Penn State Wins NCAA D1 Wrestling National Title

NEW YORK – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team (16-0, 9-0 B1G, B1G Champions, NCAA Champions) entered the final session of the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships in New York’s Madison Square Garden with the team title already clinched.

Head Coach Cael Sanderson’s squad shifted focus to individual glory and came away with two individual champions and ran away with the team tile by over 20 points.

Penn State crowned two NCAA Champions, starting at 125 where senior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) downed Iowa’s Thomas Gilman 6-3. Sophomore Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) followed that up with a dominating 10-1 major decision over Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen. Penn State won the team title with 123.0 points, far out-distancing second place Oklahoma State’s 97.5.

Megaludis, the No. 3 seed at 125, took on Gilman in the first of Penn State’s five NCAA title bouts. Already Penn State’s ninth four-time All-American, Megaludis was not to be denied in his third trip to the NCAA finals. Megaludis took Gilman down late in the first period and rode the Hawkeye out to lead 2-0 after the opening stanza. Gilman chose down to start the second period and escaped after a short Megaludis ride to cut the lead to 2-1. The Lion notched his second takedown midway through the period to up his lead to 4-1. Megaludis then controlled Gilman long enough to build up a riding time edge before the Hawkeye escaped to a 4-2 deficit. Megaludis chose down to start the third period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. He gave up a point on stalling but picked up another at the bout’s end on 1:29 riding time to post the 6-3 win and claim his first NCAA title in his final bout as a Nittany Lion.

Megaludis’ 5-0 run through the tournament gives him final record of 32-3 this year. He closes out his Penn State career 11th on Penn State’s all-time wins list with a 119-19 career record. A four-time All-American, Megaludis placed second, second, third and first as a Nittany Lion. Megaludis becomes Penn State’s 31st NCAA Champion (becoming the 24th individual to do so), and Sanderson’s ninth NCAA champion at Penn State. Megaludis is now tied for second on Penn State’s all-time NCAA tournament wins list with 18.

Retherford, the No. 1 seed at 149, took on Sorensen, the No. 2 seed, in Penn State’s second finals bout. Leaving no doubt as to a season of total dominance, Retherford dominated the Hawkeye, rolling to a 10-1 major decision with over 3:00 in riding time. Retherford notched two first period takedowns to lead 4-1 after one period and continued that dominance throughout the bout. He led 7-1 after two and then, with less than :20 left, continued Penn State’s bonus point parade with a takedown to secure the 10-1 major decision and win his first NCAA title.

Retherford ends a perfect season with a 5-0 run through NCAAs, including a major, a technical fall and three pins. He ends his sophomore year, a two-time All-American and new NCAA Champion, with a 33-0 overall record, 67-3 for his career. He had 15 pins this season alone, tied for seventh on Penn State’s all-time single season falls list. Retherford was the 2016 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and was named the 2016 NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler of the Year.

Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.), the No. 3 seed at 157, met No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the finals, a tie-breaker match-up with Nolf pinning Martinez in the regular season and the Illini wining on criteria in the Big Ten finals. Martinez notched a late takedown to steal a 6-5 win. Nolf battled Martinez to a 3-3 tie after the first period, tied the bout at 4-4 with a quick escape to start the third and pressed the action from start to finish. With Martinez already having been called for stalling once, Nolf looked was forcing Martinez backwards once again when the Illini slipped behind him for a takedown with under :20 left. Nolf escaped quickly but it was too late as the clock hit zeroes and Martinez on top 6-5.

Nolf ends his freshman season with a 33-2 overall record, a freshman All-American and an NCAA Finalist. He had 15 pins, 11 tech falls and five majors and was the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas), the No. 1 seed at 174, took on Ohio State’s Myles Martin in the finals. As happened in Nickal’s only other loss of the season, a shoulder throw attempt by Nickal ended with his opponent slipping around and countering Nickal’s move. Martin slipped through Nickal’s attempt for a takedown and four near fall points of his own to take an early 6-0 lead. Nickal spent the rest of the bout dominating the action, taking Martin down twice and forcing him into three stall warnings. But it was not enough as the Buckeye was able to keep his distance for the final five minutes and escape with an 11-9 win.

Nickal ends his freshman season with a 33-2 overall record, a freshman All-American and an NCAA Finalist. He had eight pins, seven tech falls and six majors.

Senior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.), the No. 1 seed at 197, met No. 2 J’Den Cox of Missouri in Penn State’s final title bout of the night. The Nittany Lion senior, already a three-time All-American, was looking to cap off a stellar career with an NCAA title but a last second takedown by Cox gave the Tiger the 4-2 win instead. McIntosh and Cox battled through a scoreless first period with McIntosh scrambling away from a near takedown by Cox. Cox chose down to start the second and escaped to a 1-0 lead. McIntosh matched the escape to tie the bout in the third but not before Cox had over 1:00 in riding time. With the score tied 1-1, Cox slipped down on a shot near the edge of the mat and took McIntosh down with :10 left on the clock. McIntosh escaped, Cox got the riding time point, and the Lion senior dropped a hard-fought 4-2 decision.

McIntosh ends his season with a 32-1 record and leaves Penn State with a 114-19 career record. McIntosh is a three-time All-American, NCAA Finalist and sits in 17th place on Penn State’s all-time wins list. His 24 career pins is also tied for 18th on Penn State’s all-time list as well.

The Nittany Lions close out their NCAA title clinching tournament with a superb 30-12 overall record. Penn State picked up 23.0 bonus points off five pins, four tech falls and seven majors. The Nittany Lions head back to State College with six All-Americans, two individual NCAA Champions and yet another team crown.

This year’s team title is the school’s sixth overall. Penn State has won in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2016 under Sanderson. The only other title in school history was in 1953. Sanderson ties Iowa State’s Harold Nichols and Oklahoma State’s John Smith with five NCAA team titles as a head coach, fifth all-time in NCAA history.

Earlier in the day, senior Jordan Conaway (Abbottstown, Pa.) placed sixth at 133, ending his Penn State career as a two-time All-American. Conaway, Penn State’s sixth All-American in the tournament, went 30-7 overall and ended his Nittany Lion career with a 91-32 mark. Junior Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) went 2-2 at 141, junior Geno Morelli (DuBois, Pa.) went 2-2 at 165 and sophomore Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) went 0-2 at 184 to round out Penn State’s nine-man contingent.

The event, held in MSG for the first time, was a rousing success. Today’s final two sessions are second and third all-time for a session behind St. Louis Session 6 in 2015 (19,715) and total attendance is behind St. Louis in 2015 (113,013) and St. Louis in 2012 (112,393). The NCAA Championship returns to St. Louis next year.

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 The 2015-16 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.

2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships – FINAL Team Standings ( Top Five — Session 5):
March 19, 2016 – Madison Square Garden – New York, N.Y.

1: PENN STATE – 123.0
2: Oklahoma State – 97.5
3: Virginia Tech – 82.0
3: Ohio State – 86.0
5: Iowa – 81.0
Attendance: 110,194 (all session)

Weight-by-weight agate (rankings listed are tournament seeds)
* indicates unattached wrestler, not eligible for team scoring

125: #3 Nico Megaludis, Sr., Murrysville, Pa. // 5-0, NATIONAL CHAMPION, 4X ALL-AMERICAN

Rd 1: Chase Tolbert, Utah Valley – W, 18-5 maj. dec.
Rd 2: #14 Josh Rodriguez, North Dakota State – W, 4-2 dec.
Qtrs: Conor Youtsey, Michigan – W, 4-0 dec.
Semis: #15 David Terao, American – W, 8-2 dec.
Finals: #4 Thomas Gilman, Iowa – W, 6-3 dec.

Senior Nico Megaludis, the No. 3 seed at 125, took on Utah Valley’s Chase Tolbert in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. Megaludis put on a takedown clinch racking up six takedowns and a reversal to roll to an 18-5 major decision and move into the second round.

Megaludis took on No. 14 Josh Rodriguez of North Dakota State in the second round. Megaludis gave up an early takedown but responded to score the bout’s final four points to post a strong 4-2 win and move into the national quarterfinals.

Megaludis met Michigan’s Conor Youtsey in the quarterfinals Friday morning. Megaludis battled the Wolverine through a scoreless first period and then dominated the bout in the second and third. An escape and a takedown in the second and a full ride-out in the third gave Megaludis a 4-0 win with 3:22 in riding time, moving the Lion senior into the semifinals. He became Penn State’s ninth four-time All-American with the win as well.

Nico took on No. 15 David Terao of American in the national semifinals. Megaludis controlled the action from start to finish. The senior notched a first period takedown to lead 2-1 after the opening period. He then added an escape and a takedown in the second, riding Terao out to carry a 5-1 lead into the third stanza. In the third period, Megaludis built up a riding time edge with a strong ride to start and then, after a Terao escape, picked up another takedown. A final ride out and 1:32 in riding time gave the Lion senior an 8-2 win, sending him to the NCAA Championship match Saturday night where he will meet Iowa’s Thomas Gilman.


133: #5 Jordan Conaway, Sr., Abbottstown, Pa. // 4-3, 6th place, 2X ALL-AMERICAN

Rd 1: Corey Keener, Central Michigan — W, 6-5 dec.
Rd 2: #12 Ryan Taylor, Wisconsin – W, 8-5 dec.
Qtrs: #4 Cody Brewer, Oklahoma – L, 4-8 dec.
Cn 4: Mason Beckman, Lehigh – W, 5-4 dec.
Cn Qtr: #8 Earl Hall, Iowa State – W, 7-2
Cn Semi: #3 Zane Richards, Illinois – L, 2-3 dec.
5th Place: #8 Eric Montoya, Nebraska – L, 4-7 dec.

Senior Jordan Conaway, the No. 5 seed at 133, met Central Michigan’s Corey Keener in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. Conaway opened up an early lead and then held off a late Keener flurry to post a 6-5 win and move into the second round.

Conaway met returning All-American, No. 12 Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin in round two. Conway gave up the bout’s first takedown and then dominated the action from there. The Lion junior notched a takedown in the second and two in the third to roll to an 8-5 win, avenging two losses in the Big Ten tournament, and moving into the quarterfinals.

Conaway took on No. 4 Cody Brewer of Oklahoma in the quarterfinals. Conaway scored quickly with a takedown but was reversed seconds later, ending the first period with a 3-2 lead. Conaway continued to pressure Brewer but every time the Lion got in deep on a shot, the Sooner scrambled to his own takedown, countering his way to an 8-4 win. The loss sends Conaway into consolation action, still able to finish as high as third.

Jordan faced Lehigh’s Mason Beckman in the fourth round of consolations, needing one win to become a two-time All-American. Conaway took an early 2-0 lead, fell behind by one after the second period and then rallied in the third period with an escape and a takedown to win 5-4. Conaway’s victory clinched his second All-America honor and moved him into the consolation quarters where he met No. 8 Earl Hall of Iowa State. Conaway dominated the bout, notching three takedowns, one in each period, to roll to a 7-2 victory.

Conaway took on No.3 Zane Richards in the consolation semifinals. Richards took Conaway down early in the first and the Nittany Lion escaped to a 2-1 deficit that carried into the second period. The Illini chose down and escaped to start the second and Conaway did the same to start the third, giving Richards a 3-2 lead. Conaway was unable to break through Richards’ defense and dropped into the fifth place bout with a 3-2 loss. He faced Nebraska’s Eric Montoya for fifth place and dropped a tough 7-4 decision. Conaway led 4-2 with :20 left but was turned for four back points late.

141: Jimmy Gulibon, Jr., Benton, Pa. // 2-2, DNP
Rd. 1: #5 Matt Manley, Missouri – W, 17-2 (TF; 7:00)
Rd. 2: #12 Chris Mecate, Old Dominion – L, 0-6 dec.
Cn 2: Ian Nickell, CSU Bakersfield – W, 4-2 dec.
Cn 3: Seth Gross, South Dakota State – L, 6-10 dec.

Junior Jimmy Gulibon, unseeded at 141, met No. 5 Matt Manley of Missouri in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. Gulibon, returning All-American at 133, put on a clinic, using a takedown and four back points to open up an early lead. The Lion junior never looked back, rolling to a 17-2 technical fall (7:00) with 4:33 in riding time to move into the second round.

Gulibon met No. 12 Chris Mecate of Old Dominion in the second round. Mecate, a returning All-American, hit Gulibon for a quick takedown and then turned him for four near fall points to take a 6-0 lead that would be the bout’s final score. The loss dropped Gulibon into consolation action.

Gulibon met CSU Bakersfield’s Ian Nickell in the second round of consolations Friday morning. He gave up an early takedown but countered with a reversal to tie the bout 2-2 after one period. Gulibon broke the tie with a takedown and ride-out in the third period to post the 4-2 win and move into the third round of consolations. He met South Dakota State’s Seth Gross in conso round three. Gulibon led 4-2 with a reversal to start the third, but Gross quickly reversed the Lion junior then took him down late to take a 6-5 lead. Gulibon had riding time to tie it but Gross turned him for four back points to steal the 10-6 win, ending Gulibon’s tournament. Gulibon went 2-2 at this year’s championship and ends his junior year with a 14-11 record.

149: #1 Zain Retherford, So., Benton, Pa. // 5-0, NATIONAL CHAMPION, 2X ALL-AMERICAN
Rd. 1: Coleman Hammond, CSU Bakersfield — W, 21-6 (TF; 5:46)
Rd. 2: #16 Patricio Lugo, Edinboro – WBF (6:37)
Qtrs: #9 Justin Oliver, Central Michigan – WBF (2:12)
Semis: #5 Alec Pantaleo, Michigan – WBF (4:49)
Finals: #2 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa – W, 10-1 maj. dec.

Sophomore Zain Retherford, the No. 1 seed at 149, took on Coleman Hammond of CSU Bakersfield in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. The top-seeded Lion made short work of Hammond, totaling eight takedowns and a reversal on his way to a 21-6 technical fall at the 5:46 mark to move into the second round.

Retherford took on No. 16 Patricio Lugo of Edinboro in round two. Lugo notched the bout’s first takedown and then Retherford took over from there. The Lion sophomore led 3-2 after one and 11-4 after two periods. In the third, with Lugo starting down, Retherford steadily worked him over for a four-count and then picked up the fall at the 6:37 mark to move into the quarterfinals and pick up key bonus points for the Nittany Lions.

Retherford met No. 9 Justin Oliver of Central Michigan in the quarterfinals. The Lion sophomore continued his dominance, making short work of Oliver with a first period pin. He worked Oliver to the mat with a quick takedown and then turned him for a four-point turn, reset himself, and picked up the fall at the 2:12 mark. He becomes a two-time All-American and advances to Friday night’s national semifinals.

Zain faced off against No. 5 Alec Pantaleo of Michigan in the national semifinals. Retherford, who had two pins over Pantaleo during the regular season, made it three for three against the Wolverine. Retherford took a 6-0 lead after one period with a takedown and four-point turn. In the second period, he notched another takedown and this time, turned a four-point turn into a pin at the 4:49 mark to move into the NCAA finals against Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen Saturday night.

157: #3 Jason Nolf, Fr., Yatesboro, Pa. // 4-1, NCAA Runner-Up, ALL-AMERICAN
Rd. 1: Kamaal Shakur, Chattanooga – WBF (3:34)
Rd. 2: May Bethea, Penn – W, 25-10 (TF; 6:35)
Qtrs: #6 Joseph Smith, Oklahoma State – W, 11-3 maj. dec.
Semis: #15 Chad Walsh, Rider – W, 19-4 (TF; 3:19)
Finals: #1 Isaiah Martinez, Illinois – L, 5-6 dec.

Red-shirt freshman Jason Nolf, the No. 3 seed at 157, met Chattanooga’s Kamaal Shakur in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Nolf dominated the match from the onset, notching four takedowns in the first period to open up a big lead. He then ended the bout with a cradle in the second period, locking up Penn State’s first fall of the tournament at the 3:34 mark to move into the second round.

Nolf met Penn’s May Bethea in the next round. The Lion freshman put on an offensive show, totaling 12 takedowns on his way to a lopsided 25-10 technical fall at the 6:35 mark of the third period. Nolf led 6-2 after one, 15-5 after two and picked up five third period takedowns to end the bout and advance to the quarterfinals.

In the first of two key quarterfinals in the team title race, Nolf met No. 6 Joseph Smith of Oklahoma State. Nolf controlled the Cowboy freshman from start to finish, taking a 2-1 lead into the second period, upping that to 5-2 after two and then pouring it on in the third. Nolf picked up an escape, two takedowns and a riding time point to post the 11-3 major, become a freshman All-American, and roll into the national semifinals.

Jason met No. 15 Chad Walsh of Rider in the national semifinals. The Lion freshman put on an early takedown clinic, rolling out to a 14-3 lead after just one period, using multiple takedowns and a four point turn in the process. Nolf chose down to start the second period and quickly ended the match. He turned back into Walsh, forcing his back to the mat from the defensive position and, with the reversal and four near fall points, got a 19-4 technical fall at the 3:19 mark to move into the NCAA finals.


165: Geno Morelli, Jr., DuBois, Pa. // 2-2, DNP
Rd. 1: #11 John Staudenmayer, North Carolina – W, 5-3 dec.
Rd. 2: #6 Steven Rodriguez, Illinois – L, 1-3 (SV2)
Cn 2: Jake Faust, Duke – W, 5-2 dec.
Cn 3: #14 David McFadden, Virginia Tech – L, 3-14 maj. dec.

Junior Geno Morelli, unseeded at 165, met No. 11 John Staudenmayer of North Carolina in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. Morelli, who dropped a 2-1 (TB) decision to Staudenmayer earlier in the year, avenged the defeat on the biggest stage. The Lion junior used a four-point throw in the first period to open up an early lead and then held on for a thrilling 5-3 win to advance to the second round.

Morelli moved on and faced No. 6 Steven Rodriguez of Illinois in the next round. The Lion junior battled the sixth-seed tough for over nine minutes before dropping a hard-fought 3-1 (SV2) decision. Tied 1-1 after one sudden victory period, Morelli rode Rodriguez out in the first tie-breaker period, nearly turning him for two back points. Morelli almost escaped twice but could not in his tie-breaker and Rodriguez notched a quick takedown in the second sudden victory period to post the win and drop Morelli into consolation action.

Morelli met Duke’s Jake Faust in the second round of consolations. The DuBois native struck quickly, taking Faust down seconds into the match and rode him out to close the first period up with a 2-0 lead and nearly 3:00 in riding time. Morelli went on to post a 5-2 win and move into consolation round three where he met No. 14 David McFadden of Virginia Tech. Morelli led 2-0 after a first period takedown but McFadden countered with back points in the second and third to post the 14-3 major and end Morelli’s tournament. Morelli, an at-large pick at 165, went 2-2 in his first NCAA Championship and ended his season with a 21-12 overall record.

174: #1 Bo Nickal, Fr., Allen, Texas // 4-1, NCAA Runner-Up, ALL-AMERICAN
Rd. 1: Josef Johnson, Harvard – W, 10-2 maj. dec.
Rd. 2: #16 Micah Barnes, Nebraska – W, 7-2 dec.
Qtrs: #9 Chandler Rogers, Oklahoma State – W, 15-4 maj. dec.
Semis: #12 Nathan Jackson, Indiana – W, 4-3 dec.
Finals: #11 Myles Martin, Ohio State – L, 9-11 dec.

Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal, the No. 1 seed at 174, met Harvard’s Josef Johnson in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. The Lion freshman gave up an early takedown but responded calmly to dominate the rest of the match. Nickal used three takedowns and 3:44 in riding time to post the major decision, pick up key bonus points for the team, and move into the second round.

Nickal moved on to face No. 16 Micah Barnes of Nebraska in the next round. Like his first round match, Nickal gave up the opening takedown but rebounded to dominate the action. The Lion freshman picked up takedowns in the first and second periods and rode Barnes out in the third to post the 7-2 win and move into the quarterfinals.

In another key quarterfinal match-up in the team race, Nickal met No. 9 Chandler Rogers of Oklahoma State. Mirroring Nolf, Nickal dominated his Cowboy opponent and picked up key bonus points in the process. The Lion freshman hit a six-point move early in the match with a standing throw for a takedown and back points. Rogers never recovered and Nickal rolled on to a 15-4 major to become a freshman All-American and move into the national semifinals.

Bo faced No. 12 Nathan Jackson of Indiana in the national semifinals. Facing the only man to beat him to date (a 7-6 loss in a dual in January, Nickal avenged the loss on the biggest stage. Jackson took an early 2-1 lead with a first period takedown and extended it to 3-1 with an escape to start the second. But Nickal responded with a late takedown and ride out to tie the bout 3-3. A Nickal escape to start the third period proved the difference in a 4-3 Nickal win, moving the Lion freshman into the national finals.


184: #16 Matt McCutcheon, So., Apollo, Pa. // 0-2 overall, DNP
Rd. 1: Tom Sleigh, Bucknell – L, 3-4 dec.
Cn. 1: Jack Dechow, Old Dominion – L, 1-6 dec.

Sophomore Matt McCutcheon, the No. 16 seed at 184, met Tom Sleigh of Bucknell in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. McCutcheon took a 3-0 lead early in the second period but gave up four straight points, including 1:08 in decisive riding time, to lose 4-3 and drop into consolation action.

McCutcheon met Jack Dechow, returning All-American, in the first round of consolation action Thursday night. The Lion sophomore gave up takedowns in the first and third periods and dropped a 6-1 decision, ending his tournament run with a 0-2 mark and the season at 16-8.

197: #1 Morgan McIntosh, Sr., Santa Ana, Calif. // 4-1, NCAA Runner-Up, 3X ALL-AMERICAN
Rd. 1: Ryan Wolfe, Rider – W, 11-3 maj. dec.
Rd. 2: #16 Kyle Conel, Kent State – WBF (6:01)
Qtrs: #8 Aaron Studebaker, Nebraska – W, 15-4 maj. dec.
Semis: #4 Nathan Burak, Iowa – W, 4-2 dec.
Finals: #2 J’Den Cox, Missouri – L, 2-4 dec.

Senior Morgan McIntosh, the No. 1 seed at 197, faced off against Rider’s Ryan Wolfe in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships. McIntosh was steady, dominating Wolfe from start to finish. The Lion senior led 5-0 after two periods then poured it on in the third with two takedowns to post an important 11-3 major to advance to the second round.

McIntosh took on No. 16 Kyle Conel of Kent State in the second round. McIntosh found himself behind 4-2 early, giving up two first period takedowns. But the top-seeded Lion controlled the rest of the match, opening up a 13-5 lead before turning Conel for a pin at the 6:01 mark to move into the quarterfinals while picking up key bonus points for the team.

McIntosh took on No. 8 Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska in the quarterfinals. McIntosh made it 3-0 against Studebaker this year with a dominating performance. The Lion senior carried a 13-2 lead into the second period and walked away with a 16-4 major decision to move into the national semifinals. McIntosh notched three takedowns, two turns for near fall and a reversal in the win. The victory also makes

Morgan took on No. 4 Nathan Burak of Iowa in the national semifinals. In a match similar to the Big Ten title bout two weekends earlier, McIntosh muscled his way to a 4-2 win over Burak to advance to the NCAA Finals for the first time in the three-time All-American’s career. He used a first period takedown, an escape and 1:07 in riding time to earn the victory and advance to the championship bout.


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