Penn State senior Zain Retherford nearly swept the individual accolades at the wrestling team’s annual awards banquet Sunday, as the Nittany Lions honored their latest national championship winning squad.
Helping lead PSU to its seventh NCAA title in eight years, Retherford is fresh off a senior campaign in which he won his third national crown at 149 pounds. His 94-match win streaks ends as the longest in school history, and at Sunday’s banquet he captured most of the individual recognition. Of the four plaques awarded by the coaching staff, based off statistics and results, Retherford claimed three of them.
With 17 pins on the year, Retherford won the Bill Koll Award for leading the team in the falls category. He earned the Joe Scalzo Award for scoring the most team points (176.5) and won the award for Most Bonus Points Scored by tallying a total of 58.5 throughout the 2017-18 season. He finished his senior year with a 31-0 record, which gives him a 126-3 career mark. In addition to his dominance on the mat, Retherford is also a scholar in the classroom. For that he was honored as well. Sporting a grade-point average of 3.73, the finance major won the Fifth Year Academic Award.
Additionally, Austin Clabaugh (125/133) won the Academic Award for freshmen with a 4.00 GPA. Brian Freiry (141/149) won it among sophomores with a 3.98 GPA, Dominic Giannangeli (133) won it for juniors with a 3.81 and Devon Van Cura (184) won it for the senior class with a 3.99 GPA. Academic Awards are considered in accordance to listed academic standing, not eligibility.
While it was Retherford who captured three quarters of the on-mat awards, true freshman All-American Nick Lee (141) took home the fourth, which goes to the wrestler who scored the most takedowns on the year. With a total of 135, Lee was named the winner of the Charles Spiedel Award after a fifth-place finish in his first national tournament.
Lee and Retherford additionally were singled out for their All-America finishes. Also honored as All-Americans were: Jason Nolf (1st - 157); Vincenzo Joseph (1st - 165); Mark Hall (2nd - 174); Bo Nickal (1st - 184); Shakur Rasheed (7th - 197); and Nick Nevills (7th - 285.)
Senior Matt McCutcheon earned the Community Service Award. McCutcheon went 5-3 on the year before injury cut his season short. He finishes as a three-time NCAA qualifier and with a 67-31 career record.
Manager Shannon Daugherty of Titusville, Pa., won the Carl Winterburn Award recognizing the team’s manager of the year.