Three Penn State wrestlers seeded first for NCAA tournament
Three Penn State wrestlers will go into the upcoming NCAA championships at PPG Paints Arena as the top seeds in their weight classes.
The NCAA released the tournament pairings Wednesday, with three-time defending national champion Penn State garnering seven top-three seeds.
Nittany Lions senior Jason Nolf, a Kittanning graduate and two-time national champion, was seeded first at 157 pounds, as were junior 174-pounder Mark Hall, a 2017 champion, and senior 197-pounder Bo Nickal, a two-time champion.
Junior 165-pounder Vincenzo Joseph, a Central Catholic graduate and two-time NCAA champion, senior 184-pounder Shakur Rasheed and senior heavyweight Anthony Cassar got No. 2 seeds for Penn State.
Pitt redshirt freshman Micky Phillippi received the best seed of the Panthers’ five qualifiers, getting slotted as No. 4 at 133 pounds. The top seed in that bracket is Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, whom Phillippi beat in a dual match earlier this season.
The difficult 133-pound bracket also includes Michigan’s Stevan Micic at No. 2, Rutgers’ Nick Suriano at No. 3 and Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher, a Latrobe graduate, at No. 5.
Iowa sophomore Spencer Lee, a Franklin Regional graduate and defending 125-pound NCAA champion, received the No. 3 seed in that bracket for the upcoming tournament, behind Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera and Oklahoma State’s Nicholas Piccininni. Rivera beat Lee in overtime at the Big Ten tournament.
Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis, the defending champion at 141 pounds, earned the top seed in that weight class. Returning 174-pound champion Zahid Valencia of Arizona State received the No. 3 seed behind Penn State’s Hall and Missouri’s Daniel Lewis.
Remaining top seeds went to Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault at 149 pounds, Iowa’s Alex Marinelli at 165, Ohio State’s Myles Martin at 184 and Oklahoma State’s Derek White at heavyweight.
Two more WPIAL alumni to receive top-three seeds included Arizona State’s Josh Shields (Franklin Regional), seeded third at 165 pounds behind Marinelli and Penn State’s Joseph, and Virginia Tech’s Zack Zavatsky (Latrobe), seeded third at 197 pounds.
The NCAA tournament’s first matches begin at noon March 21 at PPG Paints Arena, with the finals at 7 p.m. March 23.