2018 NCAA OUTLOOK
The 88th annual NCAA Championships appears to be a tight race between reigning NCAA team champion Penn State and returning Big Ten team winner Ohio State. The Nittany Lions boast five defending champions: Zain Rutherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and perennial pinner Bo Nickal (24-0) at 184. The Buckeyes and head coach Tommy Ryan (Wantagh HS) look to former NCAA titlists Nathan Tomasello (125) and Myles Martin (184), along with Olympic and NCAA champion, unbeaten Kyle Snyder (20-0) at 285. Other top-tier teams are Oklahoma State, Iowa and Missouri, that elite trio all have enough firepower to challenge for the team title. Also returning are two-time NCAA champions Dean Heil (141) of Oklahoma State and Isaiah Martinez (165) of Illinois, both will seek their third titles in their senior campaigns.
The Empire State should have an impact on the 2018 edition in Cleveland, Ohio, and point to returning All-American sophomore Nick Piccininni (14-3) of Oklahoma State who finished 4th at 125 pounds, along with Bryan Lantry (10-4) at 133 of Buffalo. Cornell's true freshman Yianni Diakomihalis (21-1) is currently ranked 4th at 141 pounds and has defeated three AAs this season. Other possible All-Americans are Mike D'Angelo (Princeton), a junior ranked 14th at 157, senior Steven Schneider (10-4) of Binghamton who is currently rated 12th at 184 and junior Shakur Rasheed (14-2) of Penn State. Rasheed posted three falls via the cross-face cradle en route to the 197-pound crown at the Southern Scuffle and was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler award. Also in the mix are a pair of 285-pounders: 6th ranked junior Yousiff Hemida (21-1) of Maryland and Southern scuffle placer Michael Hughes (24-2, 100-43 career) of Hofstra who is currently rated 7th in the nation, both are potential All-American prospects.
PENN STATE 19 OHIO STATE 18
125- Nathan Tomasello (Ohio St) maj.dec. Carson Kuhn 21-12
133- Luke Pletcher (Ohio St) dec. Corey Keener 5-4
141- Joey McKenna (Ohio St) dec. Nick Lee 7-6
149- Zain Rutherford (Penn St) tech fall Ke-Shawn Hayes 19-4
157- Micah Jordan (Ohio St) tech fall Bo Phifer 24-9
165- Vincenzo Joseph (Penn St) maj.dec. Te-Shan Campbell 12-3
174- Mark Hall (Penn St) dec. Bo Jordan 6-4
184- Bo Nickal (Penn St) maj.dec. Myles Martin 10-2
197- Kollin Anthony Cassar (Penn St) dec. Kollin Moore 7-3
285- Kyle Snyder (Ohio St) dec. Nick Nevillis 15-10
Top-ranked Penn State (12-0) edged #2-Ohio State (12-1),19-18, before a sellout crowd of 6,699 fans at Rec Hall on the campus at Penn State University. Coach Cael Sanderson, now in his 9th year, had the Nittany Lions poised for the challenge and have won 43 straight dual meets. Penn State's four reigning NCAA champions Zain Rutherford (21-0, 116 career wins), Vincenzo Joseph (16-0), Mark Hall (22-0) and Bo Nickal (21-0) all remained unbeaten and were instrumental in the dual victory. The other defending champion Jason Nolf (157) is sidelined with an injury and expected back for the Big Ten Championships. A pivotal bout in the dual saw Penn State sophomore Anthony Cassar upend #1- Kollin Moore (18-1), 7-3, in the 197-pound bout. The Buckeyes were led by former NCAA titlist Nathan Tomasello (89-7 career) who rallied for an exciting 21-12 major decision at 125, Micah Jordan (20-3) at 157 and World, Olympic and NCAA champion Kyle Snyder (65-4 career) at 285 pounds. Ohio State head coach Tommy Ryan (Wantagh HS), now in his 12th season, boasts an impressive 160-50 dual meet record. Both of these elite squads will battle for the upcoming Big Ten and NCAA Championships in March...