Morelli Wins Decision as Penn State Wrestling Shuts Out Army West Point

WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (1-0, 0-0 B1G) opened up the 2016-17 season with a strong 45-0 shutout victory at Army West Point (0-1).

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The Nittany Lions, winners of five of the last six NCAA Championships, won all ten bouts and tallied two falls, three technical falls and three majors in the process.

The dual began at 125 where true freshman Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J.), ranked No. 12 nationally, made his collegiate debut with a strong 15-4 major decision over Army West Point’s Trey Chalifoux. Sophomore Jered Cortez (Carol Stream, Ill.), ranked No. 9 at 133, made his collegiate and Penn State debut and added his own major decision, posting a 14-1 win over Austin Harry to put the Nittany Lions up 8-0 early.

Senior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.), ranked No. 12 at 141, met No. 17 Logan Everett in one of the dual’s most anticipated match-ups and dominated the action. Gulibon rolled up five takedowns and a four-point near fall to post a 17-6 major over the ranked Black Knight. Defending NCAA Champion Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 149, then dominated Matt Kelly on his way to a 21-3 technical fall at the 6:31 mark. Sophomore Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), ranked No. 1 at 157, sent Penn State into the halftime break on a high note with a dazzling pin of No. 14 Russ Parsons at the 2:19 mark. The fall, the 16th of Nolf’s career, gave Penn State a 23-0 lead at intermission.

Red-shirt freshman Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), ranked No. 8 at 165, made his Nittany Lion debut in fine fashion, posting a dominating 21-6 tech fall at the 5:36 mark over Black Knight Andrew Mendel. Senior Geno Morelli (DuBois, Pa.), and NCAA qualifier at 165 last year, moved up to 174 and posted a 4-2 win over Army West Point’s Ben Harvey to put the Lions up 31-0. Sophomore Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), NCAA finalist at 174 last year and ranked No. 3 at 184 this season, dazzled the fans with a quick throw and pin of West Point’s Samson Imonode, getting the fall at the 0:25 mark.

Junior Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.), two-time NCAA qualifier at 184 and ranked No. 16 at 197, kept Penn State’s shut-out hopes alive with a thrilling 4-2 win over No. 11 Rocco Caywood. McCutcheon used a first period takedown and late defense of a solid Caywood shot to grab the win at his new weight. Sophomore Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.), ranked No. 14 at 285, capped off the outstanding team win with a dominant performance of his own. Nevills used four takedowns and two four point near falls to roll to a 17-2 tech fall over David Farr at the 4:31 mark to secure the 45-0 shutout victory.

The Nittany Lions are now 1-0 on the year and have won 18 straight duals dating back to the end of the 2014-15 campaign. Penn State posted a strong 36-3 takedown edge in the season opener and picked up 15 bonus points off two falls, three tech falls and three majors. This marks the second straight season that Penn State has opened up its campaign with a shutout victory. The Nittany Lions posted a 50-0 home win over Lock Haven last November in Rec Hall. This is Penn State’s first road shutout since a 35-0 win at Michigan State on Feb. 1, 2015. Penn State started six underclassmen in the dual and had three wrestlers (Suriano, Cortez and Joseph) win in their collegiate debuts. The victory was the 99th dual win for head coach Cael Sanderson at Penn State in his eighth season and his 143rd overall. Sanderson is 99-14-2 at Penn State, 143-24-2 overall (11th year).

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