Penn State wrestler Mark Hall wins U.S. Open Junior championship; David Taylor earns Senior division crown
Penn State freshman Mark Hall won six matches by technical fall, outscoring his foes at 74kg (163 pounds) by a 60-0 count to win a U.S. Open Junior Freestyle wrestling championship in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The reigning NCAA champion won the Outstanding Wrestler award for his effort, and that mirrored an outstanding effort in the Senior Division by the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club’s David Taylor. The former Nittany Lion two-time NCAA champion breezed through the 86kg (189 pounds) division and earned that division’s OW award.
Hall and Taylor were the only two Nittany Lion Wrestling Club members to register titles. Penn State’s Zain Retherford placed third at 65kg (143 pounds) with a 4-3 victory over Jimmy Kennedy after a controversial 5-3 semifinals loss to eventual champion Jordan Oliver, formerly of Easton.
Oliver won the finals by criteria (4-4) over Olympian Frank Molinaro, who is still representing the NLWC despite moving to Blacksburg, Virginia, to be an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.
NCAA champion Jason Nolf placed fourth at 70kg after losing 9-8 to eventual champ James Green in the semis and 12-6 to Steven Pami of Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club in the third-place final. And NCAA champ Bo Nickal also placed fourth with 11-8 and 10-6 losses to Richard Perry and Nick Heflin, respectively.
Perry took a 10-0 tumble to Taylor in Saturday night’s finals. Olympian and three-time NCAA champ J’den Cox of Missouri earned a bye to the upcoming World Team Trials and did not have to compete in Vegas at 86kg. The same goes for reigning Olympic champ and two-time Ohio State NCAA champ Kyle Snyder at 97kg.
In other notable matches, former Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs won by criteria (2-2) over Kyle Dake in the marquee bout of the night.
Four-time PIAA champ Chance Marsteller (Kennard-Dale), whose career started at Oklahoma State and will continue at Lock Haven next season after a series of legal problems, placed seventh at 74kg.
He defeated former Penn State wrestler Dan Vallimont 8-1. Marsteller lost his first-round match 5-0 to three-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State); Dieringer placed fourth after losing 4-1 to NCAA runner-up Anthony Valencia.
NLWC member Nico Megaludis did not place at 57kg; he defeated David Terao, the former American wrestler who Megaludis defeated in the 2016 NCAA semifinals, but lost to Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) and withdrew.
Joey Goodhart (Hempfield and Drexel) lost a pair of bouts at 125kg, and Pete Renda (Brandywine Heights and North Carolina State) did not place at 86kg, a weight class in which two-time NCAA champ Gabe Dean of Cornell placed seventh.
On the Juniors side, Penn State’s Hall needed just 1:53 to complete his sixth tech fall, this one over heralded Iowa recruit Alex Marinelli. One of Hall’s victories came over PIAA champ Trent Hidlay of Mifflin County High School.
Incoming Nittany Lion recruit Nick Lee placed fifth at 63kg. His brother, Joe Lee, a Class of 2018 Penn State recruit, was runner-up at 60kg and earlier posted an impressive 14-5 decision over Ohio’s David Carr, one of the country’s top recruits. Joe Lee lost 9-0 to Griffin Parriott of Indiana in the finals.
Penn State’s Bo Pipher went 1-2 at 66kg.
Iowa’s Kaleb Young, a PIAA champ from Punxsutawney, was second at 79kg, losing 6-5 to Jacob Cavaciu of Wisconsin.
Penn State’s Devin Schnupp (55kg) of Warwick lost his opener and won two bouts before being eliminated. Mason Lindenmuth (60kg) of Brockway split two championship bouts and two consi matches and did not place.
Penn State 2018 recruit Gavin Teasdale of Jefferson-Morgan was supposed to compete at 60kg but did not enter.
Incoming recruit Mason Manville earned a Senior Greco-Roman title at 75kg.