three begins at 11 a.m. in Quicken Loans Arena. The third session features the national quarterfinals as well as the next two rounds of wrestle-backs. Fans not in the Q can watch session three live on ESPNU, with all eight mats beings streamed separately live on ESPN3. The 2018 NCAA Championships is a three-day event that runs through Saturday, March 17.

    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 and on Instagram at This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

    2018 NCAA Championships – Team Standings after Session 2 (top three as of 9:50 p.m.):

    March 15, 2018 – Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio

    (some consolation action still ongoing as of press time, but none for Ohio State and Penn State)

    1: Ohio State – 36.0

    2: PENN STATE – 28.5

    3: Iowa – 27.0

    Weight-by-weight agate (rankings listed indicate official tournament seed)

    133: Corey Keener, Sr. – unseeded

    Rd. 1: #11 Dom Forys, Pittsburgh – LBF (4:57)

    Cn. 1: Cam Sykora, North Dakota State – W, 9-7 dec.

    Cn. 2: Rico Montoya, Northern Colorado – tomorrow

    Keener, unseeded at 133, took on No. 11 Dom Forys of Pittsburgh in Penn State’s first bout of the tournament. The Lion senior, now a four-time NCAA qualifier, took an early 2-0 lead with a takedown but Forys answered with an escape and a takedown to take a 3-2 lead. Keener tied the bout in the second period and was trying to work a cradle when Forys countered and picked up the fall on his own at the 4:57 mark.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    141: Nick Lee, Fr. – #8 seed

    Rd. 1: Ryan Diehl, Maryland – LBF (2:12)

    Cn. 1: #9 Josh Alber, Northern Iowa – W, 7-3 dec.

    Cn. 2: #10 Mason Smith, Central Michigan – tomorrow

    Lee, the No. 8 seed at 141, faced off against Ryan Diehl of Maryland in the opening round of his first NCAA tournament. Lee opened up an early lead with two quick takedowns but Diehl answered with a takedown and quickly turned the Lion freshman to his back, picking up the fall at the 2:12 mark.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    149: Zain Retherford, Sr. – #1 seed

    Rd. 1: Kyle Springer, Eastern Michigan – W, 16-1 TF (7:00)

    Rd. 2: #16 Alfred Bannister, Maryland – WBF (2:29)

    Qtrs: #8 Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State – tomorrow

    Retherford, the No. 1 seed at 149, began his quest for a third straight NCAA individual title against Kyle Springer of Eastern Michigan. After watching two teammates see early leads turned into losses by fall, Retherford turned a 2-1 first-period lead into a 5-1 edge after two periods. Retherford poured on the offense in the final stanza and walked away with a 16-1 technical fall with 4:05 in riding time.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    157: Jason Nolf, Jr. – #3 seed

    Rd. 1: Colin Heffernan, Central Michigan – W, 22-7 TF (7:00)

    Rd. 2: #14 Andrew Crone, Wisconsin – W, 6-1 dec.

    Qtrs: #6 Michael Kemerer, Iowa – tomorrow

    Nolf, the No. 3 seed at 157 and seeking a second straight NCAA individual crown, took on Central Michigan’s Colin Heffernan in the opening round. Nolf led 4-1 after one period and extended that lead to 12-3 within the first minute of the second period. The Lion junior led 14-5 after two and rolled to a 22-7 technical fall on the riding time point.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    165: Vincenzo Joseph, So. – #3 seed

    Rd. 1: Jonathan Schleiffer, Princeton – W, 15-4 maj. dec.

    Rd. 2: #14 Branson Ashworth, Wyoming – W, 3-1 dec.

    Qtrs: #11 Isaiah White, Nebraska — tomorro

    Joseph, the No. 3 seed at 165, began his battle for a second NCAA individual title against Jonathan Schleifer of Princeton. Joseph opened up 4-1 lead after one, improved it to 9-2 after two periods and closed out a strong performance with a 15-4 major decision with 3:21 in riding time.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    174: Mark Hall, So. – #2 seed

    Rd. 1: Austin Rose, Drexel – W, 12-2 maj. dec.

    Rd. 2: #15 Dylan Lydy, Purdue – W, 21-3 (TF; 6:54)

    Qtrs: #7 Taylor Lujan, Northern Iowa – tomorrow

    Hall, the No. 2 seed at 174 and looking for a second straight NCAA individual title, faced off against Austin Rose of Drexel in the first round. Hall used a first-period takedown to lead 2-0 after one stanza and improved it to 7-0 in the second period. The Lion sophomore quickly tacked on a flurry of third-period takedowns and rolled to a 12-2 major with 3:38 in riding time.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    184: Bo Nickal, Jr. – #1 seed

    Rd. 1: Martin Mueller, South Dakota State – W, 16-4 maj. dec.

    Rd. 2: #16 Jordan Ellingwood, Central Michigan – W, 10-4 dec.

    Qtrs: #9 Max Dean, Cornell – tomorrow

    Nickal, the No. 1 seed at 184, began his quest for a second straight NCAA individual crown against South Dakota State’s Martin Mueller. Nickal opened up a 6-0 lead with a takedown and four-point turn in the first period. He dominated the second stanza as well, leading 10-2 after two. Nickal rolled to a 16-4 major decision with 4:34 in riding time.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    197: Shakur Rasheed, Jr. – #5 seed

    Rd. 1: Sawyer Root, The Citadel – W, 13-5 maj. dec.

    Rd. 2: Daniel Chaid, North Carolina – W, 14-3 maj. dec.

    Qtrs: #4 Michael Macchiavello, North Carolina State – tomorrow

    Rasheed, the No. 5 seed at 197, took on The Citadel’s Sawyer Root in the first round of his first NCAA Championship tournament. Rasheed led 4-1 after the opening period thanks to two takedowns. Root rebounded to tie the bout 4-4 after two periods but Rasheed rebounded with a reversal and then a cradle for four back points and a 10-4 lead. He stretched his lead to 12-5 with another takedown and rode Root out. A 2:15 riding time edge gave Rasheed a 13-5 major and his first victory in the NCAA tournament.

    For session two’s information, see recap above.

    285: Nick Nevills, Jr. – #3 seed

    Rd. 1: Stephen Suglio, Kent State – WBF (5:24)

    Rd. 2: #14 Michael Boykin, North Carolina State – W, 5-4 (TB2)

    Qtrs: #6 Amar Dhesi, Oregon State – tomorrow

    Nevills, the No. 3 seed at 285, opened up his second NCAA Championship tournament with a first round match-up against Kent State’s Stephen Suglio. Nevills opened up a 2-0 lead with a late first period takedown and then upped it to 8-0 after two with another takedown and four back points. Nevills ended the bout early in the third, turning Suglio to his back for Penn State’s first pin at the 5:24 mark.

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