Gophers Drop Road Dual to Top-Ranked Penn State
The No. 14 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers wrestled the No. 1 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, and fell by a 35-8 score on Friday night at Rec Hall in State College, Pa.
The Gophers won two of the nine matches wrestled. No. 6 Ethan Lizak and No. 12 Mitch McKee each picked up victories for the Maroon and Gold, with Lizak picking up a 15-0 tech fall.
“I think we had some individuals wrestle well today,” head coach Brandon Eggum said after the dual. “Really nice to see Ethan bounce back and come out and attack all the positions. When he does those things, good things happen for him.”
A major decision at 157-pounds put the Gophers behind the top-ranked Nittany Lions early in the dual by the time No. 7 Nick Wanzek took the mat against No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph, the 2017 NCAA Champion at 165-pounds.
Joseph and Wanzek felt each other out for the majority of the first period, but Joseph was the one to strike first just before the end of the first period. Joseph would go up 3-0 on Wanzek with an escape to begin the second. After the escape, Wanzek had his chances, but couldn’t finish his shots. The Simley graduate escaped to begin the third, making it a one takedown match with 1:30 to go.
Joseph would be called for stalling with 35 seconds to go in the match with Wanzek putting pressure on. Joseph would escape with a 3-1 decision, which is the closest match the two have had in the two seasons of competition between the two.
“Besides giving up that takedown, you could see he was starting to pick up the pressure on Joseph,” Eggum said. “He can win that match, and that is a returning national champion, and I know he was frustrated but it was great to see him right there and he left a really good message out there. Hopefully the next time we get a chance to wrestle him again, he’ll remember that.”
At 174-pounds, Chris Pfarr took on fellow Minnesota native, Mark Hall. Hall, the 2017 NCAA Champion at 174-pounds, found himself in a tight situation with Pfarr. Hall had just one takedown heading into the final period, and the score was 2-1 with riding time at 2:12 for Hall. Hall escaped to begin the third, and was able to secure three takedowns, but Pfarr kept the match to just a decision to make the dual a 10-0 score after three matches.
Penn State used a pair of falls at 184 and 197-pounds to take a commanding 22-0 lead after five bouts. The Gophers and Nittany Lions took a 12-minute break before Rylee Streifel hit the mat against No. 6 Nick Nevills.
Streifel would keep Nevills working throughout the match; neither wrestler completed a takedown in the match, with Nevills scoring an escape in the second. Streifel had an opportunity to knot the match up in the third, but Nevills was able to ride out the redshirt sophomore to secure a 2-0 decision.
Minnesota would get on the board at 125-pounds with Ethan Lizak earning a tech fall over Devin Schnupp. Lizak used a Schnupp takedown attempt and spun around to earn two of his own. Lizak then went to work, turning Schnupp to own a 6-0 lead after one period.
Lizak wasn’t done turning Schnupp, he would secure another four-point near fall to make it 11-0 after a second stalling call on the freshman. They began in the neutral position in the third, and Lizak wouldn’t be denied his sixth tech fall of the season, earning a takedown and securing the tech fall with another near fall.
Mitch McKee broke through for his first win of 2018 at 133-pounds. McKee wasted no time in the first 15-seconds by elevating Corey Keener’s leg to earn the matches opening points. McKee added two points on a near fall, and held a 4-0 lead after one period.
After a quick escape, McKee would stay aggressive. He increased his lead to 7-0, and then muscled his way to a four-point near fall to take a commanding 11-0 lead after two periods. Keener wouldn’t go away easily though, he fought his way back to just a decision by the end of the third period, giving McKee the 15-8 decision.
The Gophers finished the dual with a pair of defeats. Tommy Thorn dropped a tough match at 141-pounds to Nick Lee, 13-3 and Minnesota forfeit at 149-pounds to put the final dual score at 35-8.
Minnesota will look forward to a warm welcoming when they host Senior Day on Sunday, Jan. 28 against Northwestern. The Gophers last faced the Wildcats back in 2016 when the Gophers prevailed 22-20 on the road.
No. 1 Penn State 35, No. 14 Minnesota 8
157: No. 1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) maj. dec. No. 18 Jake Short (Minnesota) 19-5
165: No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) dec. No. 7 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) 3-1
174: No. 2 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. Chris Pfarr (Minnesota) 10-3
184: No. 1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) fall Dylan Anderson (Minnesota) 5:31
197: No. 10 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State) fall Brandon Krone (Minnesota) :58
Hwt: No. 6 Nick Nevills (Penn State) dec. Rylee Streifel (Minnesota) 2-0
125: No. 6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) tech fall Devin Schnupp (Penn State) 15-0 6:23
133: No. 12 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) dec. Corey Keener (Penn State) 15-8
141: Nick Lee (Penn State) maj. dec. No. 10 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) 13-3
149: No. 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) wins by forfeit