Nittany Lions win Southern Scuffle
CHATTANOOGA — No. 1 Penn State won the 2019 Southern Scuffle, but that’s just where it starts.
Coach Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lions won the team title with a tournament record scoring total to outdistance second place Oklahoma State. The championship is Penn State’s eighth.
The Nittany Lions rolled to the team title behind six champions, including Penn State’s new all-time pins leader and the Outstanding Wrestler.
Twelve of Penn State’s 18 entrants at the event placed. The Nittany Lions’ team point total of 216.5 is a new Southern Scuffle record as well, crushing the old mark of 198.0 held by Oklahoma State.
Mifflin County graduate Trent Hidlay, true freshman from North Carolina State wrestling unattached while redshirting, finished fourth in the tournament at 174 pounds.
Hidlay made it to the quarterfinals on the first day but dropped his final match Tuesday. In the blood round, he decisioned Spencer Carey of Navy, 6-0, to clinch a medal. He went on to beat Michael O’Malley of Drexel, 9-4, then Duke’s Matt Finesilver, 3-1, to reach the third-place match.
There, he ran into Virginia Tech’s David McFadden, a former All-American, where he dropped a 3-2 decision.
Penn State senior Jason Nolf (157 pounds) won his third Southern Scuffle title. He pinned Stanford’s Dom Mandarino in the semifinals at the 5:22 mark. The fall was the 54th of Nolf’s career, setting a new Penn State all-time record for career pins (breaking the old mark of 53 held by Zain Retherford, David Taylor and Josh Moore). He moved into the finals where he met sophomore teammate Bo Pipher, rolling up three four-point near falls to post a 16-1 technical fall at the 2:11 mark. Nolf ends the tourney with a 5-0 record with three pins a tech and a major.
Senior Bo Nickal (197) pinned his way to his third Scuffle title. Fresh off winning his 100th career bout to cap off day one, Nickal continued his torrid pace, pinning No. 15 Tom Sleigh of Virginia Tech in the semifinals to start day two. Nickal’s fourth fall in as many matches came at the 1:12 mark and moved the Lion senior into the Scuffle finals where he met Stanford’s Nathan Traxler. Nickal completed the quest to pin his way to the Scuffle title by getting the fall over Traxler at the 2:09 mark.
Nickal also won his second Scuffle Outstanding Wrestler honor as well as the Gorriaran Award for most pins in the least time (five in 10:32).
Sophomore Nick Lee (141) won his first Southern Scuffle Championship. He met Lock Haven’s Kyle Shoop in the semis and dominated the Bald Eagle veteran, rolling to an 18-4 major decision then met talented Stanford redshirt Real Woods and came away with a hard-fought 6-3 win the title.
Junior Vincenzo Joseph (165) won his second straight Scuffle crown. He dominated No. 20 Jesse Dellavecchia of Rider in the semifinals, rolling to a 15-5 major decision. In the finals, he met No. 3 Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven the top-ranked Lion battled his way to a 6-5 win for the title.
Junior Mark Hall (174) brought home his third straight Scuffle title. He took on No. 19 Matt Finesilver of Duke in the semifinals and dominated the Blue Devil, rolling to a 6-0 win with nearly 4:00 of riding time. He took on Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith in the finals and won a thrilling battle with the two-time All-American Cowboy. Hall and Smith were tied 1-1 late when Hall nailed a quick takedown and immediately locked up a cradle for two quick near fall points, all with less than :20 in the bout.
Senior Shakur Rasheed (184) won his second Scuffle crown and his first at 184. He made quick work of No. 17 Sam Colbray of Iowa State in the semifinals, pinning the Cyclone in just 0:45 to advance to the finals. Rasheed, last year’s Scuffle champ and OW at 197, met Virginia Tech’s Hunter Bolen in the championship finals and walked away with a solid 4-1 win.
Senior Anthony Cassar (285) advanced to the Scuffle finals and placed second. He met No. 16 Matt Voss of George Mason in the semifinals and controlled the action from start to finish, posting a 14-6 major, his fourth in as many bouts, to move to the 2019 Scuffle title bout. In the finals, he met No. 3 Derek White of Oklahoma State and could not overcome a first period White takedown, dropping a hard-fought 3-2 decision to the third-ranked Cowboy.
True freshman Roman Bravo-Young (133) took third at his first Southern Scuffle. He dominated No. 20 Sean Nickell of Cal Bakersfield in the third place match, rolling to a 10-1 major.
Redshirt freshman Brady Berge, ranked No. 10 at 149, placed third as well. He downed Requir Van der Merwe of Stanford 5-2 for the bronze.
Senior Nick Nevills worked his way to a third place finish at the Scuffle. He took on No. 16 Matt Voss of George Mason for third and posted a 2-1 win.
Redshirt freshman Mason Manville placed at 165 as well, taking seventh as an unseeded wrestler.
The Nittany Lions return to action at Northwestern on Jan. 11. Penn State returns to Rec Hall two days later against Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m.