REVISITING the 2017 NATIONALS in St. Louis

Top-10 Moments that made the NCAAs Historic 1. Penn State Power: Beginning of a Dynasty? — Even though Penn

2. Five Undefeated ³)RU WKH À UVW WLPH DOO

State dominated regular-season duals — including out-scoring Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Iowa by a 95-36 margin in road meets — there was some team-race drama about the Nittany Lions’ bid to capture a second straight WHDP WLWOH DQG VL[WK LQ VHYHQ \HDUV 3HQQ 6WDWH À QLVKHG VHFRQG DW WKH %LJ 7HQV and was without Nick Suriano, the No. 3 seed at the NCAAs at 125, at the Nationals because of an injury. Coach Cael Sanderson’s

men responded by outscoring second-place Ohio State by 36.5 points and by becoming the fourth all-time team to crown À YH FKDPSLRQV 7KH\ ZHUH OHG E\ eventual Hodge Trophy winner Zain Retherford (149) and four underclassmen: sophomores Jason Nolf (157) and Bo Nickal (184) and freshmen Vincenzo Joseph (165) and Mark Hall (174). Overall, Penn State’s eight SHUFHQW RI WKHLU


matches and scored bonus points in 60 percent of those bouts. And considering the Nittany Lions return 97 percent of its NCAA points, Penn State will be favorites to repeat at the 2018 NCAAs in Cleveland.


Penn State coach Cael Sanderson hugged Vincenzo Joseph after the freshman pinned two-time champ Isaiah Martinez for the 165-pound championship.

of the top seeds entered the NCAAs undefeat- ed, but three days later only Retherford, Nolf and a trio of defending champions — Dean Heil (141) of Oklahoma State, J’den Cox of Missouri and Kyle Snyder of Ohio State (285) — all left the Scottrade Center with spotless records. The same could not be said of a pair of two-time champs — Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez (165) and Cornell’s Gabe Dean (184) ³ ZKR À QLVKHG VHFRQG ZKLOH WKUHH RWKHU WRS VHHGV ³ 7KRPDV *LOPDQ (125) of Iowa, Nathan Tomasello (133) of Ohio State and Zahid Valencia (174) of Arizona State — settled for third place.


3. Clark Tosses Former Teammate & His Coach — Iowa’s Cory SRXQGV WKH SUHYLRXV WZR 1&$$V

came to St. Louis as the No. 4 seed and had dealt with an injured shoulder and wrist most of the year. The Hawkeye senior ignored those pains to À UVW XSVHW %LJ 7HQ FKDPS 7RPDVHOOR LQ WKH VHPLÀ QDOV EHIRUH NQRFNLQJ off South Dakota State’s Seth Gross — a former Hawkeye teammate — in the championship bout. Then at the urging of his coach Terry Brands, Clark threw his mentor to the mat in celebration.

4. Prep rivalries renewed at 125 and 141 — St. Louis is nowhere

near Cleveland and the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, but a pair of former prep rivals from those areas met in championships down the street from the Arch.

At 125 pounds, Lehigh’s Darian Cruz (from Bethlehem, Pa.) defeat-

ed Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak (Schnecksville, Pa.) for the NCAA champion- ship; just as the Lehigh junior defeated the current Gopher freshman in the 2003 Valley Elementary Wrestling league and again in 2007. The 2017 NCAA championship win also avenged an earlier-season win by Lizak. At 141 pounds,

Oklahoma State’s Heil defeated Virginia’s George DiCamillo for the championship. They faced each other many times while growing in the Cleveland area: Heil from St. Eds and DiCa- millo from St. Ignatius High School.

5. Most Watched

NCAAs — While the overall attendance (111,454) ranked third


South Dakota State’s Seth Gross was DPRQJ WKH

À QDOLVWV LQWURGXFHG WR D capacity crowd in the Scottrade Center.


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