Lavallee takes second at NCAA wrestling championships

A capacity crowd is expected inside Scott Trade Center for the Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis

The Lions have 122 points heading into Saturday night's finals, where five Penn State wrestlers will be contending for national championships.

Penn State's seventh overall national championship came in dominant fashion, much like the others since coach Cael Sanderson arrived before the 2009-10 season.

All of them, as it turned out.

Wrestling for NCAA gold Saturday will be Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184).

Picking up victories in the final five matches of the finals, the Nittany Lions matched Iowa (1986 and 1997) and Oklahoma State (2005) as the only teams in tournament history with five individual champions. The five individual champions tied the NCAA record, matched just three other times.

At the DI Wrestling Championships over the weekend, the Nittany Lions once again dominated.

It took a team effort, as seven of the eight Nittany Lion wrestlers went 2-0 on the day to advance to the quarterfinals of their respective brackets.

Penn State (11-13) continues the tournament Sunday, when it will play both teams once more.

Sophomore Jason Nolf, the top seed at 157, faced Missouri's No. 3 seed Joey Lavallee.

OU advanced four wrestlers to the second day of competition in wrestlebacks - Brad Johnson (197), Mike Longo (141), Yoanse Mejias (165) and Ross Larson (285) - but each was eliminated in second-day defeats.

Four takedowns from counter scrambles to low leg attacks widened the gap to the final 14-6 count. Joseph's victory provided one of the night's most thrilling moments, when he pinned two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of IL. Then came the stunner. I could feel it starting to open up, and I knew I was going to get to my attack soon. With Hall retreating, Jordan stayed on the attack, but Hall scored a takedown with four seconds left for a 5-2 win.

No. 7 Penn State took down No. 9 MI on Saturday afternoon at Rec Hall, with the Nittany Lions earning 409.200 points to the Wolverines' 405.300.

Hall got a second period takedown, which was challenged by Ohio State but ultimately confirmed, and took a 3-1 lead into the third period. He got a little revenge in his first match of the day, picking up a 5-1 decision over Stanford's Keaton Subjeck, who handed Joseph his first loss of his career back in November.

Penn State kept rolling, and Bo Nickal (184) knocked off Cornell's Gabe Dean 4-3. "I'm really quick at making adjustments whether they be in a match or even after I wrestle someone". He earned a takedown of his own late in the first and was able to ride out the period to take a 3-2 lead into the second.

Dean nearly had a go-ahead takedown late in the match but Nickal managed to get his hips free and scrambled out of bounds just out of Dean's reach for both ankles. He picked up a bonus point for his team with a 12-4 major decision over Wyoming's Brandon Asworth.

The Penn State sophomore finished the year 26-1, his only loss coming in the Big Ten championship final against Ohio State's Myles Martin.

Nickal won the 2017 Gorriaran Award, which is given annually to the wrestler with the most falls in least amount of time.

Penn State also got an All-American performance from sophomore heavyweight Nick Nevills.

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