Penn State

Lions perfect in finals, crown five individual NCAA champs


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Penn State's Vincenzo Joseph reacts to upsetting Isaiah Martinez --AP

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State wrestling more than left a mark in St. Louis' Scottrade Center.

The Nittany Lions clinched the NCAA team title Saturday afternoon, their sixth in seven years, but their dominance was ultimately highlighted by the five wrestlers Penn State put through to Saturday night's finals all being crowned individual champions in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,000-plus.

The Lions were the fourth team in history to have five individual champions.

"It was incredible," Cael Sanderson told ESPN during the trophy presentation. "I don't even have the words to describe it. It was unbelievable. I'm so happy for these guys. They wrestled amazing, and they did it."

And for Penn State's finalists -- a group that included new champions like Jason Nolf, Bo Nickal, freshman Mark Hall and Vincenzo Joseph, the latter who pulled the upset of the tournament as the No. 3 seed pinned two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez -- there was a lot of fun to be had.

"I had a lot of fun holding my hands up," Nolf told ESPN following his victory which secured his first ever NCAA title.

For a team that's made winning at times look easy with the legendary wrestler Sanderson turning this program into a national power, Saturday night's display proved that Penn State yet again is set to run the table for years to come and there's no telling how many individual and team titles these Lions will win under Sanderson's leadership. Zain Retherford, who took home his second consecutive title Saturday night and in the process was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler and Most Dominant Wrestler, and the rest of the Lions' NCAA winners all return next season.

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