Tonight, the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club held an eleven-match event streamed exclusively on Rokfin. The card featured ten men’s freestyle matches and one women’s freestyle bout. This was the third card that the NLWC has hosted on Rokfin since September.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the night came in a battle between Pennsylvanian natives, when Penn State redshirt freshman Carter Starocci topped two-time Lock Haven All-American, Chance Marsteller, 4-2.
While Starocci put together an impressive 19-0 redshirt campaign last season, he was still a notable underdog against Marsteller, a former Cadet World Team member and 2019 U.S. Open runner-up.
Marsteller led 2-0 at the break, off of a go-behind takedown. However, Starocci got in on Marsteller’s legs numerous times, unable to score due to Marsteller’s staunch defense. With a minute remaining in the second period, Starocci converted on his first takedown. Marsteller became increasingly aggressive, and Starocci was able to capitalize, scoring a go-behind for another takedown. Marsteller kept pushing the action but was unable to prevent the young Nittany Lion from claiming a big victory.
The card’s main event between 2018 World champion David Taylor and two-time NCAA champion and Junior World bronze medalist Gabe Dean didn’t disappoint.
The first period was all Taylor, as the World champ picked up two step-out points and a takedown off of a single leg transitioned into a double on the edge of the mat. However, Dean was able to slow down Taylor’s usually prolific offense.
With a minute to go in the second period, Dean finished cleanly on a crisp single leg takedown to cut the lead to 4-2. In the waning seconds, Dean once again got in deep on a shot, only to be out scrambled by Taylor, who claimed the takedown and the 6-2 victory.
In the night’s opening matchup, Penn State’s two-time NCAA All-American Nick Lee dominated former National Team member Brandon Wright. Lee scored three takedowns and earned two exposure points off of a leg lace to take an 8-0 lead into the break. He iced the match early in the second period with a go behind, taking the win, 10-0.
Two-time All-American Nick Nevills kept the momentum rolling for the NLWC with a victory over Mauro Correnti, an NCAA qualifier for Rider who currently wrestles for the Pennsylvania RTC. Correnti struck first, running Nevills off the mat and converting on a takedown. Trailing 2-0 with 15 seconds remaining in the match, Nevills fired off a low-level shot straight into a leg lace, earning five turns and a 12-2 technical fall.
In a quick and impressive performance, Penn State freshman Joe Lee pinned two-time NCAA qualifier Zach Hartman of Bucknell. In the opening 30 seconds, Lee took down Hartman off a slide-by and cranked him over to his back for the fall.
NCAA turned international stars Franklin Gomez and Borislav Novachkov battled it out in the card’s fourth match. Gomez, a World silver medalist for Puerto Rico, previously defeated Novachkov, who wrestles for Bulgaria, at the 2016 Olympic Games.
At the break Novachkov lead, 4-1, scoring counters on two of Gomez’s shots. In the second period, Gomez pulled ahead, 5-4, after scoring a takedown and exposure points with a gutwrench. Novachkov fired off a desperation shot in the closing seconds, which Gomez countered to push his margin of victory to 7-4.
Two-time All-American and NCAA finalist Max Dean, brother of Gabe, scored a come-from-behind victory over CJ Brucki. Trailing, 4-1, after a four-point Brucki throw, Dean kept the pressure on, scoring a takedown before the end of the first period to cut the score to 4-3. Dean pulled ahead in the second period with four takedowns and an exposure from a gut wrench. Brucki pursued Dean for the second half of the second period, getting in on numerous shots but was unable to finish, falling 14-3.
2020 Senior Nationals finalist Nate Jackson defeated Penn State redshirt freshman Michael Beard, 7-0. Jackson led 5-0 at the break on the strength of two takedowns and a step-out point. In the second period, Jackson displayed incredible defense, fending off a deep single leg from Beard and turning it into a takedown of his own.
In the card’s sole women’s freestyle bout, the NLWC’s Jen Page defeated Simon Fraser’s Lauren Mason, 10-4. This was Page’s second victory on an NLWC card, after topping National Team member Desiree Zavala in September.
Mason scored first on a go-behind, taking a 2-0 lead. Page responded with a big double leg takedown for two. She added another double leg takedown and a gutwrench to push her lead to 6-2. Mason struck back with her own takedown to cut the lead to 6-4 before the break. In the second period, Page controlled the action, scoring another takedown and exposing Mason on a shot to make the final score, 10-4.
2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman looked fantastic against journeyman opponent Frank Perrelli. Gilman led, 8-0, when Perrelli got in on a deep single leg. Gilman countered, throwing Perrelli to his back for four points and eventually securing the pin.
In the night’s penultimate match current World Team member Zain Retherford took out three-time Senior World Team member Reece Humphrey, 10-0. Humphrey, who serves as the head coach of the New Jersey Regional Training Center, took silver at the 2020 Cerro Pelado Tournament in Cuba in February but prior to that had been inactive in freestyle competition since 2016.
Retherford scored first on a low-level shot. While Humphrey threatened to expose him, Retherford was able to fend off the crafty veteran and convert the takedown. Retherford quickly added another takedown off an ankle pick to carry a 4-0 lead into the break. In the second period, Retherford added another takedown off a reattack single leg shot, pushing his lead to 6-0. In the final minute, Retherford scored two more takedowns to cement the technical fall.
NLWC/Rokfin Card results
Nick Lee TF Brandon Wright, 10-0
Nick Nevills TF Mauro Correnti, 12-2
Joe Lee FALL Zach Hartman
Franklin Gomez DEC Borislav Novachkov, 7-4
Max Dean DEC CJ Brucki, 14-3
Nate Jackson DEC Michael Beard, 7-0
Carter Starocci DEC Chance Marsteller, 4-2
Jennifer Page DEC Lauren Mason, 10-4
Thomas Gilman FALL Frank Perrelli
Zain Retherford TF Reece Humphrey, 10-0
David Taylor DEC Gabe Dean, 6-2.