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Penn State Wrestling Earns Seven Top Five Seeds for NCAA Championships

by on March 07, 2018 6:37 PM

After a wild weekend of conference tournaments and two days of committee meetings, the dust has settled and the seedings for next week’s NCAA Championships were released Wednesday evening.

For Penn State, reigning national champions and freshly crowned Big Ten champs Zain Retherford and Bo Nickal each earned the top seeds at 149 and 184 pounds, respectively.After winning his first conference title over the weekend, defending national champion Mark Hall came at No. 2 in the 174 pound bracket 

Jason Nolf, who placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships after medically forfeiting out of the semifinals, earned the No. 3 seed at 157 pounds

He will wrestle in what could be considered the “Group of Death.” All on one side of the bracket are Nolf, the reigning national champion and the top wrestler in the weight class for the entire regular season; No. 2 Joey Lavalee of Missouri, the runner-up at 157 last year; No. 6 Michael Kemerer of Iowa, who sat at No. 2 behind Nolf all season; and No. 7 Micah Jordan of Ohio State who pinned Kemerer and placed second at the Big Ten Championships. Also included in that bracket is Rutgers’ John Van Brill, who Nolf wrestled before going down with the injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Vincenzo Joseph, another defending national champion, and Nick Nevills also received the No. 3 seeds at 165 and 285, respectively.

Nevills came in right behind the Big Ten’s elite top heavyweights, Kyle Snyder and Adam Coon. Had Nevills been seeded fourth, he would’ve had to wrestle his younger brother AJ Nevills, Fresno State’s freshman heavyweight and the Big 12 runner-up.

The seeding worked in favor of Team Nevills. Wayne and Kerri Nevills, the parents of Nick and AJ as well as former Stanford wrestler Zach and incoming Penn State recruit Seth, told Onward State they had been rooting all day against their sons having to meet in the tournament.

In a loaded field at 141 pounds, where the two-time reigning national champion is seeded sixth, Nick Lee received the eighth seed. He finished third in the Big Ten Championships, his first taste of postseason wrestling. To reach the finals, Lee will likely have to go through both top-seeded Bryce Meredith of Wyoming and No. 4 Joey McKenna of Ohio State, who narrowly beat him in their dual meeting.

Shakur Rasheed earned the No. 5 seed at 197 pounds. He will have to go through top-seeded Kollin Moore, who beat him in the Big Ten finals over the weekend, to reach the NCAA Finals.

Corey Keener was the only Nittany Lion to go unseeded. His first bout will come against No. 11 Dom Forys of Pitt.

After an eleventh place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Carson Kuhn fell short of qualifying off of one of the Big Ten’s automatic bids and didn’t receive one of the four at-large bids at 125 pounds that were announced Tuesday afternoon.

The NCAA Championships begin March 15 in Cleveland and continue through March 17.

Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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