UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Penn State wrestling and the Nittany Lion wrestling club were well represented at the 2017 U.S. Open and UWW Junior Freestyle Championships, held simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nev., this weekend.
True freshman national champion Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) claimed the UWW Junior Freestyle title at 74 kg and Lion great David Taylor won the U.S. Open crown at 86 kg as Penn State and the NLWC fared well at the event.
Hall was one of five Lions competing in UWW Juniors while three fellow national champions competed in the senior level U.S. Open. Hall went 5-0 to win the title at 74 kg. Junior Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.), two-time NCAA champ, took third at 75 kg with a 4-1 record while sophomore champions Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) and Bo Nickal (Allen, Texas) each went 3-2 and took fourth at their respective weights. Nolf competed at 70 kg, Nickal at 86 kg.
Other current Nittany Lions who competed in the UWW Junior event were true freshmen Devon Schnupp (Lititz, Pa.), 2-2 at 55 kg; Mason Lindenmuth (Brockway, Pa.), 3-2 at 60 kg; Brian Friery (Lewisburg, Pa.), who wrestled at 63 kg; and Bo Pipher (Paonia, Colo.), who picked up one win at 66 kg.
Taylor led the charge for the NLWC’s resident athletes, rolling to his title at 86 kg. 2016 Olympic fourth-place finisher Frank Molinaro went 2-1 and was runner-up at 65 kg; Nico Megaludis went 2-2 at 57 kg and Jordan Conaway went 1-2 at 61 kg.
Penn State won its sixth NCAA national championship in the last seven years in St. Louis in March. 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 its starters, eight of nine NCAA qualifiers and all six of its 2017 All-Americans for next the 2017-18 season (including five NCAA Champions).