Penn State put five in the finals to have the team score wrapped up before it was just one mat on the floor Saturday night, but Cael's crusaders were not done with the impressing.
The finals started with the Olympic medalists taking care of business. Darian Cruz impressed on his feet and Clark rode Gross out in the third to cap off his career with the title. After that, the three #1 seeds took care of their challenges.
The night had a formulaic feel heading into the 165 lb match with IMar going for his 3rd title over the freshman he beat twice this season. In the 2nd period, IMar was in a great spot to finish a high c with a bear hug, but Joseph drove him back with overs and a trip. Somehow in the scramble he was able to keep his left hand in there and when they stopped moving it was all over. I still don't know how he kept his left hook in when IMar bucked, but it happened dashing his chances to join the pantheon of 4-time NCAA champions.
I would like to tell you the Cael magic was done, but it was still revving. Bo Jordan looked to finish on Mark Hall and it ended up with Hall on his butt with Jordan up high, but Hall was stopped and reaching backwards with his left hand. Hall then hipped in to Jordan and got both legs for a takedown. Ohio State challenged but didn't get it. Who knows what would have happened in the rest of the match, but that call certainly changed it. Mark Hall gets an NCAA title as a true freshman, as the stud continues to rise up to every occasion.
The main event saw Gabe Dean strike first on a great outside single. It was clear that Bo Nickal was keeping his head up not wanting the snap shots that Dean has punished so many for. A weird scramble in the 2nd saw Nickal step over the far leg, but it wasn't called a takedown as Dean's head was straight up and still turning in for the takedown. Cael challenged and got the overturn for the takedown. Nickal would win the hand fights and get the rideout of the last 30 seconds of the 2nd. The third would go by quickly as Nickal was able to tie him up off his shots and slay the dragon.
It was such a wild night and now the wrestling community will debate the Hodge and have trouble fathoming that Penn State returns the five NCAA champs.....and other studs. Cael Sanderson owns another night and Penn State makes us feel silly for ever doubting them.
2017 NCAA DIVISION I WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 16-18 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
1. Penn State 146.5
2. Ohio State 110
3. Oklahoma State 103
4. Iowa 97
5. Missouri 86.5
6. Virginia Tech 63.5
7. Minnesota 62.5
8. Cornell 60.5
9. Nebraska 59.5
10. Michigan 47.5
125 lbs. – No. 4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. No. 6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota), 6-3
133 lbs. – No. 4 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. No. 2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State), 4-3
141 lbs. – No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 6 George DiCamillo (Virginia), 6-3
149 lbs. – No. 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) tech. fall No. 3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri), 18-2
157 lbs. – No. 1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) maj. dec. No. 3 Joey LaVallee (Missouri), 14-6
165 lbs. – No. 3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) fall No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois), 5:25
174 lbs. – No. 5 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. No. 3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), 5-2
184 lbs. – No. 2 Bo Nickal (Penn State) dec. No. 1 Gabe Dean (Cornell), 4-3
197 lbs. – No. 1 J’den Cox (Missouri) dec. No. 2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota), 8-2
285 lbs. – No. 1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) dec. No. 2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 6-3