Decade in Review: A look back at Penn State’s top wrestling athletes | Penn State Wrestling News

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As one of the most impressive decades in Penn State sports history draws to a close, the Collegian reflects on some of the greatest moments and teams the Nittany Lions have boasted of in the past decade.

Of the many great teams we’ve seen in multiple sports throughout the school’s rich history, few have been more dominant than Penn State’s wrestling program.

Cael Sanderson, a former Iowa State star, led the Nittany Lions to eight amazing national championships during his ten seasons with the team.

It’s a national title every year for the past decade, with the exception of its debut season in 2010 and 2015 – a feat no other Penn State program comes close to competing. Sanderson created a dynasty that few programs in any sport or school can match.

Sanderson has won four straight titles – the second time around, he landed four rounds in his time with the Nittany Lions.

Let’s take a look at some of the most talented athletes who have helped shape the legendary legacy of the wrestling team:

125 – Nico Megaludis

2016 NCAA Champion, four-time All-American






Nico Megaludis wrestles with Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State in the game at Bryce Jordan Center on Friday February 5, 2016. Megaludis fell to Tomasello 1-3 while Penn State defeated Ohio State 24- 14.




A key member of the Penn State wrestling team from 2011 to 2016, Megaludis was consistently a strong presence on the Nittany Lions roster for the first half of the decade. A native of Murrysville, Pa., The 125-pound wrestler has qualified for the NCAA tournament four times and has never placed lower than third in the tournament, including a two-time finalist. That earned him four All-American nods, securing his place as the biggest 125-pounder of the past decade and the last 125-pounder to win a national title for Penn State.

133 – Roman Bravo-Young

All-American






Marine Wrestling, Roman Bravo-Young

Roman Bravo-Young fights Casey Cobb in the opening of the Navy wrestling season at Rec Hall on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Penn State won 45-0.




Only a sophomore, Roman Bravo-Young may not have had as many accomplishments as some of the other wrestlers on this list or finished as high as Jimmy Guilbon or Andrew Long, two other All-Americans at 133. However , in his freshman campaign, the Tucson, Ariz. native finished eighth in the national tournament, winning All-American honors in his first season with the team, becoming the first-ever Penn State All-American to 133 years old. Going 7-0 in 2019, the youngster The Wrestler might be well on his way to making another NCAA tournament appearance this year, but he’s in one of the toughest weight classes, it will therefore be put to the test in March. Bravo-Young has displayed talent and attacking prowess during his young career, and he could very well end his time at Penn State as one of the most dominant 133-pound wrestlers in program history, and it’s his potential that gets him on this list.

141 – Nick Lee

All-American twice






Marine Wrestling, Nick Lee

Nick Lee fights Cody Trybus in the opening of the Navy wrestling season at Rec Hall on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Penn State won 45-0.




Already twice All-American as a junior, Nick Lee’s wrestling career at Penn State got off to a good start. The Indiana native placed fifth in the two years he qualified for the national tournament, struggling to take fifth place as a rookie after being pinned in his first fight while struggling for fifth place last year. He is likely to achieve an even stronger performance in 2020 with Cornell star Yianni Diakomihalis taking on an Olympic red shirt, making Lee and Dom Demas of Oklahoma two of the main contenders for the title at 141. If Lee can maintain his recent success, it will. to appear in the history books as one of the 141 most impressive books on the program.

149 – Zain Retherford

Three-time NCAA champion, three-time Big Ten champion, member of the 2019 Senior World Team, two-time Hodge Trophy winner






Zain Retherford

Zain Retherford of Penn State faces Ke-Shawn Hayes of Ohio State in a Big10 Championships game at the Breslin Student Center on the Michigan State campus on Saturday March 3.




Few of the countless talented athletes who have participated in Penn State’s illustrious wrestling program have had a more impressive career than Retherford. A cornerstone of the team from 2014 to 2018, the Pennsylvania native was a three-time national champion at 149 and is one of four three-time NCAA champions in program history. He has also been a two-time recipient of the Dan Hodge Trophy in his last two seasons, an honor bestowed annually on the country’s most outstanding wrestler – becoming one of only two Nittany Lions to ever receive the award twice. . Losing just three matches as Nittany Lion – and never losing a match after his freshman year – Retherford’s achievements are enough to put him in the conversation for one of the most dominant collegiate wrestling careers in history.

157 – Jason Nolf

Three-time national champion, four-time All-American, Penn State all-time pin leader






Michigan Wrestling, Jason Nolf

Jason Nolf wrestles with Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo in a game against Michigan at Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, February 1, 2019. Penn State won the game 25-11.




Another distinguished Nittany Lion wrestler is Jason Nolf, who topped the 157-pound weight class from 2016 to 2019. Nolf was often known for his flashy, unique and sometimes seemingly impossible moves, as well as for its pure domination. Like his former teammate Retherford, Nolf is a three-time national champion and is also a four-time All-American become. He also holds the program’s record for most career pins, which is the icing on the cake of a career as dominant as almost any wrestler in recent history as well as a career bonus rate of 88. %.

165 – David Taylor

Double national champion, double winner of the Hodge trophy, 2018 world champion at 86 kg




David Taylor wins the match

Penn State No.1 David Taylor (165) pinned Clarion’s Michael Pavask in his final game as Lion Nittany at Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon.




Alongside Retherford, one of the most decorated wrestlers of the past decade is 165-pound David Taylor. These two are the only Nittany Lions in history to win two Dan Hodge trophies, and Taylor also has two national championships to his name. His incredible career spanning 2011-2014 was rivaled by very few, and Taylor remains one of the most talented and accomplished wrestlers not only of the past decade, but in collegiate wrestling history. Taylor also turned his college career into a successful freestyle career until he won the 2018 World Championship at 86 kg.

174 – Mark Hall

2017 NCAA Champion, triple All-American






Marine Wrestling, Mark Hall

Mark Hall celebrates his victory over Spencer Carey of the Navy in the opening of the Navy wrestling season at Rec Hall on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Penn State won 45-0.




Hall became one of only two Penn State wrestlers to win an NCAA title as a rookie when he did so after removing his red shirt in 2017. Since then, Hall has always been a threat to the title at 174, finishing second at 174 each. the last two seasons. While Hall has failed the past two years, with Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia at 184 this season, Hall is well positioned to become the first multiple-time Penn State champion at 174 pounds.

184 – Ed Ruth

Three-time NCAA champion, four-time All-American, four-time Big Ten champion






Ed Ruth watches the crowd

Penn State’s No.2-ranked Ed Ruth watches the crowd ahead of his final game as Nittany Lion on Sunday afternoon. Ruth pinned Dustin Conti of Clarion.




Ed Ruth is Penn State’s best wrestler of the decade. A key member of the program from 2011 to 2014, Ruth was a three-time national champion and a dominant force in her weight class for the majority of her career, with two of her three NCAA titles at 184 pounds. He’s also managed to stay undefeated against opponents from the Big Ten during his four seasons with the team, an impressive feat few have been able to match. Ruth’s praise cements her legacy as one of the strongest 184-pounders the Nittany Lions have seen in the past decade.

197 – Bo Nickal

Three-time national champion, three-time Big Ten champion, Hodge Trophy winner






2019 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships Finals

Bo Nickal (197 lbs) holds the NCAA National Champion Team Trophy at the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships, at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday, March 23.




One of the most iconic figures in recent Penn State wrestling history, Bo Nickal is by far the best wrestler in the 197-pound category. Although he also struggled at 174 and 184 points early in his career, much of his success came at 197. Nickal is a three-time national champion and has placed second in the national tournament the only time he has ever been. he didn’t win it. Additionally, the Allen, Texas native won the Dan Hodge Trophy in his senior year, jailing him as the nation’s top wrestler at 197 pounds. These accolades speak volumes about Nickal’s talent, and his career with the Nittany Lions remains one of the most decorated and distinguished in the history of the school.

285 – Anthony Cassar

2019 NCAA Champion, 2019 Big Ten Champion






2019 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships

Anthony Cassar (285 lbs.) Wins over Trent Hillger of the University of Wisconsin at the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena on Friday March 22.




Currently a senior at Penn State, Anthony Cassar has had as impressive a career as any heavyweight for the Nittany Lions over the past decade. National champion, Cassar finished on the podium last season, in his first full season as a starter. He also beat All-American doubles Nick Nevills for the position and Cassar is 49-3 overall and 3-0 in 2019. He will be looking to make an impact at the NCAA tournament at the end of this season in order to build on his legacy as the best 285-pound wrestler Penn State has produced in the past ten years.

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