USA Wrestling Retherford shuts out...

Retherford shuts out Bajrang, Santa “sleighs” Grinch at Nittany Lion WC event

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Dec. 22, 2020, 10:37 p.m. (ET)

Photo of Zain Retherford by Carie Dernlan. 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Two-time U.S. Senior World Team member Zain Retherford notched a big win over two-time World medalist Bajrang Punia of India, 6-0, in the main event of Tuesday night’s Nittany Lion Wrestling Club dual on Rokfin.

Retherford, who wrestled for the USA at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, scored early in the first period, catching world No. 2 ranked Punia off balance for a takedown to lead 2-0 at the break. In the second period, Retherford tacked on another takedown followed by a leg lace for an eventual 6-0 shutout.

Retherford’s win comes just days after Punia won FloWrestling’s 150-pound bracket.

Highlighting the night’s co-main event was Penn State All-American Roman Bravo-Young and UFC talent Aljamain Sterling, who was a Division III All-American.

The two went head-to-head in a traditional six-minute freestyle match before competing in a three-minute jiu-jitsu period. Despite Sterling scoring a four-point takedown early in the wrestling bout, Bravo-Young came back for a 6-4 win. In the jiu-jitsu period, Sterling won by submission in 1:45.

The event also included two tightly contested women’s bouts.

In the first one, 2019 Senior Nationals champion and 2020 Women’s Collegiate champion Emma Bruntil bested multi-time National Team member and 2015 Pan Am champion Jen Page with late first-period takedown, which ultimately gave Bruntil the 2-1 win.

The second women’s bout had 2020 Senior Nationals and U23 Nationals champion Xochitl Mota-Pettis take on 2020 Pan Am Olympic Qualifier champion Jane Valencia of Mexico. Mota-Pettis scored takedowns in each frame of action for a 4-0 lead but a late sprint from Valencia saw the Mexico representative collect two takedowns in the last 22 seconds for a 4-4 win on criteria.

The night had a bit of comic relief as the third bout of the main card pitted two holiday legends against each other with Santa Claus taking on the Grinch. Before Santa had a chance to check his list twice, the Grinch stole a 9-hohoho lead, looking for a shutout, but Santa dashed and danced and pranced his way to 16 unanswered points before securing the fall at 4:00.

To go with the night’s undercard event of Nittany Lion WC vs. Wolfpack WC dual, four high-level matches were put on the main card.

NLWC’s Michael Beard went back-and-forth with Wolfpack’s Nick Reenan but eventually pulled off a 10-6 decision. Shortly after, Carter Starocci of NLWC defeated Wolfpack WC’s Daniel Bullard with five takedowns for a 13-2 victory. However, Hayden Hidlay put Wolfpack WC on the board when he bested 2018 Junior World bronze medalist from NLWC Brady Berge with a 5-0 win. The NLWC got their third win of the series when two-time All-American Nick Lee came out victorious in a 14-10 shootout against 2018 All-American Tariq Wilson.

At 97 kg, 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Kyle Snyder worked 2018 U23 World bronze medalist Ty Walz for a 10-0 win, which featured two takedowns and four step outs as well as exposure in a scramble.

2011 World silver medalist for Puerto Rico Franklin Gomez opened the night with a win against two-time World Team member for San Marino Malik Amine. Gomez used two takedowns to get him to a 5-2 win, holding off any scoring from Amine until the last six seconds.

All matches will be archived and available to watch on Rokfin.

Dec. 22, 2020 | State College, Pa.

Main card results
Franklin Gomez (NLWC/Puerto Rico) df. Malik Amine (Cliff Keen WC/San Marino), 5-2
Michael Beard (NLWC) df. Nick Reenan (WWC), 10-6
Santa Claus (North Pole) df. The Grinch (Whoville), fall 4:00
Kyle Snyder (NLWC) df. Ty Walz (Southeast RTC), 10-0
Emma Bruntil (Wrestle Like A Girl) df. Jen Page (NLWC), 2-1
Carter Starocci (NLWC) df. Daniel Bullard (WWC), 13-2
Hayden Hidlay (WWC) df. Brady Berge (NLWC), 5-0
Nick Lee (NLWC) df. Tariq Wilson (WWC), 14-10
Jane Valencia (NLWC/Mexico) df. Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Rise Wrestling), 4-4
Roman Bravo-Young (NLWC) df. Aljamain Sterling, 6-4
Zain Retherford (NLWC) df. Bajrang Punia (India), 6-0

Undercard results
137 lbs. - Baylor Shunk (NLWC) df. Johnny Devine (WWC), 5-4
137 lbs. - Jarrett Trombley (WWC) df. Brandon Meredith (NLWC), 12-2
137 lbs. - David Evans (NLWC) df. Alex Urquiza (WWC), 12-1
145 lbs. - Beau Bartlett (NLWC) df. Kai Orine (WWC), 10-0
285 lbs. - Deonte Wilson (WWC) df. Seth Nevills (NLWC), 6-1
145 lbs. - Joey Blumer (NLWC) df. Silas Shaw (WWC), 13-2
153 lbs. - Ed Scott (WWC) df. Terrell Barraclough (NLWC), 10-8
153 lbs. - Bo Pipher (NLWC) df. AJ Leitten (WWC), 6-4
153 lbs. - Hunter Lewis (WWC) df. Scott Obendorfer (NLWC), 12-2
161 lbs. - Matt Lee (NLWC) df. AJ Kovacs (WWC), 7-4
169 lbs. - Joe Lee (NLWC) df. Tyler Barnes (WWC), 10-0
169 lbs. - Aurelius Dunbar (NLWC) df. Kai Bele (WWC), 8-4
178 lbs. - Creighton Edsell (NLWC) df. Alex Falson (WWC), 10-0
188 lbs. - Jacob Ferreira (WWC) df. Donovon Ball (NLWC), 3-1
285 lbs. - Tyrie Houghton (WWC) df. Austin Hoopes (NLWC), 12-2
145 lbs. - Luke Gardner (NLWC) df. Kai Orine (WWC), 9-3
285 lbs. - Greg Kerkvliet (NLWC) df. Deonte Wilson (WWC), 10-0