USA Wrestling Retherford, Nolf and...

Retherford, Nolf and Nickal catapult No. 2 Penn State past No. 3 Iowa, 26-11

By Jordan Hansen, Special to | Jan. 21, 2017, 12:16 a.m. (ET)

 Jason Nolf (Penn State) topped Michael Kemerer (Iowa) 9-4 in battle
of No. 1 vs. No. 2 at 157 pounds. Photo: Mark Lundy,
IOWA CITY, Iowa — In just 38 seconds, Penn State 184-pounder Bo Nickal managed to hush the crowd in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa’s Sammy Brooks took an early shot at Nickal, but couldn’t do anything with it and got into a bad spot. Seconds later, Nickal had Brooks on his back and six team points went to Penn State, putting them up 18-11.

The Nittany Lions would go on to win 26-11 in front of a near capacity crowd of 14,311.

“I get in positions like that all the time in the practice room,” Nickal said. “I saw the opportunity and I took it.”

Things started off in the Hawkeyes favor, as the team jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. Thomas Gilman (18-0) beat Nick Suriano 3-2 at 125, scoring a takedown early in the first period that turned out to be the difference-maker.

It was just the second non-bonus point win this season for Gilman.

“I danced with him, that’s all I really got to say about it,” Gilman said. “He was running around the mat and I was chasing him a little bit. I needed to assert my authority out there instead of dancing with him.”

The Hawkeyes lone bonus-point victory came next, as Cory Clark slowly built up a 19-4 technical fall over Chris Carpenter.

As with most Iowa-Penn State duals, the momentum shifted back and fourth fairly often between the two teams — at least to begin with. The Nittany Lions won the next four matches by decision to take a 12-8 lead on the Hawkeyes.

At 141, Penn State senior Jimmy Guilbon scored four takedowns in the final period to grind out an 8-6 win over Topher Carton. Another gut punch for the Hawkeyes came next as highly touted 149-pounders Brandon Sorensen and Zain Retherford went all the way to a second tiebreaker to decide their match.

Sorensen got the Iowa crowd going with a takedown in the third period to take the lead over Retherford. The Penn State wrestler was not to be denied, however, as he answered back with two points of his own, though Sorensen did manage to escape his grasp to put the match into extra time.

The pair battled through sudden victory and after both tailing escapes in the first round of tiebreakers, Retherford was able to ride Sorensen out for the victory.

“Zain’s probably the toughest kid I ever met,” Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. “You could tell he wasn’t feeling great — I shouldn’t say that, I don’t wanna take anything away from Sorensen — but he found a way to win a match.”

Jason Nolf continued the Penn State series of wins with a 9-4 decision over Michael Kemerer at 157. His victory was followed by yet another Penn State decision win, as Vincenzo Joseph topped Iowa’s Joey Gunther 7-4.

At this point, Iowa needed a spark. They found one in 174-pounder Alex Meyer, who scored a takedown to go up 7-5 with 15 seconds remaining in his match against true freshman Mark Hall who was pulled from redshirt tonight.

The back end of the Nittany Lions lineup took control of the dual with Nickal’s pin. They followed that up with an 8-7 overtime win by Matt McCutcheon over Iowa’s Cash Wilcke at 197 pounds.

Penn State’s Nick Nevills finished off the dual with a technical fall at heavyweight over Steven Holloway. It was a kick in the face for Iowa, who found out before the meet that its regular starter at 285 Sam Stoll would be out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

“Penn State coming to town, you never know, you get beat down in Stillwater and you worry that you might leave some fans behind,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “We have the best fans, the best head table, now we just need the best wrestling.

“I got beat in the interview room, I got beat all over tonight. That’s on me.”

No. 2 Penn State 26, No. 3 Iowa 11
January 20 at Iowa City, Iowa

125 -- #1 Thomas Gilman (IA) dec. #3 Nick Suriano (PSU), 3-2; 3-0 Iowa
133 -- #3 Cory Clark (IA) tech. fall George Carpenter (PSU), 19-4; 8-0 Iowa
141 -- #12 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) dec. #18 Topher Carton (IA), 8-6; 8-3 Iowa
149 -- #1 Zain Retherford (PSU) dec. #3 Brandon Sorensen (IA), 9-8 TB2; 8-6 Iowa
157 -- #1 Jason Nolf (PSU) dec. #2 Michael Kemerer (IA), 9-4; 8-9 Penn State
165 -- #4 Vicenzo Joseph (PSU) dec. Joey Gunther (IA), 7-4; 8-12 Penn State
174 -- #13 Alex Meyer (IA) dec. Mark Hall (PSU), 7-5; 11-12 Penn State
184 -- #2 Bo Nickal (PSU) pinned #5 Sammy Brooks (IA), 0:38; 11-18 Penn State
197 -- #10 Matt McCutcheon (PSU) dec. Cash Wilcke (IA), 8-7 TB2; 11-21 Penn State
285 -- #5 Nick Nevills (PSU) tech. fall, Steven Holloway (IA), 21-6; 11-26 Penn State