Retherford upsets No. 1 Stieber as Lions roll

From staff reports

STATE COLLEGE – Penn State true freshman Zain Retherford sent an explosion of excitement through a sold out Rec Hall crowd on Sunday when he defeated two-time NCAA?champion Logan Stieber in overtime as the No. 1 Nittany Lions beat No. 6 Ohio State, 31-6.

Retherford, a Benton graduate, improved to 11-0 this season with his win over top-ranked Stieber. Stieber hadn’t lost since falling to former Oklahoma State national champion Jordan Oliver in February of 2012.

“I usually don’t celebrate too much after a match,” Retherford said. “The crowd definitely got me pretty fired up after that match and I kind of lost my head for a second, but right after the match, it was electric in there. It was exciting. I did exactly what I always do after a match. I went down to the room, cooled down, got my conditioning in, came back up and it felt like normal.”

Stieber led 2-1 after one period, but that is when Retherford exhibited his strength by pounding the Buckeye for the entire two minutes of the middle period with a tough ride.

“I’m pretty confident with legs. I always ride legs,” said Retherford, who was a two-time PIAA?champion and a junior world champion in 2012. “That’s what I’m known for on top. I don’t throw them in unless I feel pretty confident that I can ride. The crowd helped a lot today and it worked out for the best.”

The two wrestlers went through a scoreless third period, and with time advantage, Retherford received the tying point, sending the bout into overtime.

In the extra period, Retherford got in on a low single, moved his hips into good position, and eventually trapped both legs for a takedown to send the Rec Hall crowd and coach Cael Sanderson into a frenzy.

“He just did a great job of staying calm and just kept wrestling through all the positions,” said Sanderson. “He was relaxed and ready to go, and that’s exciting to see that because that’s what the great wrestlers have. They’re calm and relaxed by being ready and they are confident and not worried about who they’re wrestling. They are going to do the best they can and plan on winning and that’s what Zain did.”

Nico Megaludis got the Lion’s ball rolling at a fast pace at 125 pounds when he used six takedowns to record a 21-4 technical fall over former North Star standout Nick Roberts.

Ohio State picked up its first of only two wins at 133 when Johnni DiJulius used a time advantage point to edge Jimmy Gulibon, 3-2.

After two bouts, the Lions led by a 5-3 spread, and in the next two bouts, two upsets sent the Lions on a six-bout win streak that netted them 22 team points for a commanding 27-3 lead, and they never looked back.

With Retherford’s huge upset in the books, it was Zack Beitz’s turn, and the former Juniata high standout was up to the task as he threw a little gas on the fire by defeating Buckeye veteran Ian Paddock by a 5-3 final.

After a scoreless first period, Paddock escaped and Beitz went up 2-1 with a takedown. The two wrestlers traded reversals as a result of a flurry for a 4-3 Beitz lead heading home.

Starting the final period from the defensive position, Beitz was able to escape and the two wrestlers ended the bout on their feet for the 5-3 Beitz win.

As for watching Retherford upset the top-ranked wrestler, Beitz said it pumped him up a little bit.

“Yeah, it did because it’s always good seeing your teammates win, especially getting a big win,” Beitz said. “It was definitely exciting to see a teammate take down a number one ranked guy. It was encouraging to go out there knowing that it happened. It made it a lot of fun.”

125 – Nick Megaludis, PS, tech. fall over Nick Roberts, 21-4, (6:54) (5-0). 133 – Johnni DiJulius, OS, dec. Jimmy Gulibon, 3-2, (5-3). 141 – Zain Retherford, PS, dec. Logan Stieber, 4-2. (8-3). 149 – Zack Beitz, PS, dec. Ian Paddock, 5-3. (11-3). 157 – James Vollrath, PS, dec. Randy Langius, 11-5. (14-3). 165 – David Taylor, PS, tech. fall over Joe Grandominico, 20-5, 7:00. (19-3). 174 – Matt Brown, PS, maj. Dec. Mark Martin, 16-4. (23-3). 184 – Ed Ruth, PS, maj. Dec. Kenny Courts, 14-3. (27-3). 197 – Nick Heflin, OS, dec. Wes Phipps, 3-1. (27-6). 285 – Jimmy Lawson, PS, maj. Dec. Nick Tavanello, 15-4. (31-6)