Led by six champions, Penn State dominates Southern Scuffle, finishing 70 points ahead of Northern Iowa

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Jan. 02, 2018, 9:29 p.m. (ET)
Zain Retherford of Penn State takes down Josh Heil of Campbell in the 149-pound finals. Video capture from Flowrestling broadcast.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Penn State, led by six individual champions, ran away with the team title at the Southern Scuffle on Tuesday night, finishing 70 points ahead of second place Northern Iowa.

Penn State’s five returning NCAA champions all won, Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184). Their other Nittany Lion gold medal went to an unseeded wrestler, Shakur Rasheed (197).

Retherford, a 2017 Hodge Trophy winner and member of the 2017 U.S. Senior World Team in freestyle, controlled the action before pinning Josh Heil of Campbell in the finals in 4:39. Retherford led 7-2 after the first period, with three takedowns and a stalling point against Heil. In the second, riding Heil with dominance, he turned and pinned him.

Nolf took little time in hitting a headlock then pinning Mitch Finesilver of Duke in just 51 seconds of the first period.

Joseph defeated No 2 seed Bryce Steiert of Northern Iowa in an 8-0 major decision. Joseph had takedowns in the first and second period, then added two backpoints in the third period, along with riding time.

Hall scored a first period takedown, added a second period escape, and earned riding time in a solid 4-0 decision over No. 2 seed Jordan Kutler of Lehigh. Hall is a two-time Junior World champion, as well as a Cadet World champion.

Nickal scored a pair of first period takedowns and scored takedowns in both the second and third period, earning riding time as well on the way to a 10-2 major decision over Drew Foster of Northern Iowa.

Rasheed finished his coming-out party at the Scuffle with a quick 42 second pin of Jacob Holschlag of Northern Iowa in the 197-pound finals. Rasheed locked up a cradle to secure his third straight fall of the tournament. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

The Nittany Lions won a seventh Southern Scuffle title, having won six in a row before not competing at the event last year.

Along with the five Penn State NCAA champions who won titles, 2017 NCAA champion Darian Cruz of Lehigh captured the 125 pound crown, beating Jay Schwarm of Northern Iowa in the finals, 11-4. Cruz scored three takedowns in the first period and added two third-period takedowns in a bout he controlled all the way.

Penn State did lose one of their finals bouts. In a battle of talented freshmen who are not yet in their team’s starting lineup, No. 6 seed Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State pinned No. 5 seed Nick Lee of Penn State in 4:50. Lee led 5-4 after the first period. Gfeller scored a reversal early in the second period, then put Lee on his back, holding him in danger for most of the period before securing the fall with 10 seconds left in the period.

The finals were held out of order, starting at 184 pounds.

In an All-ACC battle at heavyweight, Jacob Kasper scored a counter takedown in sudden victory overtime to defeat Mike Boykin of NC State, 3-1. There was no first-period takedown, and the athletes traded escapes in the second and third period.

At 133 pounds, No. 2 seed Jack Mueller of Virginia scored a takedown in each period, then punished unseeded Gary Wayne Harding of Oklahoma State from the top on the way to a 10-0 major decision.

For archived video and full results, visit Flowrestling.

At Chattanooga, Tenn., Jan. 2

Championship Matches (seeds listed)

125 pounds - No. 1 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. No. 2 Jay Schwarm (Northern Iowa), 11-4
133 pounds - No. 2 Jack Mueller (Virginia) maj. dec. Gary Wayne Harding (Oklahoma State), 10-0
141 pounds - No. 6 Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State) pin No. 5 Nick Lee (Penn State), 4:50
149 pounds - No. 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) pin Josh Heil (Campbell), 4:39
157 pounds - No. 1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) pin No. 2 Mitch Finesilver (Duke), 0:51
165 pounds - No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) maj. dec. No. 2 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa), 8-0
174 pounds - No. 1 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. No. 2 Jordan Kutler (Lehigh), 4-0
184 pounds - No. 1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) dec. No. 2 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa), 10-2
197 pounds - Shakur Rasheed (Penn State) pin No. 5 Jacob Holschlag (Northern Iowa), 0:42
285 pounds - No. 2 Jacob Kasper (Duke) dec. No. 8 Mike Boykin (NC State), 3-1 sv

Third place bouts

125 - Louie Hayes (Virginia) TF Korbin Meink (Campbell), 19-4 7:00
133 - Colby Smith (Unattached) DEC Rico Montoya (N. Colorado), 8-4
141 -Josh Alber (Northern Iowa) TF Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven), 18-3 6:03
149 -Jared Prince (Navy) DEC Sam Krivus (Virginia), 5-2
157 - Paul Fox (Stanford) M FOR Coleman Hammond (CSU-Bakersfield)
165 - Chance Marsteller (Lock Haven) DEC Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech), 6-4
174 - Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa) F Forest Przybysz (Appalachian State), 2:42
184 - Bryce Carr (Chattanooga) DEC Nick Reenan (NC State), 4-3
197 - Anthony Cassar (Penn State) DEC Stephen Loiseau (Drexel), 4-1
285 - Nathan Butler (Stanford) DEC Nick Nevills (Penn State), 2-0

5th place bouts

125 - Anthony Decesare (Air Force) DEC Sergio Mendez (CSU-Bakersfield), 9-4
133 - Jamel Morris (NC State) M FOR Austin Desanto (Drexel)
141 - Nic Gil (Navy) M FOR Luke Karam (Lehigh)
149 - Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) DEF Trevor Elfvin (Drexel)
157 - Garrett Hammond (Drexel) DEC Zack Davis (Navy), 20-14
165 - Gordon Wolf (Lehigh) DEF Ebed Jarrell (Drexel)
174 - Keaton Subjeck (Stanford) M FOR Jadaen Bernstein (Navy)
184 - Michael Coleman (Navy) F Alan Clothier (Appalachian State), 6:35
197 - Scottie Boykin (Chattanooga) DEC Matt Williams (CSU-Bake), 8-6
285 - Mike Hughes (Hofstra) M FOR Thomas Haines (Lock Haven)

7th place bouts
125 - Gabe Townsell (Stanford) DEC Ibrahim Bunduka (George Mason), 3-2
133 - Sean Nickell (CSU-Bake) DEF Isaac Jimenez (Air Force)
141 - Evan Cheek (Cleveland State) MD Russell Rohlfing (CSU-Bake), 10-1
149 - Jarod Verkleeren (Penn State) DEC Roman Boylen (Chattanooga), 2-1
157 - Ian Brown (Lehigh) F Laken Cook (Appalachian State), 2:16
165 - Keilan Torres (N. Colorado) DEC Drew Longo (Lehigh), 9-7
174 - Austin Rose (Drexel) M FOR Matt Finesilver (Duke)
184 - Gary Jantzer (Unat. Utah Valley) DEC Stan Smeltzer (Virginia Tech), 6-2
197 - Luke Farinaro (Duke) M FOR Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh)
285 - Joey Goodhart (Drexel) M FOR Jordan Wood (Lehigh)

Team Standings
1 Penn State 197
2 Northern Iowa 127
3 Lehigh 102
4 Navy 87
5 Duke 80
6 Drexel 77.5
7 Virginia 71
8 CSU-Bakersfield 69
9 Stanford 68
10 Lock Haven 64.5
11 Chattanooga 51
12 Appalachian State 46
12 N. Colorado 46
14 NC State 34.5
15 Air Force 32
16 Campbell 29.5
17 Oklahoma State 27
18 Hofstra 26
19 Cleveland State 20
20 Gardner Webb 9.5
20 George Mason 9.5
22 North Carolina 9
23 Citadel 8
24 Virginia Tech 3.5