Penn State routs Bucknell

UNIVERSITY PARK — Some of the wrestlers in the Penn State wrestling lineup, most notably defending NCAA champions Vincenzo Joseph (165), Jason Nolf (157) and Mark Hall (174), appeared to used Sunday to work on their takedown maneuvers against Bucknell.

Joseph racked up 10 takedowns on Altoona graduate D.J. Hollingshead in a 23-8 technical fall. Nolf rang up seven before pinning Christian Basselino in 3:33, and Hall followed later with eight takedowns in a 21-6 technical fall over Nick Stephani in 6:50.

They led the top-ranked Nittany Lions to a 50-3 edge in takedowns and a 36-6 win over the 0-4 Bison before 6,535 fans at Rec Hall.

“We’re not looking for first-period pins right now,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “If it happens, it happens. We’re just trying to wrestle, score points and get better. They (Bucknell) have some good kids.”

Unfortunately for Hollingshead, who was a Class 3A state runner-up at 170 as a senior in 2015 and a fourth-placer as a junior, his return to Central Pennsylvania was less than memorable.

“It’s awesome to come out here and wrestle at Rec Hall, because this is where I grew up close to here,” Hollingshead said. “I’d come out and watch the Penn State wrestlers, and now I’m the guy out here wrestling. I would have loved to have put on a better wrestling show and a better performance.”

Hollingshead, a junior, wasn’t healthy, either. He missed the Lehigh match because of being sick, and he had to halt responses briefly in his interview with the Mirror to cough into his sweatshirt.

“I’m struggling to get over it right now,” he said. “I’m not feeling good.”

Sick or not, early on Hollingshead matched the upper-body style of Joseph, who pinned Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez in the NCAA finals with a throw, in two or three tie-ups. Joseph, however, changed to leg attacks, and he couldn’t be stopped.

“I knew he was going to go upper body with me,” Hollingshead said. “I know he’s good upper body, and I’m fine upper body, too. I almost threw him twice. That’s one of those 50-50 positions, where maybe I should have went for it, and I maybe I shouldn’t have.

“And then he kept getting to those attacks on me. He kept getting me with that blast double and an ankle. He was going to the ankles, which was kind of messing with me. I just didn’t adjust well in the match.”

Joseph used a wicked double-leg shot to get a number of his 10 takedowns of Hollingshead (0-2), Altoona’s career record holder for wins with a 144-18 mark. Joseph got four takedowns in the first period, three more in the second and three in the third. The final scoring came on the second stalling point.

“Vincenzo has great leg attacks,” Sanderson said. “He can threaten you with the upper body stuff also. His opponent was comfortable in that position too, but I thought Vincenzo looked really good. His double legs were crisp.

Defending NCAA champ Nolf, who started with a pin against Army on Thursday, took Basselino down six times in the first period, added another in the second, hooked up a cradle and got the fall in 3:33. The Lions (2-0) held a 19-3 lead at halftime.

“I thought Nolf looked great,” Sanderson said. “I think he thought he may be winning the Ridge Riley Award. That’s what they were joking about in the locker room.

“But you won, right Zain?” Sanderson asked Zain Retherford in the media room afterward.

“Yeah,” Retherford said.

“Maybe next time,” Sanderson said. “People come and expect Nolf and Zain to score 20 points. If they don’t, you’re wondering what’s wrong with them. Nolf is constantly working and playing with the sport. That’s why he’s better now than he was a year ago.”

Two-time champion Retherford was named the Ridge Riley Award winner by building a 10-1 lead on Seth Hogue before pinning Hogue in 4:14.

Retherford said he wouldn’t talk any smack with Nolf about getting the award.

“No, not at all,” Retherford said. “We were talking about it. I think he deserved it.”

Hall racked up five takedowns in the first period, one more to go along with four back points in the second, and he scored two more in the third, the last with 10 seconds remaining.

Defending champ Bo Nickal amassed seven takedowns in a 16-6 major decision over Drew Phipps at 184.

The Lions started the match with another loss by Devin Schnupp, who dropped a 3-1 decision to Jakob Campbell at 125. Schnupp was close to a takedown in the third period but he couldn’t finish the shot.

At 133, Penn State’s Corey Keener earned a 12-4 major decision over David Campbell, scoring two takedowns in the final 20 seconds. Jared Cortez followed with a 10-4 decision over Matt Kolonia at 141. Bucknell’s 10th-ranked 141-pounder Tyler Smith wasn’t in the lineup.

125–J. Campbell, B, dec. Schnupp, 3-1; 133–Keener, PS, maj. dec. D. Campbell, 12-4; 141–Cortez, PS, dec. Kolonia, 10-4; 149–Retherford, PS, pinned Hogue, 4:14; 157–Nolf, PS, pinned Basselino, 3:33.

165–Joseph, PS, tech. fall Hollingshead, 23-8, 6:30; 174–Hall, PS, tech. fall Stephani, 21-6, 6:50; 184–Nickal, PS, maj. dec. Phipps, 16-6; 197–Hoffman, B, dec. Cassar, 11-8; 285–Nevills, PS, dec. Chakonis, 11-4.

Records: Bucknell (0-4), Penn State (2-0)

Attendance: 6,535

Referee: Nate Chatman

COMMENTS