Penn State clinches NCAA title with finals still to wrestle
NEW YORK (AP) Penn State clinched its fifth NCAA wrestling championship in six years on Saturday with 114 points and the finals still to go.
The No. 1 Nittany Lions seized the team lead after Thursday's second round, then added to it with strong quarterfinal and semifinal showings Friday. Penn State wrestlers went 5-0 in the semis and will try to be just the third team in history to field five individual champions in Saturday night's finals.
Jordan Conaway (133 pounds) was the only Nittany Lion in action in Saturday morning's consolation matches and went 0-2 to finish sixth. While he didn't do enough on his own to help Penn State clinch, the only teams within striking distance weren't able to maximize their points in consolation bouts to keep them in the race.
No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Oklahoma State, the only teams within striking distance after Penn State romped to a 34.5-point lead on Friday, combined to go 4-6 in consolation matches to seal Penn State's team win.
THE MAIN EVENT
Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer and North Carolina State's Nick Gwiazdowski will try to join 24 others as three-time NCAA champions. Dieringer will face Wisconsin's Isaac Jordan and Gwiazdowski will battle Ohio State's Kyle Snyder in the final bout of the night.
FIVE FOR FIVE
Meanwhile, Penn State will try to join the 1986 and 1997 Iowa squads and 2005 Oklahoma State as the fourth team with five national champions.
Nico Megaludis will face Iowa's Thomas Gilman at 125 pounds, Zain Retherford will battle Iowa's Brandon Sorensen at 149, Jason Nolf will face defending champion Isaiah Martinez of Illinois at 157, Bo Nickal has Ohio State's Myles Martin at 174 and Morgan McIntosh will wrestle J'Den Cox of Missouri at 197.
OTHER FINALS SET
The 133-pound final will pit Cornell's Nahshon Garrett against Iowa's Cory Clark, Oklahoma State's Dean Heil will face unseeded Bryce Meredith from Wyoming in the 141-pound finals and Cornell's Gabe Dean will battle Nebraska's Timothy Dudley at 184.