Archive for April, 2017

Bo Nickal Wins AWN Hammer Award

| April 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

(From PSU SID)

Penn State Nittany Lion sophomore Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas) has been named the winner of The Hammer Award, presented annually by Amateur Wrestling News.  The honor was announced in AWN’s latest print publication and will be presented to Nickal at Penn State’s season-ending awards banquet Sunday afternoon.

The Award is presented annually to the wrestler who wins the national title in what AWN’s collection of writers feel is the most competitive weight class at the NCAA Championships.

Nickal won the 184-pound title to cap off Penn State’s perfect five-for-five run in the national finals on March 18 in St. Louis.  Nickal rolled to a 4-3 win over No. 1 seed and two-time defending NCAA Champion Gabe Dean of Cornell in the final match of the 2017 NCAA Championships.  His impressive victory capped off a 5-0 run in St. Louis that included a first round tech fall and then three straight pins over ranked opponents.

Nickal downed Northwestern’s Mitch Sliga with a 15-0 tech at the 3:20 mark in round one, pinned No. 15 Steven Schneider of Binghamton at the 5:33 mark, pinned No. 7 TJ Dudley of Nebraska in the quarterfinals at the 4:33) mark, notched yet another first period pin over No. 3 Sammy Brooks of Iowa (this one at the 1:01 mark) in the semifinals, and then downed Dean in the finals.  AWN also made note that the 184-pound weight class had two defending NCAA Champions and eight returning All-Americans in it.

Nickal, a two-time All-American, was also named the 2017 NCAA Championship Gorriaran Award for the most falls in the least amount of time at the tournament.  Nickal closed out his sophomore season with a 26-1 mark, including 17 pins, a tech and three majors.  Nickal’s haul of season honors now includes The Hammer, Gorriaran and two Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors.

Penn State won its sixth NCAA national championship in the last seven years in St. Louis earlier this month and Retherford played a huge role in that victory.  The Nittany Lion junior was one of five Penn State individuals to win NCAA titles during the Championship Finals on Saturday night, March 18.  Penn State also won the 2017 Big Ten Regular season crown and the NWCA Dual Championship Series title, going 14-0 overall with a 9-0 mark in conference action.  Penn State returns nine of starters, eight of nine NCAA qualifiers and all six of its 2017 All-Americans for next the 2017-18 season.

Penn State Sweeps InterMat Awards

| April 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

(From PSU SID)

The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team swept InterMat’s season-ending awards for the 2017 campaign.  True freshman Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) was named InterMat Freshman of the Year, junior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) was named InterMat Wrestler of the Year and Cael Sanderson was named InterMat Coach of the Year.

For Retherford and Sanderson, the honors are repeats.  For Hall, the honor is his first collegiate one as the Lion just out-distanced teammate Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who was runner-up for this year’s freshman award.

Hall, the 2017 NCAA National Champion at 174 pounds, became one of Penn State’s first-ever freshman national champions (along with Joseph) with a 5-2 win over Ohio State’s Bo Jordan.  Hall’s win was the fourth of Penn State’s five straight individual title wins at the 2017 NCAA Championships in St. Louis on March 18.  Hall closed out his first NCAA tourney run with a 5-0 mark, including a technical fall and a major.  He ended his freshman season leading Penn State in wins with a 31-3 mark, including 12 pins, three techs and six majors. Hall was the third true freshman finalist in Penn State history, joining Cary Kolat (1993) and Nico Megaludis (2012).

Hall was first in the voting, Joseph second and true freshman Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J.) was seventh.  Hall is the third Nittany Lion to be honored as InterMat Freshman of the Year since the organization began its awards in 2006.  Current teammate Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) was the winner last year and all-time Lion great David Taylor won in 2011.

Retherford has been named InterMat Wrestler of the Year for the second consecutive season, having won the honor last year.  Already the Hodge Trophy winner as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler, Retherford won his second straight NCAA title at 149 (and became a three-time All-American) with a dazzling 18-2 technical fall over Missouri’s Lavion Mayes in Penn State’s first of five NCAA title wins in St. Louis on March 18.  Retherford, Penn State’s 26th three-time All-American and the seventh two-time NCAA Champion in school history.  The Lion went 5-0 with four technical falls and a pin at the tournament and ended the season with a 28-0 mark including 17 pins, seven techs and a major.  Retherford was named the 2017 NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler for his effort and was also honored for his season long dominance as the 2017 NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler.

Retherford won the honor over teammate Nolf, who was Runner-Up.  Fellow national champion Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas) was fifth and red-shirt freshman Joseph was seventh.  Retherford’s 2017 honor is the fourth for Penn State since 2006.  Retherford has won twice (2017, 2016), Taylor won in 2014 and all-time Penn State great Ed Ruth won in 2012.

Sanderson ran away with InterMat Coach of the Year honors, completing the Penn State sweep of awards for InterMat.  The Lion mentor repeated the honor, having won last season as well.  This marks the fourth time Sanderson has been honored by InterMat since 2006, three times as Penn State head coach (2017, 2016, and 2012) and once as Iowa State’s head coach (2007).

Penn State won its sixth NCAA national championship in the last seven years in St. Louis earlier this month and Retherford played a huge role in that victory.  The Nittany Lion junior was one of five Penn State individuals to win NCAA titles during the Championship Finals on Saturday night, March 18.  Penn State also won the 2017 Big Ten Regular season crown and the NWCA Dual Championship Series title, going 14-0 overall with a 9-0 mark in conference action.  Penn State returns nine of starters, eight of nine NCAA qualifiers and all six of its 2017 All-Americans for next the 2017-18 season.

 

Trent Hidlay Wins Flo Nationals Championship

| April 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Trent Hidlay with his championship belt after winning Flo Nationals at 160 pounds on Sunday. Photo by Mark Hidlay.

Trent Hidlay picked up right where he left off after winning a PIAA state championship last month, going 6-0 to capture the 160-pound Flo Nationals championship on Sunday.

The title, a first for Hidlay after finishing second last year, kicked off the spring and summer wrestling season for the Husky junior. Also participating for Mifflin County but failing to place were Christian Fisher (106), Noah Myers (126) and Trey Kibe (132), an eighth grader wrestling up at the varsity level.

“Anytime you win a big tournament like Flo Nationals it is awesome. What made it even better was the fact that I lost in the finals at that tournament last season, and was able to get it done on the big stage this time around. Last season I took a lot of close losses and had my share deal of setbacks, but I wasn’t going to let that define me. I used those setbacks to become an even better competitor and student of the sport,” Hidlay said. “Each day I made it my mission to get better in every aspect of wrestling whether it was getting mentally tougher or correcting my mistakes in competition.

“It’s truly a testament to my parents for raising me the right way. I was taught that if you want something, then you are going to put your all into it, and if you fail, then work harder to achieve your goals. The thing about wrestling is that it doesn’t feel sorry for you, and that’s why I love it.”

Hidlay reached the finals with a 21-4 technical fall over Connor Thomas, a 19-7 major decision over Samuel Fisher, a 19-4 tech fall over Adam Frisco, and a 12-2 major over David Cox in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Hidlay defeated Dale Tiongson, a national prep champ from Maryland, by an 8-2 decision. Hidlay defeated Tiongson in the finals of the Powerade Tournament back in December.

In the finals, Hidlay jumped out to an early lead on Hayden Hastings and held off the Wyoming recruit for the 5-4 win and the Flo National belt.

Hidlay started the scoring with a takedown. Hastings escaped and the Mifflin County junior recorded another takedown to make it 4-1 after one period. In the second, Hastings turned Hidlay for two nearfall points and a Hidlay escape made it 5-3 heading into the third. Hastings escaped to cut it to 5-4, and the match ended on their feet with Hidlay gaining the victory.

This tournament was so fun to be a part of and I was just glad that I could finally get the job done on the big stage. That’s when I feel alive, when I’m on the mat. Just me and the other guy competing for the same thing,” Hidlay said. “I have a quote in my room that I look at every morning from a former Oklahoma state wrestler that says “You owe it to yourself to chase the dream you spend all night thinking about”. That’s where I get my driving force, to achieve the impossible and do it the hard way.”

Fisher, an eighth-place finisher at states, went 2-2 by defeating Cian Fisher 11-2 and Hunter Gandy 8-3, before falling in the third round to 2017 PIAA champion Doug Zapf by an 8-1 score. Fisher lost to A.J. Burkhart 15-0 in the consolations and was eliminated.

Kibe, fresh off a PJW junior high state championship, beat Alex Rivera 14-2 in the first round and lost to James Whittaker 4-2 in the second round. Kibe stayed alive by shutting out Lucas Yonkin 4-0 and stopping Logan Kissell 7-2. In the fourth round of consolations, Zach Van Alst pinned Kibe in 4:27 ending his tournament.

Myers opened with a bye and then fell to Sam Stuhl 8-2. Myers, a three-time state qualifier headed to Pitt-Johnstown, beat Jeffrey Boyd 6-4 in a consolation match before being eliminated in a 6-2 loss to Cody Bond.

Next up for Hidlay is the UWW Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 28-29.

 

Consolation Fourth Round

106: A.J. Burkhart technical fall Christian Fisher, 15-0 (2:47). (Fisher eliminated)
132: Zach Van Alst pinned Trey Kibe, 4:27. (Kibe eliminated)

Quarterfinals

160: Trent Hidlay major dec. David Cox, 12-2.

Semifinals

160: Trent Hidlay dec. Dale Tiongson, 8-2.

Finals

160: Trent Hidlay dec. Hayden Hastings, 5-4.