Another incredible season is now finished. For the sixth time in the last seven years, Penn State reigned supreme at the NCAA Championships behind a history-making performance that placed five Nittany Lions at the top of the podium on Saturday in St. Louis.
And the Lion that stood out above the rest was Bo Nickal, who going into the finals had not had a full match in the entire tournament. Nickal recorded a technical fall followed by three straight pins in the round of 16, quarterfinals, and semifinals, respectively. Just one of his pre-final bouts made it to the third period, and that was for just 34 seconds before he pinned Binghampton's Steven Schneider in 5:34.
But despite all of Nickal's early-round dominance, it was his incredible come-from-behind victory over returning two-time champion and No. 1-ranked Gabe Dean of Cornell that clinched the 184-pound NCAA national title and capped off PSU's perfect 5-0 run in the finals.
Bo Nickal's great performance to finish off Penn State's historic showing makes him our FloWrestler of the Week presented by Cliff Keen.
Bo's results:Finals: Bo Nickal (Penn St.) DEC Gabriel Dean (Cornell), 4-3
Semifinals: Bo Nickal (Penn St.) F Samuel Brooks (Iowa), 1:01
Quarterfinals: Bo Nickal (Penn St.) F Timothy Dudley (Nebraska), 4:37
R16: Bo Nickal (Penn St.) F Steven Schneider (Binghamton), 5:34
R32: Bo Nickal (Penn St.) TF Mitch Sliga (Northwestern), 15-0 3:21
Other FloWrestler of the Week Nominees:Darian Cruz, Lehigh: Defeated top-ranked and undefeated Thomas Gilman in overtime before going on to beat Ethan Lizak in the finals to win the title at 125.
Vincenzo Joseph, PSU: Did what no one expected and pinned two-time returning NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez in 5:24.
J'den Cox, Missouri: Became the first wrestler in school history to win three NCAA titles.
Zain Retherford, PSU: Was the most dominant wrestler of the tournament as he bonused his way to a second straight title with a tech fall in the finals. He was also named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler.
Cory Clark, Iowa: Fought through an injury-plagued season and defeated the top two seeds on the way to claiming the title at 133 pounds.